The United States Air force's new giant C-5 transport aircraft recently underwent load testing at the Fort Bragg Army base in North Carolina.
The United States Air force's new giant C-5 transport aircraft recently underwent load testing at the Fort Bragg Army base in North Carolina. The Aircraft, claimed by the manufacturers, the Lockheed Georgia Company, to be the largest transport in the world, is characterised by its drive-through loading capability.
The C-5's landing gear includes screwjacks that lower the cargo compartment floor; ramps come down from the cargo compartment like draw-bridges and even the heaviest tracked vehicles can drive into position aboard the aircraft.
The C-5, with a cargo compartment of 121 feet (about 37 metres) long and 19 feet (about 6 metres) wide, can take loads of up to some 40 tons. A major feature of the aircraft is the massive nose which swings up the allow access into the cargo hold from the front of the aircraft. When the transport has landed at its destination, vehicles can drive right off -- from the front.
During the recent tests, trucks, tanks and even a scissor bridge were driven aboard. The scissor bridge, built from a heavy tank, unfolds to form a bridge 40 feet (about 13 metres), long. After test crews checked the total weight and the centre of gravity, the vehicles drove off the aircraft again by away of the nose.
During operational flights, the crews of the vehicles will fly along with their equipment in a 75-seat compartment on the upper deck.
According to Lockheed, a basic purpose of the aircraft is to provide for the Army's "remote presence" role whereby large amounts of material can be flown to distant points in house, ready for immediate use.