C-17 Globemaster III

C17 Globemaster III

Flying on a C-17 is a very different experience than flying on a commercial passenger airplane: most of the seats are arranged in a single row along either side of the aircraft, with seat backs against the wall, to make room for large pallets of cargo that are strapped down in the centre.

If the cargo is bulky, you can’t see to the passengers on the other side of the plane. Overhead, instead of luggage compartments, there’s only a complicated network of tubing, pipes, and wires attached to the roof; so we’re only allowed to carry on a small bag with warm clothing, lunch, and a few personal items (cameras, books) for the 5.5-hour ride. Everything else goes into “checked” luggage, which is collectively palleted as cargo.

A few small windows at the front and the back of the plane provide a view (mostly white) for people who need to get up and stretch their legs. There’s one bathroom at the front, and servicemen hand out pairs of foam earplugs when we board, because the ride is pretty loud. When we touch down on the ice, instead of walking out onto a ramp into an airport, there’s a metal ladder down to the ice. The first step off the C-17 is most people’s first step onto the continent.

C17 Stats File

Crew: 2 Pilots, 1 Loadmaster

Passengers: Up to 134 (per configuration)

Lifting Capacity: 77,519 kg

Powerplant: 4 Pratt & Whitney F117-PW-100 turbofans

Length: 53.04m

Cruising Speed: 830 kmh

Range: 4,482 km