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Air Force hockey team travels on C-17 to games in New York (picture)

Oct 26, 2012, 12:23 PM EDT

Boeing Delivers First C-17 Globemaster III To United Arab Emirates Air Force Getty Images

I’m going to take a guess that athletes at the Air Force Academy don’t have to fly coach that often since they have a fleet of aerial craft to get them to and from athletic events.

Recently, the Air Force Academy hockey team needed a lift to a couple of games in Buffalo, New York and they decided to travel in class on a C-17 aircraft.

Below is a photo tweeted out by Air Force assistant hockey coach Andy Berg showing off the players relaxing in the cargo hold during the trip:


Normally, the C-17 is used for strategic airlift and cargo drops, so I’m going to assume that the hockey team wasn’t too heavy.


Air Force hockey team travels in C-17 [Die Hard Sports]

  1. anotheryx - Oct 26, 2012 at 12:39 PM

    Leg room!

  2. michiganhockey11 - Oct 26, 2012 at 1:40 PM

    As cool as this is (it’s pretty sweet), doesn’t this scream waste of taxpayers money? Would it just be cheaper to fly them coach or better yet, a few vans?

    Unless they parachute out with their gear at the airports, that would be pretty sweet.

    • jrd8523 - Oct 26, 2012 at 1:45 PM

      Hate to be a downer on a “fun” story, but you’re completely right. While not as bad as a C-5, we are talking about one of the most expensive aircraft in the world to operate in terms of flight hours. Further example of how wasteful we are, and how little people care.

      • michiganhockey11 - Oct 26, 2012 at 1:57 PM

        Let alone the cost of JP fuel. The jet holds 35k gallons for fuel and JP8 runs betwween $3-$4 per gallon. You do the math…….

        • michiganhockey11 - Oct 26, 2012 at 1:57 PM

          if it costs that low

          • manchestermiracle - Oct 28, 2012 at 12:11 PM

            C-17 has a fully-fueled range of 2,400 miles. A 1,500-mile trip would mean a less-than-max fuel load.

            Cost of JP-8 (military spec) and Jet A and A-1 (commercial grade) are virtually identical, save for some milspec additives such as corrosion inhibitors. The C-17 has the same turbines used on the Boeing 757.

    • humanvue - Oct 26, 2012 at 2:10 PM

      I’m in an Army aviation unit, and our pilots and crew chiefs are required to fly a certain amount of hours to remain qualified. I doubt it is any different for fixed-wing aircraft. If that crew was going to be flying anyway, why wouldn’t they want to transport cadets to their game?

      • lostpuppysyndrome - Oct 26, 2012 at 2:37 PM

        Meh, don’t bother trying to explain. Folks in Canada got all up in arms 2 years ago when the Prime Minister took a military plane to Boston to watch the Canucks play (the hockey team, though that describes hockey in general too).

    • nolanwiffle - Oct 26, 2012 at 2:50 PM

      Colorado Springs, CO to Buffalo, NY by van?

  3. airliftqueen - Oct 27, 2012 at 12:37 AM

    These crews have to remain current and these are training missions. These aircraft are going to fly with or without passengers so they may as well drop in and pick up some pax…for free. It doesn’t cost the taxpayers anything extra like humanvue said. We need to keep our pilots current so they’re ready for the real thing when the time comes.

  4. chuckleberry1974 - Oct 27, 2012 at 11:45 AM

    The humanvue and queen are correct. More than likely this flight was heading out anyway. And since they’re from an Air Force-funded academy, not flying them commercial and putting them on a C-17 likely ended up saving money in the end.

  5. manchestermiracle - Oct 28, 2012 at 12:00 PM

    1) Globemaster III has the same engines as a Boeing 757. Fuel usage difference would be minimal.
    2) Flight operational readiness as mentioned above.
    3) Flight experience for hockey players with MOS needs.
    4) Aircraft may have been transferred to area near Buffalo.
    5) 31 players and coaches (plus miscellaneous staff). Aircraft designed to carry 102 troops. Less payload than max equals less fuel usage.
    6) Other military personnel in Buffalo area may be travelling back west.

    There are numerous scenarios that make this flight much more than a “waste of taxpayer money.” The Air Force has the responsibility of moving troops from all the armed forces around the world and maintains its own scheduled flights.

    On a lighter note, have you flown in a military cargo plane? The only thing those players have going for them vs. a commercial flight is some legroom. The cabin isn’t fitted out like a commercial airliner. The seats have no padding and the noise level is quite high. No food or drink service, but no extra charges for luggage. Oh, no movie either.

    • therealzeitgeist - Oct 28, 2012 at 5:18 PM

      I agree. My bet is the vehicle was going to Ft. Drum anyways. And C-17’s suck to fly in; bouncy, drafty, wicked-loud. C-141’s were twice as bad.

      • rodeoclowndc - Oct 29, 2012 at 2:51 PM

        Drafty? They are hockey players, after all – they know all about drafty.