How much can you lift? The Mighty C-5M Super Galaxy
The C-5 Galaxy has been around a long time now. But that’s no reason not to celebrate it’s insane airlift capabilities! They’re just as amazing and relevant today as they were during the ramp-up of the Cold War. Below we’ll take a look at some of the amazing specs, crazy photos, and some great first-hand accounts of flying the largest plane in the US Air Force.
Just how big is the C-5?
The C-5 Galaxy isn’t the largest plane flying in the sky today. But no other fleet of aircraft in the world can match the over-size cargo airlift ability of the US Air Force’s C-5 aircraft. Whenever a situation calls on it, the US Air Force C-5s can move massive cargo thousands of miles at very fast speeds. That ability can be invaluable in certain geo-political situations, including disaster relief efforts.
They are often used to transport cargo like tanks, helicopters, and weapons systems for fast-response of US military assets nearly anywhere in the world. One of the largest helicopters flown by the US military is the CH-53 Stallion. That helicopter is large enough to transport up to 38 troops, and the C-5 can still carry it! Attack helicopters also are commonly transported by the C-5, getting Marine and Army air power into the area quickly.
In one C-5 pilot’s experience, the hardest part of flying the largest plane in the US Military is actually taxiing it to and from the runway. “With its wide body and large wingspan it’s challenging. You can see the wing tips from the cockpit, but you can’t determine exactly where they are, so you have to utilize clock positions on the outboard engines to figure out where the wingtip is and how far away from an obstacle it is.” In the sky it’s a lot like other planes, but on the ground its size can make it a whole different beast.
After decades of Airlift service in the Air Force, the Pentagon sought an upgrade to the aircraft. The C-5M Super Galaxy upgrades include a new set of engines, enabling greater range and fuel economy, cockpit avionics upgrades, and airframe restoration. These upgrades are sure to see Air Force Galaxies flying for many more decades to come.