• Short Summary

    When the United States Air Force/Lockheed C-5 Galaxy was in the planning stage, it was envisioned as an airplane able to airlift virtually any piece of equipment in the Army inventory.

  • Description

    When the United States Air Force/Lockheed C-5 Galaxy was in the planning stage, it was envisioned as an airplane able to airlift virtually any piece of equipment in the Army inventory.

    Further, the airplanes as planned would be able to operate from short, unimproved runways and would be capable of quick turnaround.

    Among other things, it would have advanced navigation systems, an all-weather landing system and a terrain following system.

    With the airplane flying the world-wide routes of the Military Airlift Command, it is timely to review just how well this world's largest aircraft is fulfilling the projections of is Army and Air, Force planners.

    The Galaxy, in service, is airlifting equipment so heavy and so bulky that it never before could be flown.

    A United States Army main battle tank, the M-60, weighing in at 105,000 pounds, is an example. The C-5 transport two of them---and their crews.

    Another giant device the C-5 can airlift is the Army's 122,000-pound bridge launcher.

    And the C-5 has been routinely flying loads consisting of three of the Army's largest helicopters, CH-47 Chinooks. Airlifting them to Vietnam, the aircraft then flies back to the United States with three others in need of repairs.

    Utilizing an air-transportable loading dock, which may be airlifted by the C-5 to forward areas, palletized loads move out of the airplane at a rate of 36 pallets in 15 minutes.

    The Galaxy was designed to land and come to a full stop in a very sort distance. By way of demonstration, at the Paris Air Show the big airplane touched down at the end of the runway and stopped in just under 1200 feet!
    And its performance on take off was equally good.

    The Galaxy's landing gear give the airplane a wide range of unique capabilities.

    For instance, they Galaxy is able to land on non-standard runways, like this strip which is constructed of landing mats.

    And its unusual design permits this very large airplanes to operate into and out of dirt and sandy strips such as might be found at forward areas.

    And the Galaxy's gear also makes it possible for the airplane to make cross-wind landings.

    In this condition, with the gear aligned with the runway, the airplane is headed into the wind.

    And the capability of kneeling, which lowers the aircraft close to the ground, makes the Galaxy easier and faster to load and unload.

    This action may be performed selectively; that is, the front only, the rear only, or the entire aircraft---front and rear---may be kneeled.

    Every C-5 in the fleet can be refueled in flight from the existing tanker force of KC-135s.

    In test the C-5 exchanged roles and proved the feasibility of modifying the aircraft into a tanker, capable of refuelling B-52s.

    In the matter of flying characteristics, stability and response of flight controls have been found to be better than called for in specification.

    One of the Galaxy's most sophisticated systems for use n flight is the terrain following system. This device enables the C-5 to fly at low levels, under radar screens, on tactical support missions.

    When this system is activated, the aircraft automatically follows the contours of the land, maintaining a pre-set altitude, above the terrain such as it is doing over the North Georgia mountains.

    And when weather conditions obscure the runway another complex system can be brought into play to guide the giant aircraft to a perfect touchdown.

    This all weather landing system, as it is called, was checked out under various degrees of simulated poor visibility.

    It's "hands off all controls" for the pilot as the system unerringly guides the aircraft to an accurate and gentle landing on the runway.

    Another sophisticated device aboard the C-5 is the inertial navigation system, which received part of its check out where other more conventional systems have difficulty in the polar regions.

    During tests over the North Polo, the Galaxy navigator at all times know exactly where the airplanes was.

    Seasoned paratroops who jumped from the Galaxy during tests with the Army at Pope Air Force Base, North Carolina, rate the airplane as the best jump platform the Air Force has.

    And it more than passes muster in the sphere of equipment drops.

    The C-5 unofficially broke a world's record when heavy equipment drops were made with sequential loads weighing up to 160,000 pounds.

    Each drop consisted of four 40,000-pound loads, which is more than double the record of the C-141.

    A test flight of the 48th ship off the Marietta production line gives a preview of the smokeless engines with which all future Galaxy will be equipped.

    Newly-designed combustors, which make possible the virtual elimination of all visible smoke, will be retrofitted to C-5s already in service as engines are overhauled.

    Eighty-one of the big airplanes have been ordered, and over half of these have already been delivered.

    And they are flying to many places! In the United States, Galaxy are assigned to and are flying missions from such Air Force bases as...

    ...Altus in Oklahoma; Charleston, in South Carolina; Dover, in Delaware, and Travis, in California. And airports and military bases in many other parts of the country have seen the aircraft close up.

    And beyond our borders, Galaxy are proving themselves in daily routine and special missions stopping at Honolulu, Guan, the Philippines, Okinawa, Japan, Taiwan, Singapore, Vietnam, Thailand and Korea; and... England, France, Germany, Norway Spain and Greece Turkey. The airplane has flown to Alaska and over the North Pole, to Toronto, Canada, the Canal Zone and to Asuncion, Paraguay.

    In increasing numbers the Lockheed-Georgia Company continues to deliver to the United States Air Force additions to its proud fleet of the largest aircraft in the world---the C-5 Galaxy---to serve the needs of the American people in peace or in time of emergency.

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    Reuters - Source to be Verified
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