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The US Air force  "C-17 Globemaster 111"  made its first flight on September 15th, 1991 and the first production model was delivered by Boeing to Charleston Air Force base on June 14th, 1993. A total of 120 C-17 aircraft are on order to be delivered by the year 2004. Each costs US$99.9 million dollars in 1996 dollars.

The aircraft's primary function is as a cargo and troop transport. It needs a crew of only three (pilot, co-pilot and loadmaster). It is similar in width and length to a Starlifter which it will replace but the Globemaster is taller and has a wider cargo hold allowing it to carry 78,000 kilos of cargo which is nearly 50% more than a Starlifter can.

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This picture shows an artists impression of the Proto-type C-17 in Boeing company livery.

For those interested in technical specifications the following facts will interest.

PRIMARY FUNCTION:             Cargo and troop transport

POWER PLANT:                       Four Pratt & Whitney F117-PW-100 turbofan engines.

THRUST:                                      18,591 kilograms each engine.

DIMENSIONS:                            WINGSPAN = 51.76 meters to winglet tips

                                                      LENGTH = 53.09 meters

                                                      HEIGHT = 16.79 meters

SPEED:                                        450 knots at 28,000 ft (Mach .74)

SERVICE CEILING:                 45,000 ft at cruising speed

RANGE:                                      Stated to be unlimited with in-flight refueling.

MAX TAKEOFF WEIGHT:    265,909 Kilos.

LOAD:                                        102 troops/paratroops or 48 litter and 54 ambulatory patients.

                                                     or 68,109 kilos of cargo on 18 pallet positions.

CREW:                                       3 (Pilot, Co-Pilot and Loadmaster)

COST:                                        US$99.9 Million in 1996 dollars.


The C-17 is operated by the US Air Force Mobility Command with current operations at the 437th Airlift Wing, Charleston AFB, South Carolina, the Air force Reserve 315th Airlift Wing (Associate Reserve) also based at Charleston Air Force Base in South Carolina and with 466th Air Wing based at McChord Air Force Base in Washington.

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The first  C-17 Globemaster 111 to serve with Operation Deep Freeze flew it's inaugural flight to the Antarctic on Friday 15th October 1999 when it did a round trip Christchurch/McMurdo/Christchurch. The aircraft involved was 80054 from McChord Air Force Base in Washington wearing both 446th and 62nd Airlift wing numbers on its side.

The following pictures show this aircraft arriving at McMurdo Ice runway on its inaugural flight.

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Landing on Pegusus ice Runway with transantarctic Mountains in background

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Tail Insignia

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Note the view of Mount Erebus in the background

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The Following three photos show the C-17 back at Christchurch International airport on the following day, Saturday 16th October 1999.

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The above shows the aircraft parked on the Deep Freeze tarmac apron.

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This view shows the C-17 at right with at far left a  Ski Equiped Hercules

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Cover carried by the C-17 on first flight from McMurdo to Christchurch on 15October 1999.         US$5

NB: This cover bears on its back a cachet from Scott Base of 14th October as well as a similaro ne on its front. The stamp has been postmarked on arrival in Christchurch as is the case with all mail from Scott Base.

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