Something you don’t see too often: a giant U.S. Air Force C-17 Globemaster III cargo aircraft flying through the famous Star Wars Canyon.
The following footage was shot by The Aviationist’s contributor Eric Bowen.
Along with some pretty common Super Hornets, it shows a Thunderbirds dual seater F-16 (with smoke) and, above all, a C-17 Globemaster III airlifter, using radio callsign “Slam 19” flying at low altitude through the famous Rainbow Canyon, located adjacent to Death Valley.
The flight through the canyon out into the expanse of Death Valley is referred to as the “Jedi Transition” (and the canyon itself is also dubbed “Star Wars Canyon”) and the location from where Eric filmed the aircraft has become very popular with photographers from around the world: even though not as popular as the Mach Loop in the UK, the canyon is one of the few locations in the U.S. where photographers can catch military fighters training at low level.
The frequency of the passes can vary but usually 4 to 8 combat planes fly through the “Star Wars Canyon” on any given day: rarely you will have a chance to see a C-17 performing three passes there, as happened to Eric, though!
Image credit: Eric Bowen
The first time I ever saw a C-17 was at the Air Force base in Altus, Oklahoma. I was stunned and amazed as to how awesome they looked. Next to a 747, Il-76 and an A380, I’ve never seen a large bird like that up close.