Stillwater News

Stillwater Regional Airport Airfield Damaged Due to Unauthorized Military Aircraft Landing

Released:Dec 21, 2022

(Stillwater, OK) — Stillwater Regional Airport remains safe and operational after sustaining significant airfield damage due to an unauthorized military aircraft operation on Sunday, Dec. 13. Airport staff have temporarily patched surface damage to the runway and taxiways but must have the sub-surface assessed for potential long-term damage.

A U.S. Air Force C17 Globe Master aircraft landed around noon on Sunday, chartering the U.S. Air Force Women’s Basketball Team to the game against Oklahoma State University. Charter flights are required to receive permission prior to using the airport to ensure safety equipment, such as the Aircraft Rescue and Fire Fighting (ARFF) services, are in place as well as to make sure the airport can accommodate all needs. In this case, this prior approval was neither requested nor granted by airport administration.

Stillwater’s published runway maximum weight capacity is 310,000 pounds for dual tandem aircraft and the C-17 that landed is approximately 400,000 pounds (45 tons over weight limit). Because of the extreme excess weight, engineers are determining the best method for assessing damage to the structural integrity of the runway and taxiway.

Because the airfield pavement consists of multiple levels, potential damage can be feet beneath the surface and not be evident at the surface for years. Tools like ground-penetrating radar may need to be deployed to gain a better understanding of what lies beneath the surface.

In October, the U.S. Air Force Baseball Team requested to land at the airport with the same aircraft type and was denied due to weight limits. The airport maintains published runway data available to all pilots that clearly requires prior approval for charters and lists the maximum allowable weight for each runway. At this time, it is unknown why the pilot decided to land at SWO.

Stillwater Regional Airport Director Paul Priegel and City Administration are in communications with U.S. Air Force and have also requested the Federal Aviation Administration open an investigation into this incident.

More information will be provided as available, this situation is on-going.

Damage to East Side of 17 Photo

737-900 Photo
C-17 Photo

Attached pictures include the aircrafts and an example of the concrete damage. The 737-900 represents the largest aircraft that lands at Stillwater Regional Airport. The C-17 is from Saturday, and is much wider, longer, and heavier.

For inquiries, contact Dawn Jones, PIO, Communications Department at (405) 742-8214 or email


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