NC National Guard welcomes first C-17s to Charlotte base
By DREW BROOKS | The Fayetteville (N.C.) Observer | Published: April 14, 2018
FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. (TNS) — The North Carolina National Guard welcomed a new workhorse to the skies over the Tar Heel state earlier this month.
The first two C-17 Globemaster III aircraft belonging to the state Guard landed at the North Carolina Air National Guard Base at Charlotte Douglas International Airport.
Their arrival marked a milestone in a transformation that is now in its 18th month, as the NCNG’s 145th Airlift Wing transitions from the C-130 Hercules to the C-17.
The last C-130 flew from Charlotte late last year. They will eventually be replaced by eight C-17s.
The C-17 is larger than its cousin. It can carry more than 100 paratroopers, roughly double the capacity of the C-130, and can fly faster, farther and higher while carrying nearly four times the weight.
The first C-17s arrived on April 7, officials said. The planes were previously assigned to active-duty wings at Joint Base Charleston, S.C., and Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash.
In an arrival ceremony, state military leaders and more than 2,500 guests greeted the planes, which flew over North Carolina landmarks on their way to Charlotte.
Air Force leaders announced plans to replace the North Carolina Air National Guard’s C-130s in 2016 as part of a Department of Defense budget proposal. The change is part of larger efforts to restructure the Air Force fleet, which includes basing C-17 aircraft more strategically across the country.