Air Force Science Fiction?
The tagline on the new Air Force ad, “It’s not science fiction. It’s what we do every day.” Danger Room’s Spencer Ackerman, say what?
[T]he C-17s swoop over a breaking bridge to evacuate some poor souls in the middle of an emergency. So far, so good. But then the C-17 engines rotate into a vertical position. (Nope.) The behemoth of a plane — which is 174 feet long and can weigh up to 585,000 lbs. — lands on the bridge without collapsing it further. (Would never happen.) And when the C-17’s aircrew loads up the wounded and flies off the bridge, the plane physically transforms into a different aircraft. (Um, what?)
I called up the Air Force Recruiting Service to find out how this could possibly not be science fiction. If there’s a squadron out there flying Autobot C-17s, then I must embed with it. Noah Shachtman would fire me if I somehow missed that story.
“This one was definitely more cinematic in the beginning,” concedes Christa D’Andrea, public affairs chief for the Air Force recruitment arm. “It’s a very cinematic, sci-fi sort of campaign.”
I’ll grant them that it’s not science fiction. Ackerman quotes D’Andrea that “the point of the commercial isn’t the transforming C-17 that can fit on a bridge. It’s the aerial medevac missions. And yes, the Air Force performs those with frequency.”
Ok. But those planes — and there are a lot of them — fly into a crumbling, hollowed out megalopolis devoid of people. Whether a result of war or climate or other natural disaster, the vision is of a dystopian future that I’d rather the Air Force do what it can to prevent than depict as an aspirational vision.
But, hey, I’m an old peacenik. Not the target demographic.