Yesterday , Wed 24 Sept '14 @ approx 1415 hours , I was observing a C-17 on West approach to Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst (N.J.) , which is approx 20 miles SSE of my local . Ceiling was about 7k feet AGL (the aircraft @ about 6k AGL) with largely overcast skies . As per my norm , I marveled at the beauty of the big bird . Originally flying straight and level @ about 275 kts , my jaw dropped when I saw the C-17 abruptly pitch up (about 30 degrees) and wing over into a sharp right bank to the South . Roughly ten seconds later I heard the mighty increasing “whine” of the engines and almost simultaneously heard the reverberating roar of its magnificent engines . The whole episode was , at once , awe inspiring and completely captivating . Although I observed no other traffic in the area , it’s entirely possible that a small civilian aircraft could have been “hiding” in the cloud layer . Also , a break in the clouds did afford a peak @ a large civilian aircraft (A340 ?) which was flying at much greater altitude (about 15k feet) a great distance to the South of the Globemaster .
Statement : I’m a 66 year old lifelong aerophile (never piloted an aircraft) . I’m far from “expert” on the topic , and I’m obsessively honest & have never been a wise a** . My hobbies include collecting WW2 signed (Allied & Axis) aircraft prints . (Also , and I’m not even touching the political , but , as opinion , our pilots and aircrew are the best in the world !)
Questions : ( 1 ) Can a C-17 actually execute such a sharp pitch-up ? (If not , I had my first post '60s flashback !)
( 2 ) Is there any way by which I could get an “official” reason for the maneuver ?
Sincerely Thankful , Walt Martin (Columbus , N.J.)