To Celebrate, First Test Airplane Re-Created Its First
On Sept. 15, Boeing celebrated the 20th anniversary of the first
flight of the C-17 airlifter. On that date in, 1991, 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.
Boeing C-17 T-1 Boeing Photo
T-1 flew by Long Beach again on Sept. 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 Ciesla, 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
The C-17 has flown more than 2 million hours in its 20-year
history, 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."
Boeing C-17 Globemaster III Boeing
The C-17 aircraft has achieved a number of record-breaking
milestones -- more than any other airlifter in history -- and set
33 world records during initial flight testing at Edwards Air Force
Base, Calif. 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
During the past 20 years, Boeing has delivered 235 C-17s -- 211
to the U.S. Air Force, including active duty, Guard and Reserve
units, and 24 to international customers including the United
Kingdom's Royal Air Force, Royal Australian Air Force, Royal
Canadian Air Force, Qatar Emiri Air Force, United Arab Emirates Air
Force and Air Defence, and the 12-member Strategic Airlift
Capability initiative of NATO and Partnership for Peace nations.
India became the newest C-17 customer in June, when India's
Ministry of Defence signed an agreement with the U.S. government to
acquire 10 C-17s that will be delivered in 2013-2014.