Stillwater says Air Force charter aircraft damaged runway

Air Force women's basketball plays San Jose State on Feb. 23, 2022.
Air Force women's basketball plays San Jose State on Feb. 23, 2022.(United States Air Force Academy)
Published: Dec. 22, 2022 at 3:31 PM MST
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STILLWATER, Okla. (AP) — A military cargo aircraft carrying the U.S. Air Force Academy women’s basketball team to a game at Oklahoma State University landed without authorization at the city’s airport and caused damage to its runway, city officials in Stillwater, Oklahoma, said Thursday.

In a news release, the city said the C-17 Globemaster aircraft, which is 45 tons heavier than the airport runway’s maximum weight capacity, was chartering the team and landed at the airport Sunday.

“Airport staff have temporarily patched surface damage to the runway and taxiways but must have the sub-surface assessed for potential long-term damage,” the news release states.

City officials say all charter flights are required to receive permission prior to using the airport, but that in this case, prior approval was neither requested nor granted.

U.S. Air Force Academy officials did not immediately comment on the incident.

Stillwater officials say in October, the U.S. Air Force Academy baseball team requested to land at the airport with the same type of aircraft but were denied due to weight limits.

Stillwater spokesperson Dawn Jones says airport officials have asked the Federal Aviation Administration to open an investigation into the incident. Messages left Thursday with the FAA were not immediately returned.