Wednesday's training mission that put 13 Charleston Air Force Base C-17s up in the air in a matter of minutes went off without a hitch, but did leave some shutterbugs disappointed.
The previously announced fly-over of the Arthur Ravenel Jr. Bridge was scrubbed in favor of the crews concentrating on their missions for the day, officials said.
Around 9 a.m. the 13 planes began their quick takeoff in less-than-30-second intervals. Once in the air, the crews headed off for a variety of missions and tests.
Among the tasks were air-dropping tons of cargo over a field near Orangeburg, picking up and letting go some 380 paratroopers from Pope Air Force Base in North Carolina, and conducting in-flight refueling.
“Launching 13 aircraft at one time is a very rare opportunity,” said Col. Darren E. Hartford, commander of the 437th Airlift Wing.
The training was called as a test of “real world” operations, the base said.
In addition to crews from the 437th, reservists from the 315th Airlift Wing took part.
Six of thirteen C-17s wait on the tarmac at Charleston Air Force Base Wednesday morning, as the group of planes prepared for take off on a joint training mission. (Brad Nettles/postandcourier.com) 4/10/13×
As part of the training exercise Wednesday morning, the 13 C-17 cargo planes took off from Charleston Air Force Base in less-than-30-second intervals.×