8/9/2005 - BAGRAM AIR BASE, Afghanistan (AFPN) --
A C-17 Globemaster III rolled off the runway while landing here Aug. 6, damaging its nose and right main landing gears.
As a result, the runway was closed, but quick action and creative thinking
by Air Force and Army engineers had the runway fully active again in less
than 30 hours.
There were no injuries in the incident. The cause of the incident is under
When it came to rest, one of the C-17's wings extended over the active
runway, so the aircraft had to be moved. However, air operations continued
while the C-17 was moved off the active runway. The C-17 measures 174 feet
long with a wingspan of 169 feet. It is operated by a crew of three and can
carry up to 170,000 lbs of cargo.
Aircraft from here diverted to other airfields and were able to continue
combat missions supporting ground forces. Coalition air forces also assisted
in ensuring constant airpower was maintained over the battlefield during
aircraft recovery operations.
Nevertheless, moving the aircraft proved to be a complicated process, said
Col. Donald Jones, 455th Expeditionary Mission Support Group commander, who
directed the effort.
"It took one big team to brainstorm and come up with the tools and methods
we needed," he said.
The hardest part of the process, he said, was determining a way to lift the
nose of the aircraft without further damaging it.
First the fuel and cargo needed to be removed. The team removed 105,000
pounds of fuel and unloaded 55,000 pounds of cargo, with the remaining gross
weight of the aircraft estimated at 300,000 pounds. Because of the tilt of
the aircraft, the cargo could not be removed by forklift through the cargo
door. The cargo pallets had to be broken down into individual boxes, pieces
and parts were removed through the crew door.
Next the team had to replace the C-17's unusable landing gear. Their
solution was a flatbed trailer, crane and railroad ties.
The aircraft was lifted with the crane, inches at a time, and wood was
placed under the nose to support it. The team backed the flatbed tractor
trailer under the nose and removed the wood. Straps were tied to the trailer
and passed through the pilot's windows and open doors to secure the aircraft
onto the truck.
The team assembled metal airfield matting provided by Army engineers to roll
the aircraft onto the runway. The Army engineers also provided two
bulldozers and the flatbed to drag the aircraft back onto the runway to a
"Once again, we had great cooperation between the Air Force and Army here,"
said Army Col. Michael Flanagan, 18th Engineer Brigade and Task Force Sword
commander. "We worked together as a team to get a job done in one night that
many people thought would take four days. This is the best cooperative
effort between the Air Force and Army that I have seen in my 26-year
Colonel Jones, knowing the priority was getting the runway open,
orchestrated the two bulldozers, the flatbed and a ring of people around the
aircraft. They used hand signals and walkie-talkies as they inched the
aircraft down the runway through three 90-degree turns to its parking spot.
"We had to get this runway open and get A-10 (Thunderbolt IIs) in the air to
provide close air support for Soldiers on the ground," Colonel Jones said.
"Everyone came together to make suggestions and form a workable plan to help
get the C-17 off the active runway and resume normal flying operations in
minimal time," said Brig. Gen. Bruce E. Burda, 455th Air Expeditionary Wing
commander. "I am extremely proud of the way our Airmen, Soldiers and
civilians came together, devised a solution to this unique challenge, and
safely made it happen to quickly restore airfield operations."
The aircraft is assigned to Charleston Air Force Base, S.C. ]
I think that'll buff out nicely.
And another pilot exits the career field.
I'll bet the pucker factor was high there for a while.
I wanna see pics of it on the flatbed!
Probably in training with AirTrans right now...
Only a matter of time... Hell, it's been almost four years of ops in and out of there - landing there isn't like landing at O'Hare...
From what I hear the right side of the airplane is AFU'ed.