Klamath Falls, Ore. – A retired air tanker is now on display at the Crater Lake-Klamath Regional Airport.
Tanker 06 made its final flight to Klamath Falls Sunday afternoon.
The plane is a 64-year-old military veteran.
“It was made by Lockheed-Burbank in 1954,” explained former tanker base manager Dale Alter, “and it was made for a Navy job, it was a submarine chaser.”
Over 100 people were on hand to welcome the tanker, which was given a traditional retirement shower.
“I was tearing up,” said Marcia Cavin of the Tanker 61 Memorial. “It’s very emotional, it’s bittersweet, It’s the last time it’s going to fly.”
Roland Giller of the Fremont-Winema National Forest pointed out air tankers play a key role in Klamath Basin fire suppression. “In a lot of ways, wildland firefighting is part of our culture. I started fighting fire right after I got out of the Navy, I paid for my college education by fighting fire.”
Tanker 06 is now on permanent display at the Tanker 61 Memorial.
KOTI-TV NBC2 reporter Lyle Ahrens moved from Nebraska to Klamath Falls in the late 1970’s. He instantly fell in love with the mountains, the trees and the rivers, and never once regretted the move.Lyle’s job history is quite colorful.
He’s managed a pizza parlor; he’s been a bartender, and a “kiwifruit grader” at an organic orchard in New Zealand. A Klamath Falls radio station hired Lyle in the mid 90’s as a news writer and commercial producer. In 2004, Lyle joined the KOTI/KOBI news operation.Lyle notes with pride that he has a big responsibility presenting the Klamath Basin to a wide and varied audience.
“The on-going water crisis has underscored the fact that the people and the issues in the Klamath Basin are every bit as diverse as the terrain. Winning and keeping the trust of the viewers, as well as the newsmakers, is something I strive for with each story”.
When he’s not busy reporting the news, Lyle enjoys astronomy, playing guitar, fixing old radios and listening to anything by Sheryl Crow.