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Saving a C-17 in Afghanistan

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posted on Dec, 25 2012 @ 02:02 PM
I first heard this story a few weeks ago, but now there's a video to go with it.

On January 23, 2012 a C-17 landed at a Forward Operating Base in Afghanistan. The crew misjudged the length required to stop the aircraft and went off the end of the runway, causing $69.5M in damage to the aircraft undercarriage. An initial assessment team went in, and the decision was made to repair the aircraft on scene.

The crews repaired the aircraft with mortar rounds going off near them (one member had shrapnel pass within inches of his face). One of the teams arrived during a mortar attack, and the aircraft next to them was damaged. After 27,000 man hours, the aircraft was repaired enough to fly back to Long Beach for extensive repairs. The nose gear assembly was replaced (including doors, struts, brakes, wheels), all the main landing gear brakes were replaced, fuel leaks discovered and repaired, and the aircraft was flown in five hops back to Long Beach, where it will undergo months of permanent repairs.

The video shows just how extensive the damage was, and the amazing repairs that were performed before the aircraft could be flown once, let alone through five hops. The nose was so badly damaged, that they had to put the front end on a flat bed truck to move it.

posted on Dec, 25 2012 @ 02:06 PM
reply to post by Zaphod58

Ouch.. That looks like it hurt..

Is 70 million a good price? How much do these bad boys cost originally?
edit on 12/25/2012 by Dustytoad because: (no reason given)

posted on Dec, 25 2012 @ 02:12 PM
reply to post by Dustytoad

In 2010, they were in the $200M range. So $69M isn't TOO bad, but usually when the damage is that extensive the decision is made to destroy in place, but in this case, the number of C-17s is so small (relatively) and they're so badly needed that the decision was made to repair the aircraft.

posted on Dec, 27 2012 @ 02:21 AM
Zaphod.. First off I love your posts if I need to know anything about aircrafts and aviation I'm coming to you

Anyways sad to see the c17 in a state I fell in love with this plane when I first saw it at RAF/USAF Mildenhall in Suffolk, UK when it first came to service

posted on Dec, 27 2012 @ 03:20 AM
reply to post by ThePeaceMaker

Why thank you. I appreciate that.

I'll try to find the entire story behind this later after I get some sleep. The video doesn't do it justice, with what those guys went through, and what they had to do to get this plane airworthy again.

posted on Dec, 27 2012 @ 04:02 AM
reply to post by Zaphod58

No thanks needed mate I'm sure alot of people on here appreciate your expertise. And sleep? You don't ever seem to sleep you always pop on here throughout my day on ATS. Anyway enjoy your sleep I better carry on with my job, all the best will look forward to more of your threads

posted on Dec, 27 2012 @ 11:24 AM
Here's the parts that they forgot in the video:

A seven-man mission recovery team assigned to 8th Expeditionary Air Mobility Squadron deployed to forward operating base Shank in the remote Logar province of Eastern Afghanistan to complete repairs and recover a downed C-17 Globemaster III.

They recovered the vital aircraft amid daily enemy mortar attacks.

"We knew we had a lot of tireless work ahead of us but didn't know the extent of the damage until we actually had eyes on the C-17," said Master Sgt. Roy Lee, 8th EAMS MRT member. "We knew we had to work quickly and efficiently to get that aircraft out of FOB Shank. The base and flightline take mortar fire on a daily basis."

The C-17 made a hard landing on the short runway and sustained significant damage. Upon the team's arrival, they discovered the challenge of repairing 12 flat tires, replacing eight brakes and repairing eight break temperature sensors.

The team worked alongside a Boeing Recovery and Modification Services team to properly jack the aircraft off the ground to begin maintenance. After the first day of work, the team replaced all tires, brakes and fixed all the break temperature sensors while mortar rounds sporadically hit the surrounding area.

"The Airmen never lost focus on the mission at hand," said Tech. Sgt. Gregory Bernett, 8th EAMS MRT member deployed from Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash. "They would hit the ground as shrapnel flew across the flightline, but as soon as it was clear, they were back to work without hesitation. They were determined to get this aircraft air ready."

Two more 8th EAMS MRT members arrived on the second day to repair a fuel leak that was discovered. During the final day of repairs, a mortar landed approximately 150 yards away from the crew. This was the closest impact the team experienced.

"With all the noise on the flightline at the time, we couldn't hear the 'incoming' warnings," said Lee, deployed from Joint Base Charleston, S.C. "I was stepping off the aircraft when the mortar hit and I instantly felt the concussion of the explosion. The C-130 Hercules parked next to us sustained damage, so we knew we were fortunate."

The 8th EAMS Airmen completed their mission in two days to ensure the aircraft could be moved out of the FOB.

"We knew we had a dangerous mission ahead of us, but everyone of us were determined to get that aircraft out of there," said Senior Airman Benny Vickery, 8th EAMS MRT member deployed from JB Charleston, S.C. "It was a great experience that I will remember for years to come."

The dedicated and tireless work of these maintainers displays the attitude of the Airmen of the 8th EAMS.

"I am extremely proud of my team. As a commander, the one thing that keeps me up at night is when the call comes in to send my people into harm's way," said Lt. Col. Louis Hansen, 8th EAMS commander. "When I learned the shrapnel from an attack missed them by mere inches, it really drove this point home. They simply picked themselves up, brushed off the sand and finished repairing the C-17 so we could get it back in the fight. In a word, simply 'Awesome!'"

posted on Dec, 27 2012 @ 04:11 PM
Thanks zaphod ill have a good read when I get the chance my time is being occupied with mrs, she's a non conspiracy person shes gets annoyed when I look on here haha, anyway it's nice to see such threads I've been interested in aviation since a small boy, ATS is a good infomation hub.
edit on 27-12-2012 by ThePeaceMaker because: (no reason given)

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