The C-17 Globemaster III

The C-17 Globemaster III is one of the most advanced military transport planes ever produced. Able to land on paved or unpaved runways as short as 3,500 feet and 90 feet wide, the plane itself is 174 feet long and 169 feet wide. The C-17 can carry a maximum payload over 170,000 pounds (85 tons).

13 C-17s in-flight
A squadron of 13 C-17s in flight

The Globemaster is designed to airdrop 102 paratroopers and equipment and/or vehicles ( including the M-1 tank). It is operated by a crew of only three (pilot, copilot, and loadmaster).

The C-17 is equipped with four reverse-thrust engines, allowing it to move in reverse at low speeds up an incline of 2 degrees or less. This allows the plane to perform 3-point turns in order to turn around on runways as narrow as 90 feet. Reverse thrust also allows it to land on shorter runways by increasing braking capability.

Vortex trails behind a C-17

Developed by McDonnell Douglas (now owned by Boeing), the C-17 made it’s first flight on September 15, 1991 and was delivered to the U.S. Air Force on June 14, 1993. However, the first squadron of C-17s was not declared operationally ready until January 1995. It has delivered cargo in every worldwide operation since this time.

A squadron of C-17s on the taxiway

The C-17 is used to transport the presidential limousine and motorcade during both domestic and international travel, arriving before Air Force One to unload.

C-17 over Charleston
A C-17 banks over Charleston, S.C.

America Loves the F-14 Tomcat

Yes, everyone knows the plane from Top Gun. And everyone loves it.

F-14 Tomcat in mid-turn with wings swept back

After a first flight on December 21, 1970, the F-14 began operation in the U.S. Navy in 1972. The plane is a highly maneuverable intercept and strike aircraft. and it has been called ” the world’s premier air defense fighter.” [1]  Throughout its operational life of 1972 to 2006, the F-14 was the U.S. Navy’s “primary air superiority fighter and tactical reconnaissance plane.” [2] “Primary missions include[d] precision strike[s] against ground targets, air superiority, and fleet air defense.” [3]

F-14 in mid-turn with wings extended

Designed and manufactured by Grumman Aircraft Corporation, a total of 712 Tomcats were built. [4] The United States officially retired the F-14 Tomcat in 2006 after 34 years of service.

F-14 Takeoff
A F-14 takes off from aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt

Every F-14 was equipped with a 20mm M61 Vulcan Gatling gun. Missile load-out  included the:

  • AIM-9 Sidewinder Short-range missile
  • AIM-7 Sparrow Medium-range missile
  • AIM-54 Phoenix Long-range missile

The F-14 was the only plane that was could carry an AIM-54 Phoenix missile. With a range of over 100 miles, this missile could take down an enemy aircraft without ever being seen. However, the U.S. Navy used this missile only twice in combat situations, both over Iraq in 1999, and scored no kills.

The top speed of the F-14 is over Mach 2 (1524 mph / 1323 knots/hr). The maximum range is 1600 nautical miles.

The F-14 sails into the sunset

The F-14 Tomcat will live on in our memories and hearts forever…