ALTUS AFB, OK (KSWO) –Members of the 97th Air Mobility Wing took part in the 2016 Ilopango Airshow in El Salvador, and they were a huge hit.
A U.S. Air Force C-17 Globemaster III cargo aircraft from the 58th Airlift Squadron went sent to the airshow as a static display for everyone to check out and take pictures of.
"The purpose of this trip was for us to come down, showcase the C-17 to the El Salvadorian people and foster good will between us and the El Salvadorian population, air force and military," said U.S. Air Force Maj. David Tomlinson, 58th Airlift Squadron evaluation pilot, in an interview with Altus AFB public affairs.
Airshow attendees were funneled into the C-17 via cargo door in order to get an view from the inside and learn about the C-17 from the crew.
"We answered a lot of questions about the capabilities of the C-17 such as what types of cargo it can hold and its max takeoff weight, which is what we normally do at an airshow in the United States. We're there to demonstrate the capabilities of the C-17 and I think for the most part we did," said U.S. Air Force Tech Sgt. Trinidad Gutierrez, 97th Operations Group instructor loadmaster.
The crew usually flies above the city of Altus as student pilots and loadmasters learn how to operate a C-17. However, they were able to apply some of what they learned on an actual mission.
The 97th AMW hasn't participated in a foreign airshow since Canada in the early 2000s.
"One of the major benefits of this mission for our pilots is maintaining or regaining oceanic currency," said Tomlinson. "Given that we train at Altus and stay in the local area we don't get a chance to fly over the ocean on a regular basis which has its own procedures and requirements. That was something we got to do on this trip flying over the Gulf of Mexico and using oceanic procedures so pilots get that benefit out of it."
The airshow was held at the Ilopango International Airport in San Salvador, El Salvador, on Jan. 30 and Jan. 31. You can see more photos from the airshow here.