RAF C-17 re-joins the fleet following maintenance

02/06/2023

One of the RAFs fleet of 8 C-17A Globemaster III aircraft has recently re-joined the fleet in service following a period of maintenance. 

The aircraft in question, ZZ172, made its first flight since the 20th of February 2023 on June 2nd. This was likely due to having undergone deep maintenance. 

On June 2nd, the aircraft taxied to runway 07 under the control of a crew from 206 squadron. The role of this squadron is to test and evaluate the Royal Air Forces fleet of heavy aircraft, including the likes of our Air Mobility Fleet at RAF Brize Norton and the Nations Maritime patrol aircraft at RAF Lossiemouth. 206 Squadron doesn't have aircraft of its own. The callsign to look out for is COMET, that's when you know that 206 squadron is at the helm!

It departed and immediately joined the circuit, performing a mixture of touch and goes and overshoots, including one missed approach. Following this, the jet flew to Birmingham Airport, where, after another couple of circuits, it landed. 172 was taxied back around to the runway at Birmingham and swiftly departed. It then spent a good while circling between Gloucestershire, Herefordshire, and Worcestershire before returning to Brize. The aircraft ran back in along the length of runway 07 and broke off into the circuit. It arrived in a fashion I had never witnessed before, although I am sure it's not entirely unusual. It passed overhead the threshold with gear down at quite an altitude, as far as I was concerned it was never going to be possible to land it! That's where I was wrong, and it passed me near the Black Bourton gate at the altitude I'd of expected it to have been at over the threshold. It landed at the midpoint and reverse thrust was promptly engaged, bringing the moose to a stop. 

A video of one of its many approaches can be found here:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nSxceSDdxNE

Having taxied back to park, I  assumed that it would be finished for the day, especially being a Friday! About an hour later though, the crew once again called for taxi, this time under callsign BLACKCAT809. This callsign suggested that the aircraft had been handed back over to 99 Squadron, who operate the C-17. It taxied back down to runway 07 and lined up. Power was then applied and the aircraft was on its take-off roll. Seconds later, however, the throttles were pulled back and the aircraft had slowed down, it had aborted its take-off. ZZ172 taxied back to park and shut down. It was broken!