The U.S. Air Force’s first C-17 (T-1) landed at the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force on Wednesday, April 25.
This C-17 Globemaster III (S/N 87-0025) was essentially hand-built for the sole purpose of developmental test and evaluation, with an estimated life span of approximately five years. The aircraft was periodically rebuilt and refurbished over the years and its lifespan grew from five to 21 years.
T-1 made its first flight on Sept. 15, 1991, when it was delivered to the USAF at Edwards AFB, Calif., for testing.
And I was there to greet it.
In addition to its role as a flight test aircraft, T-1 is also a Hollywood star. The aircraft appeared in country superstar Toby Keith’s Emmy Award-winning production of “American Soldier.” T-1 went on to appear in five motion pictures: “Transformers,” “Iron Man,” “Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen,” “Iron Man 2” and “Superman: Man of Steel” (to be released by Warner Brothers in 2013).
I think it was Iron Man 2 that led me to remark “Gee, that ramp, hangar, and building look just like the C-17 Combined Test Force at Edwards.” It probably was.