Final C-17 departs Long Beach

written by australianaviation.com.au | November 30, 2015
Last C-17
The last C-17 will be delivered to Qatar early next year. (Boeing)

Boeing has marked the completion of  C-17 Globemaster final assembly at its Long Beach, California plant.

The last of 279 C-17s to be built at Long Beach flew over the assembly facility there on Sunday (US time) before heading to the company’s San Antonio site for short-term storage ahead of delivery to Qatar early next year.

“This is truly the end of an era. It’s a sad day, but one that all of the Boeing employees and suppliers who have worked over the years building this great aircraft can be proud of,”  Nan Bouchard, vice president and C-17 program manager, said in a statement.

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“Our team’s work and dedication and professionalism created one of the world’s leading airlifters, a plane that is at the forefront for providing humanitarian aid and has changed the way the US Air Force and our international partners mobilise for operations and aeromedical support,” Bouchard said.

Boeing – which will continue to provide support, maintenance and upgrades for the worldwide Globemaster fleet – announced in September 2013 that it would shut down the C-17 line. At that time 2,200 employees were involved on the C-17 program.

The Qatari aircraft is one for four set to be delivered to the Gulf state in 2016, and is one of 10 C-17s Boeing built as “white tails” – aircraft built without a customer order. Of those, nine have been sold – the four for Qatar, two for Australia, two for the United Arab Emirates and one for Canada. Aviation Weeks reports that one airframe remains unsold and is in storage in Texas.

Since first flight in September 1991 the global C-17 fleet, including 223 delivered to the US Air Force, has amassed more than three million flight hours, Boeing said.

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The Royal Australian Air Force has eight C-17s in service, welcoming its final C-17 delivery on November 4 at RAAF Base Amberley.

The final C-17’s departure also marks the end of large transport aircraft final assembly in California, and the end of an era for the former Douglas Aircraft Company’s Long Beach site, which was also home to production of the DC-8, DC-9, DC-10, MD-80, MD-11 and 717 jet airliners.

Douglas first began aircraft production at Long Beach in 1941, building C-47 Skytrain (Dakota) transports and A-20 Havoc attack aircraft there as well as the (Boeing-designed) B-17 Flying Fortress bomber.

STORY UPDATED DECEMBER 2 WITH NEW INFO ON THE ‘WHITE TAIL’ C-17S

last C-17 flyby
The C-17 say its final goodbye to Long Beach. (Boeing)

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10 Comments

  • Paul

    says:

    TO LATE NOW FOR RNZAF NZ GOVT… MAYBE 2ND HAND FROM 1 GOOD OWNER? OR MAYBE A400M

  • Raymond

    says:

    A real shame that such a magnificent flying machine is no longer being produced and that there wasn’t the economics to keep production trickling along somehow.

  • Jason

    says:

    May not ne too late. There are rumors the 4 C-17s on order for the Qataris might fall through, leaving 5 un-sold.

  • Raymond

    says:

    Hopefully then the DWP (when it stops being delayed and eventually is released) will authorise the purchase of the other two C-17’s for the RAAF!

  • Jason

    says:

    The only chance for any more C-17s is if there is another significant budget underspend, but with the RAAF struggling to crew the eight C-17s we have, I doubt there will be more.

  • Gary

    says:

    How strong are the rumours surrounding the Qatari C17s? If they go to Qatar as planned, even if we had the funds allocated, I doubt we could persuade the USAF or anyone else to offload any used frames . I believe there is one left. I am sure the extra C17s will be crewed accordingly. Given the extremely short turnaround from order to delivery, the system will take a little time to catch up.

  • B. Harrison

    says:

    Just witnessed a C-17 screaming up the Manning River at Taree (3rd of December) at no more than 300 metres. What a sight! A very good aircraft and if the government has an opportunity to purchase 1 or 2 more they should.

  • Raymond

    says:

    B. Harrison – wow, wish I had of been there!

  • wombat

    says:

    If there were more C-17s to come available, a shortage of aircrew will not be the only concern, we need to load them and refuel them as well.

  • Crikey

    says:

    The C17 was the best decision the RAAF has ever made. Bought straight of the line, no customised mods that cost a fortune. The transport aircraft just works and keeps gong.
    well done.
    Sad the line has finished.

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