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New C-17 hangar open for business

Staff Sgt. Larry Price, 911th Maintenance Squadron crew chief, explores the new two-bay hangar at the Pittsburgh International Airport Air Reserve Station, Pennsylvania, May 28, 2020.

Staff Sgt. Larry Price, 911th Maintenance Squadron crew chief, explores the new two-bay hangar at the Pittsburgh International Airport Air Reserve Station, Pennsylvania, May 28, 2020. The two-bay hangar will allow Airmen to safely perform maintenance on C-17 Globemaster III aircraft away from weather that could potentially cause delays and damage. (U.S. Air Force photo by Joshua J. Seybert)

PITTSBURGH INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT AIR RESERVE STATION, Pa. --

The 911th Airlift Wing is scheduled to tow a C-17 Globemaster III into the new two-bay hangar for the first time Thursday, June 4, 2020 at 1:30 p.m.

Moving the wing’s aircraft into the new hangar symbolizes a major milestone in the ongoing aircraft conversion from the C-130 Hercules, a transition that has been underway for the past three years.

Construction crews and wing leadership broke ground for the two-bay hangar Nov. 17, 2017. Despite construction hurdles, delays, deployments, and a global pandemic, construction was completed and the hangar was transferred to 911th AW jurisdiction from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers May 28.

“This is a momentous step that provides space for heavy aircraft maintenance,” said Col. John F. Robinson, 911th AW commander. “Up to this point we have had to travel to complete required maintenance and inspections, going from California to South Carolina to West Virginia and back. Though we are grateful for the support other Air Force units have provided us throughout this process, I know our maintainers are happy to have a home for their work.”

The 911th AW was slated for closure in 2012 as part of the Base Realignment and Closure process. Thanks to significant community and legislative support, the base remained open and now houses Navy Operational Support Center – Pittsburgh, the USO of Western Pennsylvania, and several military and veteran support services.

Though the aircraft conversion is ongoing, Robinson projected the wing to be at full operational capability by February 2021. Some small construction projects are slated to continue past this date.

Due to COVID-19 restrictions and in the interest of protecting Americans, Airmen, and the local community, the wing is currently unable to hold a ribbon cutting ceremony as would traditionally be done for completion of such a large project. However, community leaders can expect to receive an invitation to the ribbon cutting once it is safe to do so.