Fact Check: Plane In Video Is NOT Inflatable Prop -- It's A Real US C-17 Globemaster

Fact Check

  • by: Ed Payne

STORY UPDATED: check for updates below.

Fact Check: Plane In Video Is NOT Inflatable Prop -- It's A Real US C-17 Globemaster 'Nonsense'

Does a well-known video of the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan in 2021, now on social media, show an inflatable prop rather than a real military plane? No, that's not true: There's no credible evidence to suggest that the scores of people in the clip were running alongside and hanging onto a blow-up version of the massive cargo jet. Additionally, in the original version of the clip, the video shows the plane taking off.

The claim appeared in a video (archived here) published by thedoctorregenerated to TikTok on October 7, 2023. The video's caption said:

Replying to @Rad8tion1972 The world is indeed a stage. With fake news, fake history, and fake actors to tell us what to think. They keep us in low vibrations and blissful ignorance much easier to control that way. #questioneverything #historyreset #oldworld #hiddeninplainsight #truthwillprevail #history #giant #greenscreenvideo #greenscreen

This is what the post looked like on TikTok at the time of writing:

Military plane TIKTOK.png

(Source: TikTok screenshot taken on Fri Oct 13 15:26:01 2023 UTC)

The video

In the 94-second video on TikTok, the narrator lays out his case that the military plane is fake. In part, he said:

Did you see it? Blacked-out windows. Blacked-out engines.

His point is that a "real" military plane would have windows you could see through. You can watch the video and listen to his explanation here:

@thedoctorregenerated Replying to @Rad8tion1972 The world is indeed a stage. With fake news, fake history, and fake actors to tell us what to think. They keep us in low vibrations and blissful ignorance much easier to control that way. #questioneverything #historyreset #oldworld #hiddeninplainsight #truthwillprevail #history #giant #greenscreenvideo #greenscreen ♬ Suspense, horror, piano and music box - takaya


Karl Mueller, a senior political scientist and military aircraft expert at the RAND Corporation, told Lead Stories in an October 13, 2023, email that "The TikTok is nonsense." He continued:

It's a real video, the version in this TokTok clip is very low quality. A better version of it here clearly shows it is a real plane: (e.g., windows are not opaque).

The background

The clip in the TikTok post shows one of the seminal scenes from the chaotic final days of the U.S. military's withdrawal from Afghanistan. An Associated Press story published on August 16, 2021, described it this way:

KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) -- In video footage that could become some of the defining images of the fall of Kabul, Afghans desperate to escape the Taliban takeover clung to the side of a departing U.S. military jet as it rolled down the tarmac Monday. Some of them apparently fell to their death as the aircraft gained altitude.

Scores of people ran alongside the giant U.S. Air Force plane at the Kabul airport, and some managed to get a foothold before it took off.

U.S. authorities said that all told, at least seven people died during the chaotic evacuation at the airport, including several who fell from a military jet.

The crew of the C-17 were later cleared of wrongdoing in the deaths of the Afghans who fell from the plane, the Air Force Times reported.

An AP video published on YouTube the same day shows the drama that played out at the airport in Kabul:

Portions of the same video were also shared on NBC News, CNN and ABC News among others.

In a story published on August 17, 2021, Reuters reported that the U.S. military had deployed the giant cargo jet to Afghanistan. The story said:

In a statement, the Air Force said that a C-17 aircraft landed at Kabul's airport on Monday [August 16, 2021] and was surrounded by hundreds of Afghan civilians.

'Faced with a rapidly deteriorating security situation around the aircraft, the C-17 crew decided to depart the airfield as quickly as possible,' the statement said.

U.S. Air Force

The U.S. Air Force responded to a Lead Stories query about the claim of an inflatable plane in the video in an October 16, 2023, email. Master Sgt. Deana M. Heitzman said:

I can confirm that the C-17 Globemaster III is real and assigned to the 62nd Airlift Wing at Joint Base Lewis-McChord in Washington.


  • 2023-10-16T21:00:11Z 2023-10-16T21:00:11Z
    Adds a response from the U.S. Air Force.

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  Ed Payne

Ed Payne is a staff writer at Lead Stories. He is an Emmy Award-winning journalist as part of CNN’s coverage of 9/11. Ed worked at CNN for nearly 24 years with the CNN Radio Network and CNN Digital. Most recently, he was a Digital Senior Producer for Gray Television’s Digital Content Center, the company’s digital news hub for 100+ TV stations. Ed also worked as a writer and editor for WebMD. In addition to his journalistic endeavors, Ed is the author of two children’s book series: “The Daily Rounds of a Hound” and “Vail’s Tales.” 

Read more about or contact Ed Payne

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