On Feb 26, inside Boeing’s Long Beach manufacturing facility, C-17 employees pieced together the nose, center fuselage, wings, and tail for the last time. Plane 279 marks the final, “major join,” of the C-17, and will be the final plane to come off the assembly line.
The major join begins early in the morning by towing the four massive pieces to a central location. Crane operators and teams slowly lift and place the pieces in a giant fixture. Then bring them together like a giant jigsaw puzzle.
It’s a bittersweet end for the employees. Some began working on plane number one when the plant first opened. They’re all proud to know their work will live on for decades continuing to support troops and humanitarian efforts around the world. Check out the video to see the last C-17 come together. There are also two great flickr photo albums. One covers the major join and the other is the C-17 in action over the years.