C-17 Globemaster III Gets Engulfed in Smoke, It's on Purpose

Like most other human-made machines, constant operation is what keeps airplanes healthy and within spec. That means every time an airplane is about to sit idle for a longer time, special steps must be taken to safeguard its components, especially the ones that have to do with the engines.
C-17 Globemaster III in engine depreservation run 14 photos
Photo: USAF/Joshua Seybert
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Getting airplanes ready for storage is called preservation. That means, among other things, making sure that the engines are filled with oil or other lubricants, and perhaps even fuel, for the duration of the inactivity period, allowing the components to remain within spec and operational.

That’s roughly what happened to the C-17 Globemaster III we have here, which spent “an extended period of time inside the hangar while receiving an aircraft wash, refurbishment and fuel-cell maintenance” at the Pittsburgh International Airport Air Reserve Station in Pennsylvania, according to the U.S. Air Force (USAF).

The wash seems to have been in vain, if we are to judge by the image we have here, showing the airplane inside a thick cloud of smoke. The smoke is not from a fire or anything, but from burning “excess oil that was used to help preserve the aircraft engines” during the inactivity period.

The Globemaster III has four Pratt & Whitney turbofan engines attached to its wings, and we see two of them open to the elements during the oil burn conducted by engineers from the 911th Maintenance Group.

When in use, each engine is capable of developing 40,440 pounds of thrust, taking the C-17 to altitudes of up to 45,000 feet (13,700 meters) and to top speeds of up to 450 knots (518 mph/834 kph).

At the moment, the USAF has over 220 C-17s in service, deployed with USAF units, but also Air National Guard and Air Force Reserve ones. The cost of each C-17 Globemaster III is of roughly $370 million.
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Editor's note: Gallery shows other Globemasters.

About the author: Daniel Patrascu
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Daniel loves writing (or so he claims), and he uses this skill to offer readers a "behind the scenes" look at the automotive industry. He also enjoys talking about space exploration and robots, because in his view the only way forward for humanity is away from this planet, in metal bodies.
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