They’re back. C-17s return to the skies of Pierce County after months-long absence

Welcome back, Globemaster.

If you think the skies of Pierce County have been unusually quiet the past three months, you’re not mistaken.

A three-month resurfacing project of McChord’s runway sent the familiar C-17 U.S. Air Force cargo planes to other West Coast bases.

Expect to see the huge gray planes back in the skies now that the project is finished.

The first Globemaster III landed at 10 a.m. Monday followed by 17 more in the 62nd Airlift Wing.

“Despite being geographically separated, the Team McChord Airmen were still able to provide worldwide airlift support,” the Air Force said in a statement.

The C-17 is 174 feet long and has a wingspan of 169 feet. The plane needs only 3,500 feet of runway to take off and land and can even make a three-point turn to turn itself around on remote runways, according to the Air Force.

Craig Sailor has worked for The News Tribune for 20 years as a reporter, editor and photographer. He previously worked at The Olympian and at other newspapers in Nevada and California.