US Air Force flies into Auckland

19 March 2009

A US Air Force C-17 Globemaster III flew into Whenuapai last night to begin preparations for the Royal New Zealand Air Force Open Day to be held this Saturday, 21 March. The C-17 will be conducting a practice flying display over Whenuapai  (West Auckland) 3:30 - 4:15 pm this afternoon.

Media interested in photo and/or filming opportunities are requested to contact Squadron Leader Kavae Tamariki on 021 420 899 to arrange access to Base.


For further information please contact Squadron Leader Kavae Tamariki, Media Adviser Air Force (Navy) 021 420 899.


The C-17 Supports U.S. and N.Z scientific research operations in Antarctica: The U.S Air Force provides airlift support in an extremely adverse environment, sometimes landing the C-17 on a six-foot thick ice runway to deliver supplies to the U.S. Antarctic Program from August through February each season.

During the 2007 to 2008 season, U.S. Air Force C-17s flew 57 missions to McMurdo Station, Antarctica, from Christchurch, New Zealand, carrying more than 3.1 million pounds of cargo and more than 2,800 passengers.

On the return missions from McMurdo, C-17 aircrews flew more than 850,000 pounds of cargo and 2,700 passengers back to Christchurch. The C-17 Globemaster III is part of the 517th Airlift Squadron based in Elmendorf Air Force Base in Alaska, USA

The aircraft is operated by a crew of three (pilot, copilot and loadmaster), reducing manpower requirements, risk exposure and long-term operating costs.
Cargo is loaded onto the C-17 through a large aft door that accommodates military vehicles and palletized cargo. The C-17 can carry virtually all of the Army's air-transportable equipment.

The C-17 has an un-refueled range of approximately 2,400 nautical miles. It has a global range with in-flight refueling. Its cruise speed is approximately 450 knots (.76 Mach). The C-17 is designed to airdrop 102 paratroopers and equipment.

The design of the aircraft allows it to operate through small, austere airfields. The C-17 can take off and land on runways as short as 3,500 feet (1,064 meters) and only 90 feet wide (27.4 meters). Even on such narrow runways, the C-17 can turn around using a three-point star turn and its backing capability.

This page was last reviewed on 14 October 2010.