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.
Circling is a long process for these giants, and they give the illusion of being awfully close together.
It was five minutes from the time I first spotted them until they dipped below the trees to the runway.
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)
The Blue Ridge Railroad was hoping to bore through Stumphouse Mountain for a line extending from Anderson, South Carolina to Knoxville, Tennesee. Started in the early 1850s, 1,500 Irish miners cut through blue granite with hand drills, hammers and chisels, and black powder in this and two nearby tunnels. Their efforts came to an end in 1859 when no more funding could be procured to complete the work and subsequent efforts to restart the rail project over the next several decades failed.
Even though the ceiling was quite high, 20 or 25 feet ( 6 or 7 meters) right here, I’m not a fan of underground spaces and stayed pretty close to the entrance. Ted was a bit more adventurous. You can go further, but would want better shoes and light, be prepared for bats, and have water protection for your camera.
There was less green growth on the walls just a short distance from the entrance. Two streams of water a few inches deep flowed on either side of the floor and water dripped from the ceiling. The cool air flowing out of the tunnel was welcome on this hot day.
Stumphouse Tunnel is managed by the City of Walhalla, SC as part of a recreation area.
The SC Department of Natural Resources keeps the unpaved roads and paths that wind through the Wildlife Management Areas we frequent mowed which allows their staff easier access to remote areas. It’s a bonus for this photographer who isn’t interested in wading through tall grass that hides all manor of reptiles and bugs.
The sun had just come up creating a nice light and reflection as this tractor and mower headed out from the DNR garage on a cold March morning. The driver was warmly ensconced in his heated cab high off the ground where I expect he sees lots of interesting wildlife while doing his job.
The Boeing B-29 Superfortress saw active military duty from 1944 through the late 1950s. “FIFI” was acquired by the Commemorative Air Force in the early 1970s and after extensive restoration travels across the US for air events and to share a piece of history.
FIFI flew into Charleston, SC this week where she is on display for tours and rides are available for the brave. I’ll be staying on the ground!
The most well known B-29s were the ones outfitted to drop atomic bombs at the end of World War II, including the Enola Gay.
The size of this airplane’s parts is impressive. I was standing fully upright below one of the propellers for this shot:
After several days of rain we were also treated to some blue sky today, adding to the B-29’s presentation. You can see the feet of folks waiting their turn to climb up into the cockpit area in the shot below.
“The CAF was founded to acquire, restore and preserve in flying condition a complete collection of combat aircraft which were flown by all military services of the United States, and selected aircraft of other nations, for the education and enjoyment of present and future generations of Americans.”
The USS Yorktown (CV-10) is covered with attractive nooks and crannies if you are a bird. This includes the twelve historic aircraft on display on the flight deck.
Grackles were particularly abundant this week, using all openings for their homes.
An Osprey nest is perched in the tower. I hope it is a little sturdier than it appears here, at the top of the ladder.
A small flock of House Finches was perching off the edges of the flight deck on safety netting. I wasn’t able to see where they might be nesting as they zipped back and forth, somewhere below the edge of the deck.
The USS Yorktown (CV-10) is the centerpiece of Patriots Point Naval & Maritime Museum, Mount Pleasant, SC. Towed to this spot in 1975 the Yorktown itself is a museum and additionally houses a number of exhibits associated with its history dating back to World War II.