Home' Air Force News : September 3rd 2009 Contents MAX LOAD
Vol. 51, No. 16, September 3, 20
e official newspaper of the Royal Australian Air Force
By CPL Andrew Hetherington
AN AIR Force C-17 delivered the
largest load of cargo flown into Tarin
Kowt to date on August 16, providing
essential equipment to troops on the
The load consisted of three vehi-
cles and other cargo for use by the
ADF Afghan Election Security Force
-- a total of 41,700kg.
For the aircrew, the mission began
the day before.
C-17 pilot SQNLDR Travis Walters
said the first consideration for him and
his crew was extensive planning for
"The afternoon before the mission,
we run through the bulk of our plan-
ning, which usually takes three to four
hours," SQNLDR Walters said.
"We have at least 10 hours rest,
then in the morning we go through
another three hours to complete flight
planning and check the weather and so
on before take off."
However, for this mission, the vehi-
cles didn't arrive for loading until late
the night before.
"It was quite hectic for the load-
masters, as we had to load two of the
vehicles on the morning of the mis-
sion," SQNLDR Walters said.
After the smooth flight of about
two hours to Tarin Kowt, the engine
reverse thrusters screamed to assist the
aircraft to stop on the tricky runway.
The back ramp opened and the
two loadmasters swung into action,
unchaining the vehicles and prepar-
ing the two pallets to be offloaded as
quickly as possible.
No time was wasted on the runway,
with the cargo offloaded in 40 minutes
-- 20 minutes under the time allotted
for the task.
SQNLDR Walters said at locations
like Tarin Kowt the engines were kept
running to facilitate a quick turnaround
because an aircraft of that size could
make an attractive target.
After the cargo was offloaded the
aircraft took off, bound for Kandahar
to drop off personnel.
For missions into Afghanistan the
work load for aircrew can be high and
SQNLDR Walters, who converted
from flying F/A-18 Hornets, said fly-
ing the C-17 was a completely differ-
ent flying experience.
"Coming from a tactical flying
background made flying missions into
Afghanistan a little easier for me, but
it's still very busy," he said.
"You have a number of completely
different considerations to take into
"It's a big, heavy aircraft compared
to flying a fighter."
From a loadmaster's perspective
WOFF Michael Wilson said his day
began at 5am.
"Once we arrived at the aircraft we
supervised the air movements team
loading the aircraft and ensured all of
the paperwork was in order," WOFF
"After that, we got the passengers
on board and got cracking."
SQNLDR Walters said the C-17
was hugely effective in its role in
"Today we moved three vehicles
plus five others in the past week," he
"It would have taken a long time to
achieve the same result with another
"That's what we are here for -- to
move outsized cargo really quickly
and, today, our load was the maximum
load we could carry into Tarin Kowt."
PICTURE ESSAY PAGE 12-13
C-17 in Afghanistan
July 1 to August 16
• GUNNIES MKII GRADUATE
• COURT UNCONSTITUTIONAL
• MINDEF ON GOVERNANCE P2 • AIR CRASH
ENDS P3 • ONE MAN'S
IN THE AIR
Photo: PO Dave Connolly
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