Piece by piece, a C-17 Globemaster III trainer has arrived at Wright-Patterson in an unconventional way for the giant cargo jet.
On Tuesday, the tail section of the trainer arrived on the back of a flatbed trailer and rolled through a base gate after a more than 2,000-mile highway journey that began at Joint Base San Antonio in Texas.
Parts of the plane will be reassembled at the U.S. Air Force School of Aerospace Medicine to train future military medical flight crews who tend to wounded patients on aeromedical evacuation flights around the world, said Brian Pollock, who is overseeing the C-17 project.
The school trains as many as 600 students in an academic semester.
As many as 15 to 19 trips will be needed over a month to bring all the pieces of the plane to the Miami Valley base, said Wright-Patterson spokeswoman Gina Giardina.
The Air Force coordinated with states along the route to accommodate the extra-wide load, she said.
The C-17 is the primary cargo jet the Air Force flies to transport wounded service members on aeromedical evacuation flights out of Afghanistan and places around the globe. The Air Force Reserve 445th Airlift Wing at Wright-Patterson has routinely flown these flights for years with both air and medical crews.
Once assembled in a parking lot and pulled inside in July, the trainer will simulate the noise of the plane, temperature changes, smoke, and operating in low light for students beginning in October, officials said.
Pushing the C-17 trainer into the new facility will mean relocating one of two C-130 trainers inside a hangar-sized training facility onto a concrete slab outdoors, Giardina said.
The trainer was a “durability” test model at a Boeing aircraft factory in Long Beach, Calif., where the company assembled C-17s. The Air Force purchased the fuselage in 2011 and spent four years preparing it for the journey to Ohio, Pollock said.
Dayton Daily News photographer Ty Greenlees contributed to this story.
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