You must be a full digital subscriber to read this article You must be a digital subscriber to view this article. We hope that you continue to enjoy our free content. Upgrade to full digital for only $3 extra per month. If you need assistance, call us at (844) 466-1452 or e-mail owhdigital@ggl.bhmginc.com. To start a new subscription or to add digital access to your print subscription, click Sign Up to join Subscriber Plus. Upgrade to full digital for only $3 extra per month. If you need assistance, call us at (844) 466-1452 or e-mail owhdigital@ggl.bhmginc.com. Author and historian Robert Hopkins III in the cockpit of a 55th Wing RC-135 aircraft of the type he flew as an Air Force officer. Looking at the wing’s maintenance record, Hopkins sees a tragedy waiting to happen. Senior Airman David Platt, left, and Airman 1st Class Rodney Smith inspect an airplane on the flightline Aug. 29, 2017, following a mission at Offutt Air Force Base. A few weeks earlier, a crew flying the plane had to abort a mission early because of smoke and fumes in the cabin. U.S. Air Force mechanics work on broken RC-135 planes. From left, fixing wiring, replacing a radar system, replacing blown ti...