Entering service in 1993, the C-17 Globemaster III is the U.S. Air Force's newest, most versatile cargo aircraft to enter the airlift force. The C-17 is capable of rapid strategic delivery of troops and all types of cargo to main operating bases or directly to small, austere airfields. It can also perform tactical airlift and airdrop missions or transport litters and ambulatory patients during aeromedical evacuations.
A crew of three (pilot, copilot and loadmaster) operates the C-17, which can carry about 170,000 pounds of cargo. The large aft door will accommodate almost all of the U.S. Army's air-transportable vehicles and palletized cargo, including the Army's M-1 Abrams main battle tank. The C-17 can take off and land on runways as short as 3,500 feet and only 90 feet wide. Its four Pratt & Whitney F117-PW-100 engines can reverse their thrust to help slow it down on landings. The thrust reversers direct the engine exhaust upward and forward to prevent dust and debris from being sucked into the engine intakes. These reversible engines also allow the pilot to back the plane or even turn it around on a narrow runway using a three-point star turn method.
The Globemaster III on display is the prototype C-17. Built by the Douglas Aircraft Co., which is now Boeing, it was designated T-1 (S/N 87-0025). T-1 made its first flight on Sept. 15, 1991, when it was delivered to the USAF at Edwards Air Force Base, Calif., for testing. After completing the extensive C-17 flight test program, T-1 supported many other flight and propulsion test programs for the USAF, NASA and others. T-1 also appeared in a number of major motion pictures, including "Transformers" (2007), "Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen" (2009), "Iron Man" (2008) and "Iron Man 2" (2010).
After 20 years of wide-ranging flight tests, T-1 had reached the end of its flying career, and it was retired at Edwards AFB in 2011. T-1 was flown to the museum to begin its new career in April 2012.
Crew: Three (pilot, copilot and loadmaster)
Aeromedical Evacuation Crew: Five (two flight nurses and three medical technicians)
Engines: Four Pratt & Whitney F117-PW-100 turbofan engines of 40,440 thrust each
Load: 170,900 pounds of cargo; 102 troops/paratroops; or 36 litter and 54 ambulatory patients
Maximum speed: 518 mph (Mach .74) at 28,000 ft
Range: Global with aerial refueling
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