Part of my birthday was spent at a local airport looking at all kinds of planes, firetrucks, and cars. New and Old. By far one of the coolest parts of the day was going inside a C17 GlobeMaster and getting to go up to the cockpit. The line was long and the plane was guarded by armed military personnel but it was an awesome learning experience.
While waiting in line military personnel were walking around answering any questions people may have had about the plane. Size wise it could fit 12 Humvees, 3 Helicopters, and several firetrucks, not all at once of course. The thing was huge! Along the edges there were seats that folded up and something that I found really interesting was that there is a seat-belt light on it just like in passenger planes, I didn’t expect to see that!
An outgoing man who is part of the crew told us about the conditions on the plane. He started off by saying that every hour in the air is like an hour in a half on the ground. So it’s very tiring and they get loads of rest in between flights. Each C17 GlobeMaster has a full kitchen and the crew normally cooks their own meals. He told us that he has baked cookies while in flight among other foods. When asked by someone in line about the temperature of the plane mid-flight, he told the crowd that had gathered around him that typically near the front of the plane it’s 75 degrees Fahrenheit and towards the back it’s around 40 degrees.
Another member of the crew demonstrated how they lock different things in place. Vehicles and similar things are locked into place by chains, boxes of cargo are locked into place using a different method. To get boxes out efficiently some panels of the floor flip over to expose rollers.
Typically, on each flight there is a seven person crew. and it also takes the plane seven hours to fly from Germany to Kuwait. As we neared the front of the line we were told that they had landed that day in 2500ft, the shortest landing they have ever done since the airport didn’t have a long runway. Which is mind blowing!
Getting to be in the cockpit was quite the experience. I didn’t expect to be able to stand up all the way, but I was, with room to spare. There were buttons everywhere and getting to sit in the pilot’s seat was awesome! The view was cool and the seat was comfortable although there was a joystick in between my legs. The joystick was a rarity, very few C17 GlobeMasters have them but this one did in order to make tactical flying easier.
I’m not one to get overly claustrophobic but, I wouldn’t want to pilot a plane. I felt like I was so close to the windshield but that might have just been the way the roof slanted. Also, just standing in the cockpit made me nervous and I felt like somehow just standing in it I could crash the plane. Sheer power of will, I guess.
Overall, the day was great and I’m so happy I was able to experience it with my mom and sister. I just wish my dad had gone with us. Here is a picture of me in the pilot’s seat.