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C-17 Globemaster III Overview

As you are looking out your window from your 30-story hotel room, a ginormous military aircraft flies 100 feet from you, passing in between skyscrapers. As you watch it soar by, you cannot help but think how spectacular the sight of this aircraft is.

This may sound like a line from a comic book, but believe it or not, it really happens once a year in Brisbane, Australia. During the Brisbane River Fire event, an RAAF (Royal Australian Air Force) Boeing C-17 Globemaster flies through the city in front of a crowd. The stunt is performed by highly trained pilots, but without this miraculous aircraft, the tradition would’ve never been possible.

a large jetliner flying through a cloudy sky
Image from WikiImages

What is This Outstanding Aircraft?

Released in the 1990s, the Boeing C-17 Globemaster has been one of the most outstanding aircraft in the category of military cargo. Throughout its 25 years of service, the C-17 has proved this right, mainly considering that around eight countries currently operate it. Alongside that, the C-17 has incredible power and maneuverability, making almost any mission possible.


Let’s start out with the variants of the C-17. Throughout the years, Boeing has designed many variants of the C-17, but only one was actually released.

C-17A: The only currently operating variant of the C-17 Globemaster III

C-17B: Proposed variant of the C-17, equipped with more powerful engines, double-slotted flaps, and an extra main landing gear installed on the center of the fuselage

KC-17: Proposed tanker version of the C-17 Globemaster III

MD-17: Proposed variant of the C-17 designed for airlines within the United States participating in the Civil Reserve Air Fleet

Image from Jeffry Surianto

C-17A Specifications

Now, let’s find out more about the basic aspects of this aircraft based on research. Below is a list composed of information about the C-17A Globemaster III.

Engines: Four Pratt & Whitney F117-PW-100’s

Fuselage Diameter: 22.5 feet

Length: 174 feet

Wingspan: 169.8 feet

Swept Wing Angle: 25°

Flight Crew: Two pilots

Maximum Speed: 450 knots


There are currently eight operators of the C-17, all of which are located in different parts of the world.

  • The Royal Australian Air Force
  • The United States Air Force
  • The Royal Canadian Air Force
  • The Indian Air Force
  • The United Arab Emirates Air Force
  • The Qatar Emiri Air Force
  • The Kuwait Air Force
  • The Royal Air Force
Image via Pixabay

Five Interesting C-17 Facts

  • A Qatar Emiri Air Force C-17 was painted in the livery of Qatar Airways, so it could land at civilian airports
  • The engines (F117-PW-100s) on the C-17 are the same as on the Boeing 757
  • The C-17 can land on almost anything, from the desert to the ice
  • The landing gear on the C-17 retracts by twisting to fit inside, unlike most planes
  • The reverse thrust on the C-17 is so powerful that it can actually reverse the aircraft by itself
Image via Pixabay


The C-17 Globemaster III is and will be for years to come, one of the most extraordinary military cargo aircraft ever made. Packed with incredible technology and engineering, the C-17 has displayed its power and capabilities to thousands of people around the world.


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