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800 People Evacuated From Kabul Aboard A Single C-17 Cargo Jet: Reports

Whether the number is accurate or not, at least the Air Force was mostly on the ball. Aerial refueling needed as unlikely fuel available in Kabul. 800 people would give a load of around 160,000 lb so that is pushing the limits weight-wise but that would also be overcome with the aerial refueling with a lower TOW. This loadmaster is a natural as a supervisor in a sardine canning factory. ( More...

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Derek Vaughn 20
The C-17 is a beast
matt jensen 11
Yeah, but smaller than a C5A and we used them a lot
srobak 5
C-5M, now. Sadly they ripped the beautiful sounding engines out of the A's and B's.
Paul Wisgerhof 31
640 is the reported number of passengers. Assuming one pax weighs 170 pounds that is a 108,800 pound load. The C-17 is rated at a cargo capacity of 130,000 with full fuel. Range is 5800 miles. The run from Kabul to Gwadar to Doha is 1435 miles. Should not have been a problem to carry that many people, just another day in the cargo business when the aircraft "cubes" out before it "weight out."
Peter Fuller 34
Nevertheless that’s an impressive feat, lifting out 640 in one flight. There wouldn’t have been much personal space left for each passenger. Somewhere in the corporate offices of Ryanair and Spirit there must be planners wondering “How can we monetize this??”
mbrews 9
I had similar thoughts about Ryan. From other videos of the Kabul airport chaos, one wonders whether these "passengers" got mustered aboard, or did they simply run up an open ramp of the C17 and arrange themselves ?

There's a tale to be told, by whoever threw the switch to close the ramp for takeoff.
Jasper Buck 2
I'd be interested in hearing the Captain's story. During takeoff were there any caution or warning lights, warning horns, etc. I would have thought that having a body of a person tangled up in your landing gear may have set off a warning or two. If not then then Boeing may want to suggest a means (albeit an expensive one) of detecting persons hiding in the wheel wells. Which they would install/retrofit (for a price.)
srobak 8
you have no idea the power and psi the hydraulics have & need to articulate and stow the gear, do you? A mostly water & soft, malleable tissue based person stands no chance at all, and offers almost no resistance to the articulation of gear.
Chris Croft 3
Pete, I think your onto something, Some airlines will be inspired by the potential here. The new fare structure will be 1st class, business, economy and once the cargo holds can be modified, steerage class.
srobak 3
kinda feels like we are already there
I always say Delta is the second worst airline, United, Southwest and American are tied for last, and Ryan and Jetblue don't count as airlines.
boughbw 0
Doesn't "8200" mean passenger capacity? ;^)
Jasper Buck -2
Yes and Allegiant too. And if that works then Southwest (or maybe Breeze.)

Capt J Buck

ATP DC-9 B757 B767
Joseph White 6
Still very impressive and courageous, normally people are in seats or as cargo "tied down", great work in extremely difficult circumstances.
robert eagle 4
Taut cargo straps every few feet across the floor to transport troops on short flight seated on the floor. Just keep one hand on or near a strap. No one complains.
srobak 5
the crew themselves reported an hour ago that the final count was 823
Dale Ballok 0
Does the EXACT number of pax really matter?
Sounds like a Dem/Rep debate!
srobak 1
Clearly you do not appreciate the significance of this. That's ok. The rest of us do.
Dale Ballok 1
I get it, but sometimes people nit-pick and argue over little details.
srobak 3
That "pushing the weight limit" statement is clearly assuming a 200lb weight average per person. Anyone who has served in the region can tell you that is highly unlikely, and in fact is closer to the south end of 150. shows it as 128. But even at 150 we are looking at 120k. While some had a little baggage - the pictures (much like the Filipino evac in 2013) shows that the majority of them do not.

Either way - they were well below takeoff weight - and that even includes a full load of fuel (which they likely did not have or need, as they flew only to Qatar - which is only 1/4 of the 17's one-way range.
Neil Klapthor 1
I heard this morning (20th) that the number of pax (from the photo that has been shown) was 860.
srobak 14
That "pushing the weight limit" statement is clearly assuming a 200lb weight average per person. Anyone who has served in the region can tell you that is highly unlikely, and in fact is closer to the south end of 150. shows it as 128. But even at 150 we are looking at 120k. While some had a little baggage - the pictures (much like the Filipino evac in 2013) shows that the majority of them do not.

Either way - they were well below takeoff weight - and that even includes a full load of fuel (which they likely did not have or need, as they flew only to Qatar - which is only 1/4 of the 17's one-way range.
jwelder3 4
120K is well below the maximum payload of 170K.
srobak 3
that's what I said above. I was responding to the article which said it was pushing it - when it was nowhere near that.
John Horvath 9
Another famous evacuation was the last flight out from Saigon on April 24, 1975, by Pan Am. The B747-121, "Clipper Unity", N653PA, departed Saigon for Manila with an all volunteer flight crew and nearly 500 evacuees.
David Beattie 9
OK, there’s ONE thing good about getting old! You’ve seen it all before. This is Viet Nam the sequel. We’ve gotta stop doing this!
AWspicious13 3
Yah. People just need to friggin get along.
Andre Berthet 6
PanAm N653PA departed Saigon on April 24th, 1975 and was not the last civilian flight out of Saigon. The last civilian flight departed on April 25th, 1975, out of Tan Son Nhat Airport in Saigon. The plane registered N693WA, was a World Airways B-727-173C. The Captain on this flight was my late father-in-law Nick Bountis from Pleasanton, CA.

James Simms 9
El Al says ‘Hold my beer’.

An El AL 747 carried between 1,078 to 1,122 (the exact numbers vary) Ethiopian Jews during ‘Operation Solomon’ on 24 May, 1991.
srobak 4
74 is significantly longer and has multiple decks. C-17 is wider and taller - so lots of wasted vertical space for this kind of operation. But if you did want to put the 747 in the back seat - fly a C-5 onto the set - which is long, wide and can be configured with an upper deck.
hal pushpak 13
Can you imagine if that load had "shifted" during a high performance climb-out? Can't forget the 747 load shift at the same airport in 2013?
bbabis 23
No place to shift to. And no windows. I'm sure they had to firehose that thing out for the turnaround. Great job by the crew. Keep up the great work. Thousands need it.
srobak 8
You will notice on the departure videos from the runway that the climb rate was extremely shallow - and likely for that very reason.
Joseph White 5
My thought as well, certainly they kept awareness of G-loading their cargo around the plane, great job !
Mike Mohle 2
I thought the same thing, yikes!
dee9bee 6
Word is that the actual number was closer to 640, still impressive...
srobak 2
actually the crew themselves have stated an hour ago that the count was 823.
srobak 1
That's about the same as the C-17 evac from the Philippines in 2013.
Fredy Ledesma 14
The American forces are the best in the world, not just for its power, but also for his humanitarian effort to save friends lives. God bless America!
Robert Lewis 4
Except for the policy-making "woke" wonks in the upper levels of all the services. They are, in large part, why we are in this debacle.
What a nightmare for everyone but the Taliban. so lets say the average number is 600, that means no less then 50 flights in an out of a potential hostile Air Space to get 30,000 people out, no person property.
boughbw 4
Even the Taliban see this as a nightmare. Why do you think the Soviets erected a wall around West Berlin? Having your citizens actively and constantly trying to escape really undercuts your legitimacy. Don't get me wrong: the Taliban are horrific. But even they are putting out what qualifies for them as a "charm offensive" as they attempt to exert legitimate authority over the failed state of Afghanistan.
John Giambone 5
Paul Wisgerhof's comments are absolutely correct! World Airways 727-100 departure out of Da Nang was a far more impressive feat. I could not help but think about that event in watching the events of the past several days unfold. Ed Daly and his crew were true hero's. I encourage anyone who has not heard of the events of that event to read that heroic story.
Jasper Buck 9
Good grief, remember that? March 29th 1975 two World Airways 727-100s went to Da Nang without any clearance or State permission. One of the 727s was unable to land. The other 727 took off on the taxiway with about 270 in the cabin and another 60 or so in the cargo hold. All the while taking small arms fire from the gooks*


Capt. J Buck
Veteran, Viet Nam Police Action

*sorry the use of the term gooks is politically incorrect, it should read NVA, Viet Minh or Viet Cong.
Bill Butler 1
Gooks works. That's the way it was....
Dolores Allee 1
Where can I find the story on Ed Daly ? thxs
robin cooper 4
wonder what route they take, over pakistan or Iran? either would make me nervous.
Hi Robin , a tip for you , try the app {Plane Finder } you can track most of the evac flights ,no they don't overfly Iran Or Pak .
srobak 1
southern route through the western side of pak. us & allied forces do not fly over or through iran.
joe johnson 6 you six my brothers and sisters.
Tim Dyck 3
Now the Airlines will think they can crowd even more people into their jets. Just take out the seats and gets them in…
canuck44 4
This is a total mess which will not be easy to resolve or alternatively ignore and await the fate of u[ to 40,000 American hostages. The solution involves essentially invading in sufficient numbers to retake Bagram with all its armament and ability to shuttle large numbers out. When complete it can then be abandoned as it should have been initially. Americans out, civilians outarmanets out or destroyed, troops out.
Robert Lewis 3
Exactly, and that is what I said in my only (so far in my life) correspondence to the White House. I said they have the opportunity to somewhat redeem themselves and urged them to put 25-50,000 troops back in to get all "innocents" out (our equipment too). I told them they don't need to do it for me or other like-minded people because we would most likely never vote for them, but they need to do it for the good name of the United States of America.
Ken Lane 8
It should have been US citizens arranged to have been on that bird. But then, the entire event was botched from the start by pathetic leadership in both the civilian and military ranks.
Duane Mader 7
We had the power to make this orderly and safe. Pretty simple to evac USA citizens and then our Afghan allies and THEN the military and lastly the Air Force CAP planes while keeping the Taliban out of range with the threat of air strikes. Could have gotten billions of dollars worth of equipment out too. Joe just did what he was told to do though.
AWspicious13 3
Leaving all that equipment behind could be a crime against humanity, I’m afraid.
That schitt is gonna come back and bite them in the azz. Should never been allowed to happen.
You have the right idea my friend ,with proper planning it could have been a lot better .
You are so correct .
time to get out the -9........
I feel bad for the loadmasters....what a mess and there's no way they have enough straps, lifevests or ear protection for all of them.....
srobak 2
but they have their lives. some things are more important than others. Ask the 650 that were on the 17 out of the Philippines back in 2013.
AAaviator 7
I'm grateful that innocent civilians made it out, but how many were not so "innocent" on that load? The failure to plan and execute an orderly withdrawal,with accurate vetting followed by people first, equipment 2nd, military personnel 3rd will be a forever stain on the current regime.
Matt Mahoney 4
Qatar is hardly the U.S. - let's hope the "vetting" will happen there. These unfortunate individuals are still a long way off from flying into the U.S.
sadly,those who accomplished the feat of taking off in that air force plane,have been severely criticized because there were many who ran after it while it was taxiing for takeoff,grabbed the sides of the plane somehow and fell to their deaths as it took off..some people were also found deceased in the wheel well when the plane landed..the desperation was tragic,but it was obvious there could have been no "orderly" way to load people who had never been on an aircraft before,and knew nothing about procedure or even what could happen..
srobak 7
their having never been on an aircraft before was not the contributing factor to their loss of life. Desperation and panic was. Had the withdrawal been conducted properly and over time - there would have indeed been an orderly way to load people into the aircraft vs. onto it.
paul trubits 7
And United is bitching about having to get duct tape glue off the seat armrests.
Fred Mew 4
I’ll bet that was one smelly airplane. The 141’s and C-5 a’s used for the Vietnam evacuation stunk to high heaven! Nowhere to move, nowhere to go to the bathroom, no food, just thankful to be out of the country with what they had on their back‘s!
Duane Mader 5
We had the power to make this orderly and safe. Pretty simple to evac USA citizens and then our Afghan allies and THEN the military and lastly the Air Force CAP planes while keeping the Taliban out of range with the threat of air strikes. Could have gotten billions of dollars worth of equipment out too. Joe just did what he was told to do though.
Who would have told the President to take the action he did? the{ Military -industrial complex .Any way you cut it , it's a giant screw up .
Joseph White -2
This is just wrongful blame shifting, presidents don't plan military operations, you're right about relatively simple plans, you're wrong if you think command and logistics don't share your "special genius". Research the troop withdrawals and Taliban prisoner releases in 2020 ( since you apparently don't know ) equipment removal as well, did you expect us to disarm the Afghan army when we left? There does need to be proper, realistic accountability, otherwise we learn nothing. Want an interesting read ? BBC News May 3 2021 Hillary Clinton warns of huge consequences in Afghanistan withdrawal.
Tim Smith 8
Your arrogance is unappreciated and unnecessary. Presidents do not plan military operations; however, they sure can suggest them, and override any plan these morainic four stars can come up with.
Commenting that any US Citizen should get in line behind any afghan is ludicrous!
Mark Kortum 2
Is there a bathroom?
srobak 2
Bandrunner 0
A hole in the floor, with a funnel and a tube.
Jesse Carroll 2
How many of them where properly vetted?
Just saying...
George Pepe 1
Probably less than 25%
AWspicious13 2
You can probably remove the percentage symbol.
George Pepe 2
Monica Sarli 2
Joe Biden should be impeached. He is an incompetent, pathetic mess. You can't tell me he didn't know about the Taliban taking over Afghanistan as quick as they did. He sat in Camp David hiding as this all unfolded. Trudeau called Hillary Clinton of all people because he was trying to call the State Dept and no one answered! WTF. God bless all the people who are helping with this evacuation! They need all the prayers and help they can get since our current administration can't get their head out of their ass!
Steve Stein 6
This is a four President issue. No one had the balls to exit. Go ahead and blame Biden, but TOG was the one who set the terms to withdrawal and basically telegraphed the timetable. It’s been a CF since 2002. Nation building never works from the top-down. We never had an exit strategy in Korea, Viet Nam, Beruit, Iraq and Afghanistan. I’m interested in what you’d do better if you had the power.

BTW, the Taliban held the majority of the country during the Trump and second term of Obama. Only around Kabul was there a perimeter of security. Once Trump telegraphed the exit plan, all the Taliban had to do was wait it out. We propped up the Agfanistan government with boatloads of cash, starting with Bush, continuing with Obama and Trump. They never were capable of providing their own security. Plus Afghanistan is made up of clans. They’re all in it for what’s best for their clan. It isn’t in their interest to support a centralized government. A little history reading illuminates that.
AWspicious13 5
It was a c f from the get-go. Some places just aren’t worth the effort, imo.
Funny how history keeps repeating itself. Its as if governments have Homer Simpson syndrome - keep making the same mistakes over and over.
Time to GTFO, I say. Exit Stage Left.
Harry Venison 5
Amen to that, there would never have been a 'Good' time to leave. Sometimes you just have to rip off the band-aid, it sucks but that's how you do it.
Neil Klapthor 0
Four presidents didn't create the disaster that is currently occurring. As CinC, this is Biden's alone.
rbt schaffer 2
The mission was go in and get the 911 TERRRRRISTS if I remember correctly... 'Mission Accompished' by GWB on Jun 5 2003
Harry Venison 1
Nope, Bush got us into the mess. Your platinum blonde 300lb orange Jesus set it in motion when he invited the Taliban to Camp David. He knew exactly what he was doing. And, he would of done this same move, except he Lost a legitimate election, thank the Almighty above.
s s 2
But were they all vaxxed? Sounds like a "super spreader" event but that's ok because we never want to conflate news stories - too confusing for the average 'one-crisis-at-a-time' viewer...
There are not enough eye roll GIF's for this comment.
srobak -1
you could really fold their brains by mentioning the influx at the southern border :)
darjr26 2
I hear Spirit is already looking for used C-17s.
srobak 1
thankfully they are sent to AMARC and not made available for private sale.
Does this number include the ones that were H.O.F.D.L. ?
Po Lau 1
Where is the closest (distance) allied airport from Kabul that we can refuel and drop off pax?
mbrews 5
- It can't be labeled an allied airport; but Islamabad, Pakistan ISB / OPIS is quite close to Kabul.

A flight tracking site (not Flightaware) shows a Pakistan airways B777 operated flight 6249 from Islamabad to Kabul this evening, 18 August. Before the events of recent days, Pakistan airways commonly operated a flight number PIA249 on that route.
Peter Fuller 4
For military aircraft that can be refueled in flight, a nearby friendly airport is not necessary. Apparently the USAF has established a tanker bridge in the area:
Mark Waring 1
And how many restrooms on board ?
srobak 2
Tom Guerriero 1
Too many easily impressed commenters.
What I cannot imagine is in the actual situation how can they store fuel for the planes? How do they transport and store fuel to/in the airport to refill planes for flights out of Kabul?
srobak 4
They can't. All inbound flights were instructed on the TFR to come with enough fuel to get out, as ground fuel services were not available. I am sure by now that has been fixed somewhat.
George Pepe 1
George Pepe 1
(Max takeoff weight)
Pecos Llama 1
00 people isn't very many.
paulmee55 2
Cleffer 2
Great site for that kind of information.
evacuation from Kabul, very sorry for the people, but democracy must take by people and non exported by any one
Peter Connor 0
Remember when those poor people were jumping out of the World Trade Center?

Here's similar event in a video from al jazeera after the aircraft took off from Kabul
Robert Lewis 0
Interesting. I looked at the "same" video many times on TV but did not see the people falling from the plane. Must have been edited by our media.
Tim Dyck 1
They showed it on the news up here in Canada. But our media is always quick to try to make our southern neighbours look bad. Most Canadians love and respect our neighbours but sadly the media and political elites would rather piss on the country that is our best ally and trading partner in the world. Someday we might have fair elections and throw the political elites out but how can we get rid of the media?
srobak 1
al jazeera definitely is not our media. our media simply stopped the video.
That has to be a record of some sort: at least for the number of standees on a single flight.
srobak 1
The old record was 640some during the 2013 evac from the typhoon in the philippines. and in both cases - nobody was standing. that would be very dumb.
Mark Kanzler -4
Biden dereliction of duty.
They already set the low bar for impeachment criteria...
Jaime Terrassa -6
i hope that once they all leave the plane gets clean well
Bob Horgan 0
What happened to The C5A,s. Dont hear much about them anymore. Not to mention the absence of Antonov,s
srobak 1
C5s are relaying troops and equipment to/from nearby transfer airfields where the 17s are landing. Russia is not involved - hence no AN-124s (which are roughly the same size as C-5s)
Heatseekerws6 1
Compared to the C-17, the C5 doesn't have the tactical takeoff/landing capeability to help it's chances of survivability if attacked during those critacal times.


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