US Air Force | Meet the “mini C-17” of the US Air Force
Defence Redefined
Published on 20/03/2022 at 18:45

The US Air Force officially operates a fleet of 222 C-17 Globemaster III transport aircraft, but unofficially, the service has 223 C-17s, that is, if you count the “Mini C-17.” 

This toylike model, which Air Force personnel built in the early 2000s, almost looks like a plane in its own right. 

The C-17 Globemaster III is the backbone of the Air Force’s Air Mobility Command. The actual C-17 aircraft can carry 82 tonnes of cargo (including tanks, satellites, Black Hawk helicopters, troops, supplies, or anything else the military uses that other aircraft cannot transport) having an intercontinental operational range, with the jumbo jets traveling as far as Antarctica to support the National Science Foundation.

The mini-C-17, on the other hand, can do none of these. The pilots of the 315th Airlift Wing built the “aircraft” from a “John Deere Gator” utility vehicle (which is basically an auxiliary golf cart) and recyclable scrap materials. The result is a mini C-17, a roughly one-sixth scale model of the real thing.

This miniature has been used as a static model for communication purposes across the United States to promote the US Air Force Reserve units and to strengthen its recruitment efforts at airshows, parades, and other events, while it was also a good opportunity for younger maintainers to practise working sheet metal.

The “Spirit of Hope, Liberty & Freedom”, as the plane is officially called, first appeared in November 2004 with a length of 9.8 meters, a height of 4 meters, and a wingspan of 8.7 meters incorporating flight station panels, engine sounds, an operational cargo ramp, and a cargo door and markings, according to the 315th Airlift Wing website. The plane is transported in sections, and it can take crews up to an hour to put it together and another hour and a half to take it apart.

The mini C-17 is not the only miniature aircraft that adorns the US Air Force, as there is also a mini C-130 named Lil ‘Bill and there may also be a mini B-52.

Also read: Supercar Blondie | Underwater model shoots “realistic” torpedoes on a ship




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