The Boeing Company celebrated the 20th anniversary of the first flight that was done by the C-17 airlifter in Long Beach, California. Test aircraft T-1 took off from the Boeing Long Beach site on a two hour flight that proved the engineering and design concepts of the aircraft and marked the beginning of the program on September 15, 1991.
T-1 once again flew this September 15, 2011 in a re-creation of its milestone flight, “The first flight of T-1 ushered in a new era in military and humanitarian airlift,” said Bob Ceisla, C-17 program manager for Boeing. “Twenty years ago, when I was working in flight test for this new airlift program, I could not anticipate just how critical the C-17 would become for the U.S. Air Force and its allies. The success of the C-17 Globemaster III program extends beyond Boeing’s employees and supplier partners, who have proudly engineered and built the world’s greatest airlifter for two decades, to exceed the expectations of customers around the globe who fly the jet every day.”
For more than 2 million hours in its 20-year history the C-17 has flown, it was already supporting worldwide airlift missions that transport troops and supplies to global hot zones and bring aid to those in need during humanitarian crises.
“There is no question that the C-17 has set the bar high,” said Ciesla. “The program has performed on cost and on schedule for more than a decade. Now we are entering a new stage with a production-rate reduction from 15 to 10 aircraft per year, extending the life of the C-17 line to 2014 and beyond.”
Setting its history in aviation, the C-17 has achieved a number of record-breaking milestones to more than any other airlifter and set 33 world records during initial flight testing at Edwards Air Force Base, California. The C-17′s records include payload to altitude and time-to-climb, as well as a record for short-takeoff-and-landing in which the C-17 took off in less than 1,400 feet, carried a payload of 44,000 pounds to altitude, and landed in less than 1,400 feet.