Multinational C-17 Finds Full Capability Slow Going

Roughly one week into its second year of operations, the three C-17s of the 12-nation Strategic Airlift Capability consortium have collectively logged more than 1,500 flight hours. SAC members operate these C-17s at Pápa AB, Hungary. The heavy airlift wing there is still working toward full operational capability. Today, only one-third of the unit’s personnel have extensive experience with the C-17. “Right now, in order for a mission to go out, there has to be a US pilot on [the flight],” said USAF’s Maj. Brian Nicosia, HAW chief of tactics. As part of the wing’s maturation, two of its international pilots are currently undergoing upgrade training to become aircraft commanders. In its first year, the SAC airlifters have delivered more than seven million pounds of cargo around the world in support of the European Union, NATO, and UN. (Charleston report by 2nd Lt. Susan Carlson)