Author of history of tanker crash to be at Kansas Book Festival

D.W. Carter considers himself a transplanted Kansan, after he arrived in Wichita in 2003 and was stationed at McConnell Air Force Base.

A historian specializing in military and social history, Carter has crowned his right to the Kansas title after publishing “Mayday Over Wichita: The Worst Military Aviation Disaster in Kansas History” (The History Press, $19.99).

The book tells of the Air Force KC-135 tanker that crashed into a congested, largely African-American neighborhood near 21st Street and Piatt in January 1965. The plane was carrying 31,000 gallons of jet fuel and exploded into a horrific fire that killed 47 people, and destroyed families and homes.

Carter’s is the first history of the four-minute flight that left a lasting scar on the city.

He will sign copies of his book at 7:30 p.m. Thursday at Al’s Old & New Book Store, 1710 W. Douglas.

He will also be on hand at the Kansas Book Festival Saturday at the State Capitol in Topeka.

Among the featured speakers at the Book Festival are Clare Vanderpool, winner of the Newbery Medal for her first novel and author most recently of “Navigating Early”; Caryn Mirriam Goldberg, former Kansas Poet Laureate; and Larry Welch, former director of the Kansas Bureau of Investigation, who will talk about KBI cases, including the Clutter family murders and BTK.

The festival will have music, poetry readings and children’s entertainment.

For more information on the festival go to

Book signing — Kevin Fedarko, author of “The Emerald Mile” will give a reading and sign books at Watermark Books & Cafe at 7 p.m.Wednesday His book is a nonfiction account of the massive flood of the Colorado River in the spring of 1983, and the small wooden dory that rode the crest of the flood to set the record for the fastest boat in history through the Grand Canyon.

Related stories from Wichita Eagle