Tag Archives: Lockheed C-5A Galaxy

30 June 1968

The prototype Lockheed C-5A Galaxy, 66-8303, at Marietta, Georgia, 30 June 1968. © Bettmann/CORBIS
The prototype Lockheed C-5A Galaxy, 66-8303, at Marietta, Georgia, 30 June 1968.  (Bettmann/CORBIS)

30 June 1968: At Marietta, Georgia, the first Lockheed C-5A Galaxy transport, serial number 66-8303, took off on its maiden flight with  Chief Engineering Test Pilot Leo J. Sullivan and test pilot Walter E. Hensleigh, flight engineer Jerome H. Edwards, and E. Mittendorf, flight test engineer. U.S. Air Force test pilot Lieutenant Colonel Joseph S. Schiele was also on board.

The C-5A weighed 497,000 pounds (225,435 kilograms) at takeoff. After a 3,800 foot (1,158 meters) takeoff roll, it lifted off at 123 knots (142 miles per hour/228 kilometers per hour). It remained in takeoff configuration while it climbed to 10,000 feet (3,048 meters) at 140 knots (161 miles per hour/259 kilometers per hour). The flight lasted 1 hour, 34 minutes. On landing, the Galaxy’s touchdown speed was 116 knots (133 miles per hour/215 kilometers per hour)

Lockheed C-5A Galaxy during its first flight. (Code One Magazine/Lockheed Martin)
Lockheed C-5A Galaxy 66-8303 during its first flight. (Code One Magazine)

The Lockheed C-5A Galaxy (Lockheed Model L-500) is a long-range, heavy lift military transport with high, “shoulder-mounted” wings and a “T-tail.” It has a flight crew of two pilots, two flight engineers and three loadmasters. The airplane’s cargo compartment can be accessed by a ramp at the rear of the fuselage, and the nose can be raised to allow cargo to be loaded from the front. The wings’ leading edges are swept to 25°.  Four turbofan engines are mounted on pylons beneath the wings. The landing gear has 28 wheels in five units, and can “kneel” to bring the cargo deck closer to the ground for loading and unloading.

The C-5 is a truly giant aircraft. It is 247 feet, 1 inch (75.311 meters) long with a wingspan of 222 feet, 9 inches (67.894 meters) and overall height of 65 feet, 1 inch (19.837 meters). The cargo compartment has a height of 13 feet, 6 inches (4.115 meters) and width of 19 feet (5.791 meters). It is 143 feet, 9 inches (43.825 meters) long. The C-5A has a maximum takeoff weight of 840,000 pounds (381,018 kilograms) and a maximum cargo weight of 270,000 pounds (122,470 kilograms).

A McDonnell Douglas KC-10 Extender refuels a Lockheed C-5A Galaxy. (U.S. Air Force)
A McDonnell Douglas KC-10 Extender refuels a Lockheed C-5A Galaxy. (U.S. Air Force)

The C-5A, C-5B and C-5C are powered by four General Electric TF-39 high-bypass turbofan engines, rated at 43,000 pounds of thrust, each. The C-5M uses four General Electric F138 engines rated at 51,250 pounds of thrust, each.

The Galaxy has a cruise speed of 0.77 Mach and maximum speed of 0.79 Mach. Its service ceiling is 35,700 feet (10,881 meters) and its unrefueled range is 2,400 nautical miles (3,862 kilometers).

Lockheed produced 81 C-5A Galaxy transports for the U.S. Air Force between 1969 and 1973. These were followed by 50 C-5Bs. Two C-5As were modified to C-5Cs to carry larger “space cargo.” Remaining C-5s in the fleet are being modified to an improved C-5M Super Galaxy variant.

The first prototype C-5A, 66-8303, was destroyed by and explosion and fire after being defueled at Dobbins Air Force Base, 17 October 1970. One person was killed.

An M1 Abrams Main Battle Tank on the forward cargo ramp of a Lockheed C-5 Galaxy. The transports nose has been raised to provided loading access from the front of the airplane. (U.S. Air Force)
An M1A1 Abrams Main Battle Tank being loaded on the forward cargo ramp of a Lockheed C-5M Super Galaxy. The transport’s nose has been raised to provide loading access from the front of the airplane. The tank weighs 139,081 pounds (63,086 kilograms). (Roland Balik/U.S. Air Force)

© 2016, Bryan R. Swopes

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather

15 June 1969

Lockheed C-5A Galaxy 66-8304, the second one built, during a test flight near Edwards AFB. (U.S. Air Force)

15 June 1969: At Edwards Air Force Base, California, the second Lockheed C-5A Galaxy transport, 66-8304, set several records, including the heaviest takeoff weight, 762,800 pounds (346,000 kilograms), and the heaviest landing weight, 600,000 pounds (272,155 kilograms).

Lockheed C-5A Galaxy 66-8304 arrived at The Boneyard, 2004. It was the fifth C-5 to be retired. (Phillip Michaels via AMARC)
Lockheed C-5A Galaxy 66-8304 arrived at The Boneyard, 2004. It was the fifth C-5 to be retired. (Phillip Michaels/AMARC)
Lockheed C-5A Galaxy 66-8304 in teh reclamation area at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Tucson, Arizona. (Phillip Michaels/AMARC)
Lockheed C-5A Galaxy 66-8304 in the reclamation area at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Tucson, Arizona. (Phillip Michaels/AMARC)

© 2015, Bryan R. Swopes

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather

4 April 1975

Lockheed C-5A Galaxy 68-0218 lifts off from Tan Son Nhut Air Base, South Vietnam, 4 April 1975. (CORBIS)
Lockheed C-5A Galaxy 68-0218 lifts off from Tan Son Nhut Air Base, South Vietnam, 4:00 p.m., Friday, 4 April 1975. (CORBIS)

4 April 1975: Operation Babylift. As the end of the Vietnam War approached, it was decided to evacuate 2,000 orphans, most in the care of an American hospital in Saigon, Republic of South Vietnam, and to take them to safety within the United States. The first flight was aboard a U.S. Air Force Lockheed C-5A Galaxy heavy lift transport, serial number 68-0218, piloted by Captains Dennis W. Traynor III and Tilford Harp.

A medical team from Clark Air Base, The Philippines, commanded by First Lieutenant Regina C. Aune, Nurse Corps, United States Air Force, was aboard when the huge transport plane landed at Tan Son Nhut Air Base in Saigon. When it was discovered that there would be about 250 orphans aboard, many of them sick or injured, another medical team from a C-141 Starlifter volunteered to accompany Lieutenant Aune’s team for the outbound flight.

When the Galaxy took off from Saigon at 4:00 p.m., there were 328 people aboard, including flight crew, medical teams, orphans and their escorts, as well as other U.S. personnel.

The C-5A quickly climbed to 23,000 feet (7,010 meters). Just a few minutes after takeoff, the locks of the rear loading ramp failed. Explosive decompression hurled people and equipment throughout the airplane which instantly filled with fog. Lieutenant Aune was thrown the entire length of the upper deck. The airplane was severely damaged with two hydraulic systems inoperative and many flight control cables severed.

The pilots could only control the airplane with engine thrust. They began an emergency descent and turned back to Tan Son Nhut.

Unable to maintain flight, at about 4:45 p.m., the Galaxy touched down in a rice paddy two miles short of the runway at 270 knots (500 kilometers per hour). It slid for a quarter mile, became airborne for another half mile, then touched down and slid until it hit a raised dike and broke into four sections. 138 people were killed in the crash.

Colonel Regina C. Aune, USAF NC (U.S. Air Force)
Colonel Regina C. Aune, NC USAF (U.S. Air Force)

Although herself seriously injured, Lieutenant Aune began evacuating the children. When rescue helicopters arrived, they were unable to land close to the wrecked transport, so the children had to be carried.

After she had helped to carry about eighty babies, Regina Aune was unable to continue. She asked the first officer she saw to be relieved of her duties and then passed out. At a hospital it was found that she had a broken foot, broken leg and broken vertebra in her back, as well as numerous other injuries.

Regina Aune became the first woman to be awarded the Cheney Award by the Air Force, which was established in 1927 and is awarded “to an airman for an act of valor, extreme fortitude or self-sacrifice in a humanitarian interest, performed in connection with aircraft, but not necessarily of a military nature.

Captain Mary T. Klinker, NC USAF. (St. Elizabeth's School of Nursing)
Miss Mary Therese Klinker. (St. Elizabeth’s School of Nursing)

11 members of the crew of the Galaxy were among the dead, including Captain Mary Therese Klinker, Nurse Corps, United States Air Force.

Mary Therese Klinker was born at Lafayette, Indiana, 3 October 1947. She was the daughter of Paul Edward Klinker and Thelma Mary Deane Klinker. She attended Central Catholic High School in Lafayette, graduating in 1965. She then enrolled at St. Elizabeth’s School of Nursing, also in Lafayette. She graduated as a Registered Nurse, May 1968. On graduation, Miss Klinker worked for St. Elizabeth’s.

Miss Klinker joined the United States Air Force, 9 January 1970, and was commissioned as a lieutenant in the Nurse Corps. She qualified as a flight nurse and was promoted to the rank of captain. In 1974, Captain Klinker was assigned to the 10th Aeromedical Evacuation Squadron, Travis Air Force Base, Fairfield, California.

Captain Mary Therese Klinker, Nurse Corps, United States Air Force, 10th Aeromedical Evacuation Squadron, was the last United States service woman to die in the Vietnam War. Captain Klinker was posthumously awarded the Airman’s Medal and the Meritorious Service Medal. She is buried at St. Boniface Cemetery in her home town of Lafayette, Indiana.

Captain Mary T. Clinker, Nurse Corps, United States Air Force.

The pilots, Captain Dennis W. Traynor III and Captain Tilford W. Harp, were both awarded the Air Force Cross for what General Paul Carlton, Commander, Military Airlift Command, called “one of the greatest displays of airmanship I have ever heard related.”

Capt. Bud Traynor was piloting the C-5A Galaxy that crashed in 1975 in Saigon as part of Operation Babylif
Captain Dennis W. Traynor III, United States Air Force

AIR FORCE CROSS

CAPTAIN DENNIS W. TRAYNOR III

Action Date: 3-Apr-75

Service: Air Force

Rank: Captain

Company: 22d Airlift Squadron

Division: Clark Air Base, Philippine Islands

Air Force Cross
Air Force Cross

The President of the United States of America, authorized by Title 10, Section 8742, United States Code, takes pleasure in presenting the Air Force Cross to Captain Dennis W. Traynor, III, United States Air Force, for extraordinary heroism and airmanship while engaged in a humanitarian mission as Aircraft Commander of an Air Force C-5A aircraft of the 22d Airlift Squadron, Clark Air Base, Philippine Islands, in action at Saigon, Vietnam on 3 April 1975. On that date, the aircraft, carrying 330 passengers and crew, experienced a serious in-flight emergency which could have resulted in the loss of life for all aboard. With no aircraft controls except one aileron and the engines, Captain Traynor guided the crippled aircraft to a crash landing in a rice paddy, thereby saving the lives of 176 of the people on board. Through his extraordinary heroism, superb airmanship, and aggressiveness, Captain Traynor reflected the highest credit upon himself and the United States Air Force.

AIR FORCE CROSS

CAPTAIN TILFORD W. HARP

Action Date: 3-Apr-75

Service: Air Force

Rank: Captain

Company: 22d Airlift Squadron

Division: Clark Air Base, Philippine Islands

Air Force Cross
Air Force Cross

The President of the United States of America, authorized by Title 10, Section 8742, United States Code, takes pleasure in presenting the Air Force Cross to Captain Tilford W. Harp, United States Air Force, for extraordinary heroism and airmanship while engaged in a humanitarian mission as Co-Pilot of an Air Force C-5A aircraft of the 22d Airlift Squadron, Clark Air Base, Philippine Islands, in action at Saigon, Vietnam, on 3 April 1975. On that date, his aircraft, carrying 330 passengers and crew, experienced a serious in-flight emergency which could have resulted in the loss of life for all aboard. With no aircraft controls except one aileron and the engines, Captain Harp provided exceptionally vital assistance to the Aircraft Commander in guiding the crippled aircraft to a crash landing in a rice paddy, thereby saving the lives of 176 of the people on board. Through his extraordinary heroism, superb airmanship, and aggressiveness, Captain Harp reflected the highest credit upon himself and the United States Air Force.

Crash site of Operation Babylift's Lockheed C-5A Galaxy, 68-0218, near Tan Son Nhut Air Base, South Vietnam, 4 April 1975. (U.S. Air Force)
Crash site of Operation Babylift’s Lockheed C-5A Galaxy, 68-0218, near Tan Son Nhut Air Base, South Vietnam, 4 April 1975. (U.S. Air Force)

© 2017, Bryan R. Swopes

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather

17 December 1984

Lockheed C-5A Galaxy (U.S. Air Force)
Lockheed C-5A Galaxy (U.S. Air Force)

17 December 1984: At Dobbins Air Force Base, Georgia, Jesse Thomas Allen set a Fédération Aéronautique Internationale (FAI) World Record for the Greatest Payload Carried to a Height of 2,000 Meters (6,562 feet), lifting 111,461.57 kilograms (245,730.70 pounds) aboard a Lockheed C-5A Galaxy. (FAI Record File Number 8901.)

During the same flight, Allen established a National Aeronautic Association United States National Record for the Greatest Recorded Weight at Which Any Airplane Has Ever Flown of 920,836 pounds (417,684 kilograms), after the Galaxy had refueled in flight.

The U.S. record remains current.

Screen Shot 2016-06-15 at 12.29.51

© 2016, Bryan R. Swopes

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather