End of the line at Long Beach
The final Boeing C-17A Globemaster III departed the company’s plant at Long Beach, California on Sunday November 29, marking the official end of aircraft production in Long Beach. The airlifter flew over a crowd and the facility before heading to the company’s San Antonio location, where it will remain until delivery to the Qatar Emiri Air Force early in 2016.
It marked the end of C-17 production. “This is truly the end of an era. It’s a sad day, but one that all of the Boeing employees and suppliers who have worked over the years building this great aircraft can be proud of,” said Nan Bouchard, vice president and C-17 program manager.
Delivery of the first operational Globemaster III occurred on June 14, 1993, when serial 89-1192 was delivered to the 17th AS, part of the 437th Airlift Wing (AW). The C-17A achieved IOC with the 17th AS on January 17, 1995.
While it continued to seek foreign customers Boeing announced in July 2013 that it would build up to 13 so-called ‘white tail’ C-17As using company funds. On September 18, 2013 the company revealed that it would end production of the C-17A and close the final assembly facility in Long Beach in late 2015. In April 2014 the company reduced the planned production to just 10 aircraft and the timetable for completion was moved up approximately three months to mid-2015. Final assembly of the last of 279 C-17As began in Long Beach on February 26, 2015. By June 2015 just one of the white tails remained unsold and unless a buyer is secured the aircraft will be placed in storage once it is completed.
A full review of the C-17 program appears in our January 2016 issue, on sale from December 3.