Monday, October 3, 2011
517th Spouses Flight
Every year the 517th squadron gathers all the wives together and gives them a ride in a C-17 and a really scenic tour of Alaska. This would normally cost thousands of dollars but the men volunteer their time and fill out paperwork that allows us to see a view of Alaska few have ever seen in person. This was my second year to take part in the experience.
All the wives were asked to wear warm clothing, closed toed shoes, and their husbands green flight jackets. John had the idea to order the wives name tags so they could put them on the jacket and take pictures. It reminded me of being in High school when your wear your boyfriend's letter jacket so everyone knows who you're dating. I loved it! John even get me my own name tag. I must say that being Mrs. Wendler is probably the best title I have earned to date! ;)
The C-17 is used for rapid strategic airlift of troops and cargo to main operating bases or forward operating bases around the world. It can also perform tactical airlift, medical evacuations, and airdrop missions. We all loaded up into the back of the plane and got ready for take off. The most amazing thing about a C-17 is that the back hatch can open in flight. This lends itself to some amazing views!
It gets a little chilly though when the back hatch so when they closed it we had the opportunity to wander around a little. The C-17 is 174 feet (53 m) long and has a wingspan of about 170 feet (52 m). It can airlift cargo fairly close to a battle area. The size and weight of U.S. mechanized firepower and equipment have grown in recent decades from increased air mobility requirements, particularly for large or heavy non-palletized outside cargo.
All the ladies were given the opportunity to visit the cockpit as well. The C-17 is powered by four Pratt & Whitney F117-PW-100 turbofan engines. Each engine is capable of fully reversing. The C-17 is designed to operate from runways as short as 3,500 ft and as narrow as 90 ft (27 m). In addition, the C-17 can operate from unpaved, unimproved runways. The thrust reversers can be used to back the aircraft and reverse direction on narrow taxiways using a three- (or more) point turn.
Overall, it was an amazing experience and one I am sure many of us wives will cherish for a long time. I am so blessed to be married to such and amazing man and I cherish everyday we are together.