An Up-Close Tour of the C-17 Globemaster, the Giant That Flies

With sinuous lines, flawless grey skin, and four powerful turbofan engines straight out of a contemporary sci-fi movie, the iconic C-17 Globemaster has a surprisingly spacious exterior, with a 170,858 pound maximum payload. Inside, it's a total mess of cables, wires, pipes, and hundreds of gadgets that the average admirer can hardly see through.

The Boeing C-17 Globemaster III is the second largest military transport aircraft made in the United States, after the mighty Lockheed C-5 Galaxy. Thanks to the Strategic Airlift Capability Heavy Airlift Wing (SAC HAW) at the Pápa Air Base, Hungary, I had the chance to examine the fifth largest military cargo aircraft of the world very closely, during the open day held on this Saturday.

The following photo essay shows you all the delightful details that many people might not realize even exist in these airplanes. Some serious aircraft porn follows, so please fasten your seat belts.

An Up-Close Tour of the C-17 Globemaster, the Giant That Flies

An Up-Close Tour of the C-17 Globemaster, the Giant That Flies

An Up-Close Tour of the C-17 Globemaster, the Giant That Flies

An Up-Close Tour of the C-17 Globemaster, the Giant That Flies

An Up-Close Tour of the C-17 Globemaster, the Giant That Flies

An Up-Close Tour of the C-17 Globemaster, the Giant That Flies

An Up-Close Tour of the C-17 Globemaster, the Giant That Flies

An Up-Close Tour of the C-17 Globemaster, the Giant That Flies

An Up-Close Tour of the C-17 Globemaster, the Giant That Flies

An Up-Close Tour of the C-17 Globemaster, the Giant That Flies

An Up-Close Tour of the C-17 Globemaster, the Giant That Flies

An Up-Close Tour of the C-17 Globemaster, the Giant That Flies

An Up-Close Tour of the C-17 Globemaster, the Giant That Flies

An Up-Close Tour of the C-17 Globemaster, the Giant That Flies

An Up-Close Tour of the C-17 Globemaster, the Giant That Flies

An Up-Close Tour of the C-17 Globemaster, the Giant That Flies

An Up-Close Tour of the C-17 Globemaster, the Giant That Flies

An Up-Close Tour of the C-17 Globemaster, the Giant That Flies

An Up-Close Tour of the C-17 Globemaster, the Giant That Flies

An Up-Close Tour of the C-17 Globemaster, the Giant That Flies

An Up-Close Tour of the C-17 Globemaster, the Giant That Flies

An Up-Close Tour of the C-17 Globemaster, the Giant That Flies

An Up-Close Tour of the C-17 Globemaster, the Giant That Flies

An Up-Close Tour of the C-17 Globemaster, the Giant That Flies

An Up-Close Tour of the C-17 Globemaster, the Giant That Flies

An Up-Close Tour of the C-17 Globemaster, the Giant That Flies

An Up-Close Tour of the C-17 Globemaster, the Giant That Flies

An Up-Close Tour of the C-17 Globemaster, the Giant That Flies

An Up-Close Tour of the C-17 Globemaster, the Giant That Flies

An Up-Close Tour of the C-17 Globemaster, the Giant That Flies

An Up-Close Tour of the C-17 Globemaster, the Giant That Flies

An Up-Close Tour of the C-17 Globemaster, the Giant That Flies

An Up-Close Tour of the C-17 Globemaster, the Giant That Flies

An Up-Close Tour of the C-17 Globemaster, the Giant That Flies

An Up-Close Tour of the C-17 Globemaster, the Giant That Flies

An Up-Close Tour of the C-17 Globemaster, the Giant That Flies

An Up-Close Tour of the C-17 Globemaster, the Giant That Flies

An Up-Close Tour of the C-17 Globemaster, the Giant That Flies

An Up-Close Tour of the C-17 Globemaster, the Giant That Flies

An Up-Close Tour of the C-17 Globemaster, the Giant That Flies

An Up-Close Tour of the C-17 Globemaster, the Giant That Flies

An Up-Close Tour of the C-17 Globemaster, the Giant That Flies

An Up-Close Tour of the C-17 Globemaster, the Giant That Flies

An Up-Close Tour of the C-17 Globemaster, the Giant That Flies

An Up-Close Tour of the C-17 Globemaster, the Giant That Flies

An Up-Close Tour of the C-17 Globemaster, the Giant That Flies

An Up-Close Tour of the C-17 Globemaster, the Giant That Flies

An Up-Close Tour of the C-17 Globemaster, the Giant That Flies

An Up-Close Tour of the C-17 Globemaster, the Giant That Flies

An Up-Close Tour of the C-17 Globemaster, the Giant That Flies

An Up-Close Tour of the C-17 Globemaster, the Giant That Flies

An Up-Close Tour of the C-17 Globemaster, the Giant That Flies

An Up-Close Tour of the C-17 Globemaster, the Giant That Flies

Here's a bit more about HAW, which is an independent partnership between 12 countries and is based in Hungary. The coalition owns and operates several C-17 Globemasters:

The HAW is the operational arm of the multinational Strategic Airlift Capability program (SAC), and operates three Boeing C-17 Globemaster III long-range cargo jets providing strategic military airlift capability to the 12 member nations of SAC (Hungary, Bulgaria, Estonia, Lithuania, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Romania, Slovenia and the United States and NATO Partnership for Peace nations Finland and Sweden).

The HAW flew its first missions in the July 2009 and ever since its C-17 fleet has achieved over 13.000 flying hours on over 940 missions, delivered over 89 million pounds (over 40.000 tons) of cargo and carried over 52.000 passengers. The HAW can respond to a wide selection of airlift needs. It can provide airlift capability to support EU, NATO or UN operations or national military, peacekeeping and humanitarian relief operations wherever and whenever needed by the 12 nations.

HAW missions can contain multiple tasks such as air refueling, single ship airdrop, assault landings and all-weather operations day or night into low to medium threat environments using Night Vision Goggles. In 2014, the Strategic Airlift Capability Heavy Airlift Wing celebrates its fifth year of flight operations. During its five years of operations HAW has supported a variety of military and peacekeeping operations including International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in Afghanistan (2009–), NATO operations in Libya (2011) and UN approved training and peacekeeping operations in Mali (2013-) and in the Republic of Central Africa (2014-). The most significant humanitarian operations supported include earthquake relief in Haiti (2010) and flood relief in Pakistan (2010). (Source)

Have you ever been inside a C-17 or another cargo plane? Tell us below!

(Photos: Attila Nagy/Gizmodo)