Increased Access

Air Mobility Command conducted 140 hours of flight tests this summer with C-17 transports at undisclosed locations around the world to ascertain the aircraft’s ability to operate from semi-prepared airfields under varying weather conditions. The results were dramatic, showing that with the more accurate ability available to ground personnel to gauge soil moisture levels using a piece of equipment called a grip tester that measures friction, the C-17 is now able to take off and land on 65 percent of the world’s soils whereas it previously was cleared to operate from only six percent. “The C-17 [semi-prepared runway operations] test results will translate into expanded capability since rainy or wet weather conditions won’t be such a limiting factor at austere locations,” said Maj. James Hill, chief of AMC’s aircraft test management branch. That translates into getting gear closer to the ground troops. (Scott report by Bekah Clark)