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C-5 Uses Every Inch Of Runway for a Spectacularly Dusty Takeoff

In the C-5, no takeoff is uneventful.  Those jurassic TF-39 turbofans suck every ounce of air into their engines to power the massive 700,000 beast forward.  No where is this miracle of late ’60s technology more evident than this takeoff from an austere field at Ilopango International Airport in El Salvador.  The C-5 crew gnat’s assed their TOLD (Takeoff and landing data), set the power to max and made one spectacular takeoff from the dusty, third-world strip.

The C5 Galaxy is a large, four engine, military transport aircraft, manufactured by Lockheed. The landing gear of the C5 has sixteen wheels at the back and four at the front. With its heavy strategic lift capability, it proudly serves the United States Air Force (USAF), carrying oversized loads. The C-5 Galaxy is among the largest military aircraft in the world.

The C5 Galaxy embarked on its maiden voyage on June 30th of 1968. The USAF has been operating the C-5 Galaxy since 1969. The C-5 Galaxy has supported military operations in major conflicts in Viet Nam, Yugoslavia, Iraq, and Afghanistan, as well as in the Gulf War. The C-5 Galaxy has also been used for bringing relief aid to devastated communities.

Lockheed suffered significant financial problems in developing the C-5 Galaxy. Soon after entering service, cracks in the wing were noticed on several units, so the whole C-5 Galaxy fleet was restricted until the problem could be solved.

In total, 131of this type of aircraft have been built. As of 2016, the per unit cost of a C-5 Galaxy is between 100 million and 262 million USD, depending on the model. The C-5 Galaxy is still in service today but the fleet is slowly being ‘right sized’ to less than 60.  The remaining C-5s in service are undergoing conversion to the C-5M. The C-5M Super Galaxy is an upgraded version of the C-5 Galaxy, with all new engines and modernized avionic systems, which are designed to extend the service life of the C-5 beyond 2040.

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