Sunday, March 6, 2011


**** Edit****
If you are reading this on Google Reader or similar feed and the video embedded below doesn't show up, go to my directly to my blog and the embed will show up. Sorry, I don't know enough about HTML code to fix it. Thanks.

Some time ago...

"Good afternoon sir. I am Sergeant Cochran and I am the loadmaster on this flight. When was the last time that you loaded a vehicle on  a C-17?" She asked with an expectant expression on her face.

I found her question a little humorous. I decided to share the mirth.

"Me?" I asked as I looked around the otherwise empty cab of the truck. "Never. In fact, this is the first time that I have ever even been behind the wheel of this truck."

I was being honest on both counts. The operator of the truck had made  the mistake of leaving it in the staging area unattended. When it was time to load, it was time to load. As I was the only person nearby when the staging area manager wanted it repositioned, I was nominated. I drove it over to the aircraft thinking the operator would be there. He/she wasn't and I was soon directed to back the vehicle to the foot of the loading ramp.

"Okay, just go slow and do what I tell you" She directed.

I kept my eyes on her the entire time, I was nothing more than an extension of her will. I made no decisions, no judgments, I put it all on her. As a result, the vehicle was loaded without any issues or damage. I sat in the truck as the airmen chained it to the floor of the aircraft and thought about the ramifications if I had hit something on the way in.

A C-17 costs about $200 million each. That puts the cost of that little stringer that holds the doohickey at the top of the ramp in the $80,000 range. Not to mention that the mission would have to be scrubbed, dozens of strangers (some of whom looked very mean) would be pissed at me and a huge monkey wrench would be thrown into the exercise (whatever that was).

I don't think the owner of the truck would have been too happy either.

That's why when I saw this video, I found it to be amazing. Well, actually, quite nuts.

For the aeronautically challenged, you are looking at palletized Humvees being yanked out the rear door of an airborne C-17. Basically, a large parachute is opened out of the rear of the aircraft. The drag of the chute pulls on the cargo. The cargo is released and is pulled out of the open ramp in a rather expeditious fashion. The cargo then floats gently down to the earth, under a gently billowing canopy. Hopefully.   

The consequences of an error or malfunction would be dramatic and likely disastrous. I am sure that the Air Force does these all of the time, but still. I have to believe that the troops lining the side of the aircraft were quite relieved when the last Humvee cleared the ramp.

Suddenly, backing a pick-up truck into a C-17 doesn't seem like such a big deal any more.

Thanks for reading,


  1. Sounds cool but all I see is a big white rectangle where your video should be. Is all well in the world of video embedding?

  2. Anon - It embedded directly on the site, but it doesn't show up on Google Reader or other feed reader sites. I don't know enough about HTML code to rectify that. It's worth a look to go to to see it. Thanks.