As a global workhorse used to support military transport, airdrop, medivac and disaster relief missions, the C-17 Globemaster III fleet achieved this flight hour benchmark faster than nearly any other Air Force fleet.
Taken on Nov. 16, 2021 the video in this post features C-17 Globemaster III, tail number#90-0534, arriving at Joint Base Charleston, S.C., where a ceremony was held to celebrate 25,000 flying hours of 0534 that has become the first C-17 to achieve 25K flight hour benchmark.
0534 is assigned to 437th Airlift Wing.
As a global workhorse used to support military transport, airdrop, medivac and disaster relief missions, the C-17 fleet achieved this flight hour benchmark faster than nearly any other Air Force fleet.
The C-17 is capable of rapid strategic delivery of troops and all types of cargo to main operating bases or directly to forward bases in the deployment area.
Each of its four engines is rated at 40,440 pounds of thrust and the design characteristics give it the capability to operate into and out of short runways carrying large payloads.
The C-17 made its maiden flight on Sep. 15, 1991, and the first production model was delivered to Charleston Air Force Base, now identified as Joint Base Charleston, South Carolina, on Jun. 14, 1993. The first squadron of C-17s, the 17th Airlift Squadron, was declared operationally ready Jan. 17, 1995. The Air Force originally programmed to buy 120 C-17s. Due to the unrivaled success of the C-17 to accomplish various mobility missions, additional aircraft were acquired, resulting in a final fleet of 223 aircraft.
The aircraft is operated by a crew of three (pilot, co-pilot and loadmaster), reducing manpower requirements, risk exposure and long-term operating costs. Cargo is loaded onto the C-17 through a large aft ramp and door system that accommodates virtually all of the Army’s air-transportable equipment such as a 69-ton M1 Abrams main battle tank, armored vehicles, trucks and trailers. Additionally, the cargo floor has rollers that can be flipped from a flat floor to accommodate wheeled or tracked vehicles to rollerized conveyers to accommodate palletized cargo. The C-17 is designed to airdrop 102 paratroopers with their accompanying equipment.
From Aug. 11 to Sep. 9 the US Air Force (USAF) C-17 fleet was heavily involved in Operation Allies Refuge in Afghanistan, the largest, non-combatant evacuation operational in US history, which saw to the successful evacuation of 124,334 individuals.
During the 17 days of evacuation efforts, more than 500 Active, Reserve and National Guard aircrews flew missions around the clock. Approximately 330 USAF C-17 missions flew in and out of Hamid Karzai International Airport (HKIA), evacuating more than 79,000 people, including 6,000 Americans. They also withdrew more than 5,500 service members and their equipment.
The operation was a monumental lift for the C-17 fleet, with more than half of the US Air Force’s fleet of 222 C-17s committed. On average, 7,500 civilians were evacuated daily, with the high point being August 23, when more than 21,600 civilians were evacuated every 34 minutes.
Photo credit: Airman 1st Class Jade Dubiel