Military pilots go through impressive, and sometimes unexpected, moments in their careers. The crew of a U.S. military C-17 Globemaster III experienced an emergency landing on October 18th—without the use of the aircraft's nose wheels.
Footage of the landing has been shared online, and it's impressive to watch the heavy-duty aircraft seemingly almost seamlessly landing at Kandahar Airfield in Afghanistan, as reports by the Aviationist have stated.
All you notice that doesn't seem natural to a plane landing are the sparks that fly off the C-17 after it heavily skids on the runway.
Missing landing gear
A functioning C-17 Globemaster III typically lands with the use of two sets of wheels, one set coming out from the front nose and the other set from the back. The front set is kitted out with two wheels, and the rear one with six wheels on the left and right side of the fuselage, per Popular Mechanics.
In the recent incident in Afghanistan, the C-17's two front wheels did not unfurl, and so the massive aircraft had to undertake a landing without them, landing nose-down on the runway.
A U.S. Air Force C-17 Globemaster made an emergency landing at Kandahar Airfield this morning. No injuries have been reported and the airfield is open only to military traffic. Enemy activity was not involved. The incident is under investigation.— USFOR-A Spokesman Col Sonny Leggett (@USFOR_A) October 18, 2020
Luckily, no injuries were reported, and the emergency landing had nothing to do with an "enemy attack," as per U.S. Air Force spokesman, Col. Sonny Leggett's post on Twitter. The team is currently investigating what happened.
When looking at the footage, you notice the nose landing gear bay doors are open, but nothing is coming out of them. Snapshots of the open bay doors with unfurled wheels are shown at the end of the YouTube video.
The C-17 Globemaster III
Given it's bloated and heavy appearance, it's no wonder the C-17 is nicknamed the "Buddha." It can transport a whopping 102 paratroopers, 54 ambulatory medical patients, or 85 tons of cargo, which includes some tanks. It's flown by a crew of three and can fly direct from the U.S. to almost any part of the world with mid-air refueling.