Charleston receives newest C-17 from AFRC commander
/ Published October 29, 2009
CHARLESTON AIR FORCE BASE, S.C. -- The commander of the Air Force Reserve Command flew and delivered here Oct. 28 the newest C-17 Globemaster III to come off the production line at Boeing's Long Beach, Calif., plant.
Lt. Gen. Charles E. Stenner Jr. accompanied by an all-Reserve crew from Charleston's 317th Airlift Squadron presented a ceremonial key to Col. Steven Chapman, 315th Airlift Wing commander. The flightline event commemorated the Air Force's 190th C-17 and the 58th cargo aircraft to be stationed at Charleston AFB.
"It is a brand new, off-the-line airplane," General Stenner said. "It flies great."
The jet, which is the 209th C-17 built to date, had less than six hours flight time before it began its first Air Force flight. The flying hours nearly doubled on the trip from California. The jet will log many more hours when it becomes operational.
"Every 90 seconds there is a mobility plane taking off," General Stenner told Boeing employees before leaving Long Beach. "We do this 365 days a year."
Boeing officials invited nearly two dozen company employees to witness the C-17 transfer to Air Force hands. All of the employees were reservists or retired reservists.
Before passing the general the ceremonial key and an American flag, Jean Chamberlin, the Boeing vice president and general manager for Global Mobility Systems, told General Stenner how important the C-17 and her company's relationship with the Air Force is.
"We are very proud that no matter what mission you're on, you are on the world's best airlifter, the C-17 Globemaster III," Mrs. Chamberlin said. "C-17s are making a difference, saving lives every day. We are proud to be a part of this team with you."
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. The aircraft can perform tactical airlift and airdrop missions. It can also transport litters and ambulatory patients during aeromedical evacuations when required.
"Since the inception of the C-17, we've continued to develop. This represents what we've learned over the last 15 years," said Lt. Col. Jeff Meyers, chief of standardization and evaluation for the 315th Operations Group.
Colonel Meyers said that the new plane has added an additional lighting system, safety modifications and avionic upgrades that meet all current and future requirements for increased military capabilities. Although it is a military aircraft, the jet uses some valued civilian technology.
This $205 million jet is part of Block 17. Each block signifies software upgrades performed on the aircraft. It takes about 140,000 unit man-hours across 194 days to build one aircraft, said Joseph Brown, a Boeing administrator.
Master Sgt. Michael Lang, a 317th AS loadmaster who was aboard the new jet for its welcome to Charleston AFB, spent eight years as a maintainer and the last seven years as a loadmaster. He and the other members of the flight crew received a tour of Boeing's 1.1 million square foot facility where C-17s are built.
"It was really neat to see where they've been building the C-17 the last 15 years," Sergeant Lang said. "When I arrived at Charleston, there were six C-17s on the line. I've seen jets from Blocks 6 to 17, which is 11 different software upgrades."
When asked what he thought about the jet, he simply said, "It's clean."
As the last 15 years have shown, it won't be clean for long. (Air Force Reserve Command News Service)