New military plane takes to skies above Valley for training

Local News

Many have seen the new plane in the skies around the Youngstown Air Reserve Station in Vienna

VIENNA TWP., Ohio (WKBN) – Some of you have seen a new plane flying in local airspace. WKBN 27 First News reached out to officials at the Youngstown Air Reserve Station to find out what it is.

Pilots of the $360 million C-17 are using the runway at the air station for touch and goes.

Colonel John Boccieri has flown the C-17. He says there is a big difference in the cockpit compared to other planes.

“We always have a joke. We have a button on the plane that’s called lateral navigation. Our navigation instrument was turning back to the navigator and saying, ‘Which way are we turning again?'” Boccieri said.

The C-17 is longer, wider and faster than the C-130. It carries enough fuel to fill your gas tank once a week for 26 years.

The 911th Wing in Pittsburgh has eight C-17s. They flew one to Youngstown to explain why you’ve been seeing them in the sky. The training at the airport is called Pilot Proficiency Sorties.

“They get away from the busy airspace of the Pittsburgh International Airport. They come to Youngstown, and they’re able to utilize the great capabilities of this airport and uncongested airspace as well,” said 910th Airlift Wing Commander Colonel Joe Janik,

The plane uses the airport’s main runways. It can’t use the shorter one used by the C-130. It could if the runway was 30-feet bigger.

The close proximity is also saving taxpayer money, with military planes from Pittsburgh and Dayton being able to use it.

A few people have called the air reserve station thinking the plane flies lower than the C-130. It doesn’t.

“It’s doing the same tactical events, the same altitude, everything is the same as the C-130s have done previously, but it just looks bigger because we’re twice as big. We’re twice as slow because we’re twice as big,” said 911th Airlift Wing Commander Colonel John Robinson.

The C-17 mission is more strategic or immediate. It can reach Europe in eight hours. The C-130 is more tactical. The C-17 can also carry three times more cargo as a C-130.

The airlift wings have shared deployments. Now they’re willing to share training space.

“What does that mean for people of Youngstown and the citizens out there? They’ll see a bigger plane more often,” Robinson said.

The easiest way to tell the difference between the planes is the C-17 has jet engines. The C-130 uses propellers. The C-17 also has winglets on the end of the wings.

More information about the C-17 (Courtesy: United States Air Force)

  • Measures 174 feet long with a wingspan of 169 feet, 10 inches
  • Powered by four turbofan engines
  • Operated by a crew of three pilots (pilot-co-pilot and loadmaster)
  • Maximum payload is 170,990 pounds
  • Cruise altitude of 28,000 feet
  • Cruise speed is approximately 450 knots
  • Designed to drop 102 paratroopers and equipment
  • Newest, most flexible cargo aircraft in the airlift force
  • Capable of rapid, strategic delivery of troops and all types of cargo
  • Capable of tactile airlift and airdrop missions and transport of ambulatory patients

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