C-17s Circling

Birds of the Mechanical Kind

There are 41 massive C-17 airplanes stationed at Joint Base Charleston which sits just across the Ashley River from Magnolia Plantation, where I take many of my photos. I’ve seen them coming and going many times, sometimes singly and sometimes in groups.

A few weeks ago when I was on the dike three of them flew in together and circled around a few times before landing.

C-17s Circling
C-17s Circling

Circling is a long process for these giants, and they give the illusion of being awfully close together.

C-17s Circling
C-17s Circling

It was five minutes from the time I first spotted them until they dipped below the trees to the runway.

C-17s Circling
C-17s Circling

From Boeing’s website, the C-17:

Wingspan to Winglet Tip 169.8 ft (51.74 m)
Length 174 ft (53.04 m)
Height at Tail 55.1 ft (16.79 m)

Compare to a Boeing 737

Wingspan 117 ft 5 in (35.8 m)
Length  110 ft 4 in (33.6 m)
Height  41 ft 3 in (12.5 m)

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