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Mon, Mar 23, 2009

Aero-News Alert: USAF Denies Media Reports Of TX C-17 Downing

ANN REALTIME UPDATE 03.23.09, 1432 EDT: The Air Force now DENIES reports of a C-17 crash... even after early confirmation that a search was under way. 

Search crews deployed to search for the aircraft, reported as flying low over the countryside before the alleged accident by a number of residents near Olney, TX have been recalled. At one point, CNN reported crash confirmation from officials at Sheppard AFB in nearby Wichita Falls, which were later retracted.

The plane was said to be operating from Altus Air Force Base in the Oklahoma panhandle region, about 100 miles north of the reported accident site.

Altus officials did say a C-17 was overflying the area on a training mission, but added the plane returned safely back to base.

Original Report

ANN REALTIME REPORTING 03.23.09 1411 EDT: One of the USAF's rugged C-17 Globemaster III transports is reported down, according to general media, in a wooded area south of Wichita Falls, TX near the small community of Olney. 

Police in Olney told media sources they have received reports form callers stating that the 'plane was flying low to the ground, and then crashed.'

Few details are available at the moment though some reports list the possible impact area as heavily wooded and unpopulated.

According to USAF spec sheets, the C-17 measures 174 feet long with a wingspan of 169 feet, 10 inches. The aircraft is powered by four, fully reversible, Federal Aviation Administration-certified F117-PW-100 engines (the military designation for the commercial Pratt & Whitney PW2040), currently used on the Boeing 757. Each engine is rated at 40,440 pounds of thrust. The thrust reversers direct the flow of air upward and forward to avoid ingestion of dust and debris. Maximum use has been made of off-the-shelf and commercial equipment, including Air Force-standardized avionics.

The aircraft is operated by a crew of three (pilot, copilot and loadmaster). 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.

Maximum payload capacity of the C-17 is 170,900 pounds, and its maximum gross takeoff weight is 585,000 pounds. With a payload of 169,000 pounds and an initial cruise altitude of 28,000 feet,  the C-17 has an unrefueled range of approximately 2,400 nautical miles. Its cruise speed is approximately 450 knots. 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 and only 90 feet wide. Even on such narrow runways, the C-17 can turn around using a three-point star turn and its backing (reverse thrust) capability.

ANN is monitoring this story and will post updates as they become verifiable and available.

FMI: www.af.mil

 


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