An inspirational video of the first US Air Force C-17 transport aircraft pilot. The Boeing C-17 Globemaster III is a large military transport aircraft. It was developed for the United States Air Force (USAF) from the 1980s to the early 1990s by McDonnell Douglas. The C-17 carries forward the name of two previous piston-engined military cargo aircraft, the Douglas C-74 Globemaster and the Douglas C-124 Globemaster II. The C-17 commonly performs strategic airlift missions, transporting troops and cargo throughout the world; additional roles include tactical airlift, medical evacuation and airdrop duties.
Boeing, which merged with McDonnell Douglas in the 1990s, continued to manufacture C-17s for export customers following the end of deliveries to the U.S. Air Force. Aside from the United States, the C-17 is in service with the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, Qatar, United Arab Emirates, NATO Heavy Airlift Wing, India, and Kuwait. The final C-17 was completed at the Long Beach, CA plant and flown on 29 November 2015.
Background and design phase
In the 1970s, the U.S. Air Force began looking for a replacement for its Lockheed C-130 Hercules tactical cargo aircraft. The Advanced Medium STOL Transport (AMST) competition was held, with Boeing proposing the YC-14, and McDonnell Douglas proposing the YC-15. Though both entrants exceeded specified requirements, the AMST competition was canceled before a winner was selected. The Air Force started the C-X program in November 1979 to develop a larger AMST with longer range to augment its strategic airlift.
By 1980, the USAF found itself with a large fleet of aging C-141 Starlifter cargo aircraft. Compounding matters, USAF needed increased strategic airlift capabilities to fulfill its rapid-deployment airlift requirements. The USAF set mission requirements and released a request for proposals (RFP) for C-X in October 1980. McDonnell Douglas elected to develop a new aircraft based on the YC-15; Boeing bid an enlarged three-engine version of its AMST YC-14. Lockheed submitted two designs, a C-5-based design and an enlarged C-141 design. On 28 August 1981, McDonnell Douglas was chosen to build its proposed aircraft, then designated C-17. Compared to the YC-15, the new aircraft differed in having swept wings, increased size, and more powerful engines. This would allow it to perform the work done by the C-141, and also fulfill some of the duties of the Lockheed C-5 Galaxy, freeing the C-5 fleet for outsize cargo.
Alternate proposals were pursued to fill airlift needs after the C-X contest. These were lengthening of C-141As into C-141Bs, ordering more C-5s, continued purchases of KC-10s, and expansion of the Civil Reserve Air Fleet. Limited budgets reduced program funding, requiring a delay of four years. During this time contracts were awarded for preliminary design work and for the completion of engine certification. In December 1985, a full-scale development contract was awarded. At this time, first flight was planned for 1990. The Air Force had formed a requirement for 210 aircraft.
Development problems and limited funding caused delays in the late 1980s. Criticisms were made of the developing aircraft and questions were raised about more cost-effective alternatives during this time. In April 1990, Secretary of Defense Dick Cheney reduced the order from 210 to 120 aircraft. The maiden flight of the C-17 took place on 15 September 1991 from the McDonnell Douglas’s plant in Long Beach, California, about a year behind schedule. The first aircraft (T-1) and five more production models (P1-P5) participated in extensive flight testing and evaluation at Edwards Air Force Base. Two complete airframes were built for static and repeated load testing.
A static test of the C-17 wing in October 1992 resulted in the wing failing at 128% of design limit load, which was below the 150% requirement. Both wings buckled rear to the front and failures occurred in stringers, spars and ribs. Some $100 million was spent to redesign the wing structure; the wing failed at 145% during a second test in September 1993. A careful review of the test data however, showed that the wing was not loaded correctly and did indeed meet the requirement. The C-17 received the “Globemaster III” name in early 1993. In late 1993, the Department of Defense gave the contractor two years to solve production and cost overrun problems or face termination of the contract after the delivery of the 40th aircraft. By accepting the 1993 terms, McDonnell Douglas incurred a loss of nearly US$1.5 billion on the development phase of the program.
In April 1994, the C-17 program remained over budget, and did not meet weight, fuel burn, payload and range specifications. It failed several key criteria during airworthiness evaluation tests.
name is Captain Ellie Morgan and Ellie's my nickname but Eleanor's my full name ele a and O our last name is Morgan Mor GaN out here I'm in 8/16 EAS my deployed squadron back home and in that fourth airless water looking at McChord Field and Washington I've never eyelet now for I guess a little over two years two and a half years now since I finished my pilot training and I've been at McCord field for two years now and this is my first deployment it's actually not too bad the good news is that our deployment cycle here is into the winter so every day is cooling off so I have something to look forward to because the week's go by it's getting cooler and I have my own room so happy now but it's it's been good we're seeing a busy I work the scheduling desk when I'm not flying so I fly for a couple weeks and then I work scheduling for the squadron in terms of airframes I've flown starting in UPT basically I flew the t37 in pilot training and then I flew that t1 and then after that I just flew the c-17 so and this is my first assignment out here so my first big airframe major frame has flown c-17 is pretty awesome we'll about c-17 it's pretty much a lot of us refer to as a kind of the sports car of all the heavies it's pretty maneuverable I can do all kinds of stuff we can land on short fields we can do assault landings on short field we can do SPRO ops which is basically semi prepared runway so we can land on dirt we're able to take off in a short distance as well so we can get in and out of a lot of places we're pretty flexible in the c-17 and we can haul a lot of cargo so the planes really maneuverable and can do a lot of stuff which makes us pretty favorable to a lot of you know random missions that they find when they need stuff brought in there I think probably one of the most unique things or things that surprised me when I first was c—seventeen was really just how maneuverable it was and probably just that it didn't feel like flying a huge plane when you're sitting up the controls that you have a six that we use here and we have a heads-up display unlike anything together cargo planes in the Air Force and it's really great you really do kind of feel like you're in a small little plane or fighter plane flying when you're doing maneuvers and you know taking off and coming in so that was probably the biggest thing I was surprised about was that you know it really didn't feel like a huge behemoth of a plate we were flying and then nothing I was surprised about it but I was able to I was happy to find that I could address my seat and rudder pedals enough that I could reach everything because people give me people joke around with me about being smaller so but I just move everything a place that I can fit now you even have to sit on phone books so the thing that I like most about the c-17 is just all the places that I get to travel to and see I love traveling around the world going into you know austere places or you know anywhere really and I love just the capability that our plane has all the different missions that we can do from aeromedical evacuations things like that to HR missions bringing back fallen warriors you know to delivering soldiers back home from a deployment there's just so many things that we can do with this plane it just kind of brings it all home and just reminds me why I do it and I c-17s what we provides the warfighters that other planes can't is really the capability to haul a lot of cargo in and out of a place and you know we can also airdrop a bunch of cargo into austere places where you know there's only roads and no airstrip so to help our soldiers on the front lines who need supplies we're able to drop it into them so they can continue the fight you know far away from lots of civilization most of the time but yeah we have the ability to just take so much stuff I was on a mission and we flew into northern Pakistan to help with the flood relief for all the victims up there stuck in the flooded river valley and we brought in 18 pallets of food for them and what we were able to do was with the amount of pallets that we could bring in pretty much was just one plane one c-17 coming in was three times the amount of stuff we were able to deliver at the post of the c-130s going in there so you know we were pretty efficient with bringing stuff in and we can go into these smaller places so the typical crew that we fly without here in the theater is what we refer to as a combat basic crew so what it is is two pilots one load master and then an additional crew member so we can either have that third person can either be a pilot or a loadmaster and then for most of the places we fly out here we also carry with us a flying crew chief so you can help us with maintenance problems when we're on the ground in places that don't have maintenance for us and then sometimes every now and then we will fly with the Augmented crew when we have longer days so we'll fly with three pilots and two loadmasters but most of the time it's just the four crew members and a blind crew chief most time and and when we need it into some of the field we also bring Raven theme for security it's a pretty dynamic environment when we're out here flying a c-17 so in order to keep everyone on the same page out here you know we always try to make sure we're keeping everyone in the loop anytime something changes you know we're letting the loadmasters know anytime there's issues with cargo or anything in the back of the plane loadmasters are letting us know the biggest thing is just communication especially when you have a big crew of people and also you know just stay up-to-date with our command and control as well and make sure we're checking in with everyone to get all the information we need I think AR is pretty amazing when you think of I have two large planes you know probably within like 20 feet of each other so hooked up attached it can be longer racking but you know we do a lot of practice in the simulators and back home when we're not flying missions on local training flights that we do so everybody gets a bunch of practice with it so you know for the first time person who haven't seen it before they could be a little nervous but once you get used to it you see it you know it's pretty normal we were carrying soldiers and cargo up here to Bagram Air Base in Afghanistan and today was just a one stop I was actually kind of a short day for us normally we have to stop downrange and so we just came up here dropped them all off and we'll be taking some more cargo back and we get alerted and at that point we thirty minutes later we catch a bus so we all meet up hop on a bus thirty minutes after our alert and then we go to our squadron at that point take all of our bags off the bus and we go inside and at that point we get all of our paperwork for the flight and the mission that we're going to be doing so we'll get all that printed out for us there we'll review all of our paperwork and at that time we'll fill out other paperwork and of orm and we do our meal forums we also determine how much we're going to need for fuel will have that called into the fuel guys or maintenance and then from that point will also gather all the all the items that we'll need we'll go and get our night-vision goggles we'll go cite that in will pick up any classified material that we need to bring with us for the flight and then we'll also at that point then go get a tactics briefing and tactics and Intel briefing from the folks in the squadron there and we'll go into the vault and they'll give us you know a rundown of any significant major threats or events that have happened to the air fuels that we're flying into and then at that point they'll give us the information that we'll need to use flying into their fields for the day and then at that point once we got all that taken care of and ready to go we'll head off on a bus and well as you saw today we'll stop by a grab-and-go we'll get some food for the flight the most important part for every pilot getting enough food for your flight and you always have to make sure you get enough food for a full day even if you have a short one because you always can get recut and have a long day so grab our food and then at that point we start the process of customs and now processing so then we'll walk across the street we'll go up and hand in our flight orders and our military IDs will out process do a big bag drag and and then gets the plane and then at that point we'll do our pre-flight and they'll load the cargo make sure that fuels on board and hopefully we don't have any maintenance issues and we can take off on time today not quite the case but that's alright we made it work and then at that point you know as long as nothing changes then we'll run through a checklist and do our taxi and takeoff so kind of a quick rundown of what we go through prior to takeoff it's quite a bit of stuff and yeah and even coming back at the end of the day can take a little while too so yeah so even though your flight may not be that long the point that you actually wake up to the point that you actually take off is that it's about almost four hours I'm the biggest train features coming into Afghanistan obviously it's all the mountainous terrain that we come in here so we always have to make sure that when we coming in and we're doing approaches that were being safe and being aware of the terrain around us we have things up on our in the plane we have terrain awareness warning system and that helps us to make sure that we're within a safe area when we're manoeuvring coming in yeah I kind of a lot of just barren barren areas along with mountains so very yeah it can be treacherous at some parts coming in Afghanistan and the biggest thing to watch out for is is that night when we come in luckily we were able to come in during the day today but when we take off we'll see we may end up having to probably put on our night-vision goggles to take off out of here so we can clear really well and make sure we're staying clear of the terrain for me personally I would say the most rewarding part about doing this job is just knowing that I'm helping other people out that's the most rewarding for me I think that most rewarding – most rewarding flights I've ever done as one of the humanitarian released up into northern Pakistan bringing food in the Pakistani people who didn't have any and we actually also airlifted out a bunch of the refugees from up there back to southern Pakistan and that was that was really rewarding getting to see those people and take them out and let them know they were safe and they were going to be okay and then the other was the very first aeromedical evacuation mission I ever did in Iraq just taking the people out of there to Ramstein to get the medical help they needed that really kind of brought it all home for me and and that was and I really realized I was doing what I needed to be doing and you know for all the right reasons and my love it