This Is How a Man-Made Flying Elephant Looks Like

C-17 Globemaster III taking off from runway in Alaska 6 photos
Photo: USAF/Airman 1st Class Charles Casner
C-17 Globemaster III taking off from runway in AlaskaC-17 Globemaster III taking off from runway in AlaskaC-17 Globemaster III taking off from runway in AlaskaC-17 Globemaster III taking off from runway in AlaskaC-17 Globemaster III taking off from runway in Alaska
585,000 pounds, or over 292 tons. This is how much a C-17 Globemaster III can weigh at takeoff, loaded with fuel and whatnot. And for something to be this heavy, it also has to be very large. Numbers below.
The Globemaster is described by the Air Force as “the most flexible cargo aircraft to enter the airlift force.” Presently used for “rapid strategic delivery of troops and all types of cargo to main operating bases or directly to forward bases in the deployment area,” it had its maiden flight in 1991 and became operational just a few short years later.

The plane was designed by Boeing as a mammoth heavy-hauler. Its wings span, tip to tip, for over 169 feet (almost 52 meters), and each holds a couple of Pratt & Whitney engines capable of developing 40,440 pounds per piece.

The beast can fit inside its belly (the cargo compartment alone is 88 feet/27 meters long) 102 troops, or 170,900 pounds (77,519 kg) of cargo distributed on 18 pallet positions, and transport them pretty much anywhere on this planet, thanks to the availability of aerial refueling.

All of the above are just numbers and words on a screen and do not nearly do the plane justice. To be fully experienced, the thing has to be seen, even in things as trivial as photos. And we’ve seen a number of official ones released by the U.S. Air Force (USAF) over the past few years, but few of them were as successful at capturing the essence of this man-made flying elephant as the ones we have here.

Front and center we’ve got a Globemaster departing the runway of the Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson in Alaska back in March, during Exercise Rainier War 22A. Just like the ones nicely lined up behind it on the runway, it is deployed with the 62nd Airlift Wing out of Joint Base Lewis-McChord in Washington.

And it looks so imposing we bet you didn’t even notice the ones on the ground behind it...
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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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