The final Boeing C-17 Globemaster III military airlifter made at the company’s Long Beach assembly plant is scheduled to depart at noon Sunday.
The takeoff from Long Beach Airport, adjacent to the soon-to-be- abandoned production facility at 2401 E. Wardlow Road, closes a chapter for Southern California’s once thriving aircraft and aerospace industries.
Boeing produced the C-17 — a military transport jet capable of carrying 82 tons — for more than 20 years in Long Beach before announcing in September 2013 that the program would end after the U.S. Air Force stopped buying the aircraft and international orders slowed to a crawl.
This final flight will include a commemorative “fly over” of the Long Beach facility, where nearly 280 C-17s were assembled, before heading to San Antonio, Boeing officials said.
The military transport plane will be housed in San Antonio until it is delivered to the Persian Gulf city of Qatar, company officials said.
Those interested can follow the flight, and pay tribute to the C-17 program, using the Twitter hashtag #C17FlyBye.
An estimated 2,200 people who worked at the Long Beach facility will lose their jobs, although many have retired or transferred to other positions with Boeing, according to the Long Beach Press-Telegram.
The 25-acre plant is expected to close by the end of the year.
— From Staff and Wire Reports