My big blue truck rolls through the access road to my day job. The road crosses a ridge that’s near the airport and national guard base so I’m used to seeing all types of aircraft in the area. What I didn’t expect was a large military jet that was so close to the mountain top that it was almost in my lane. ( Not really, it was just an optical illusion. ) I quickly whipped the truck off road and jumped out with my lens. The C-17 Globemaster III was low. Really low. For a moment I wondered if it was going to come down in the empty field to my left. Then it turned and was heading straight for me.
It’s an every day occurrence for the massive C-130s to fly over and shake the ground as they thunder along skimming the treetops. But this the first encounter I’ve had with a C-17. The large jet just seemed to float as it banked and began to drop altitude. By the time it was directly overhead it felt like I could just reach out an touch it.
The jet has a 170 foot wingspan, is about 174 feet long and cruises at 450 knots. As close as it was I expected to be in the jet wash but it didn’t so much as shake a leaf as it sailed through over my head.
In the late 70s and early 80s the air national guard would practice maneuvers over the farm and the odd sonic boom would rattle the windows. But this behemoth moved like it was an airborne whale with a graceful purpose as it continued it’s turn and floated down on the base.
As big plane settled below the horizon I knew it was time for the big blue truck to follow suite and proceed to the parking lot to rest while I work.
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