US Air Force C-17, a large troop/cargo transport.


I sometimes post about aircraft that I see cross over our heads here at the Museum. Yesterday (12/4/14), a cloud filled and misty day, I witnessed an Air Force C-17 flyover.

Not the largest plane in operation today but a big one just the same, the Boeing C-17 Globemaster III was designed to carry troops and cargo to remote air strips. It only needs a runway of 3500 feet (dirt or paved).

The plane has a wingspan of 169.8 feet, length of 174 feet, and a height of 55.1 feet at the tail. It has a load capacity of 170,900 pounds, and its maximum gross takeoff weight is 585,000 pounds. With all that bulk, it only requires a crew of 3 (pilot, co-pilot, and loadmaster).

The C-5 Galaxy is a larger plane with a wingspan of 222.8 feet, length of 247.8 feet, and height of 65.1 feet. It’s load capacity is also larger at 285,000 pounds. It can operate with a crew of  7 (pilot, co-pilot, two flight engineers and three loadmasters). It, however, requires a runway of 6,000 feet to take off and land. The C-17 can get into much tighter situations with fewer crew on board.

Once, while driving through Myrtle Beach, SC on Rt #17, I saw ahead of me one of these monster C-17 planes doing touch-and-goes at the old Air Force base on the north side of town. The highway passes just at the end of the runway, so I pulled over to watch. It was quite an impressive sight to watch such a huge aircraft as the C-17 come directly overhead, touch down on the runway, throttle up, take off, circle and do it again. It was also very loud. I got some nice video footage, too!

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