If one’s got the ball to call itself Super, one should also has got to show something for it. That’s why eight aviators of the US Air Force’s 60th Air Mobility Wing from Travis AFB, California, went up on 3 April 2015 to just show what their upgraded Lockheed (Martin) C-5M Super Galaxy is all about.
During the flight of about an hour the strategic airlifter formerly known as “just” the Galaxy set up to 45 new aviation records for this C-1.T jet category of aircraft, according to a USAF statement expected to be confirmed by the USA’s National Aeronautic Association. They include altitude in horizontal flight, altitude with payload, time-to-climb, time-to-climb with payload and greatest payload to 9,000 metres (about 27,000 feet).
The C-5M was loaded with pallets, fuel and the aircrew for a total of 731,220 pounds, including the weight of the plane. “We took on approximately 265,000 pounds of cargo and our goal was to climb as fast as we could at 3,000, 6,000 and 9,000 meters,” says Maj. Jon Flowers, 22nd Airlift Squadron chief of standardization and evaluation and pilot for the flight to in-house reporter Airman 1st Class Amber Carter of the 60th Air Mobility Wing Public Affairs. “We got up to an altitude of approximately 37,000 feet before we ran out of performance.”
The so-called Reliability Enhancement and Re-engining Program upgrades make the Super Galaxy quieter than its older predecessors, enhance the aircraft’s reliability and maintainability, and are projected to reduce operating costs while increasing operational capability. The new General Electric CF6-80C2 engines (dubbed F108-GE-100 by the military) deliver 22 percent more thrust, 30 percent shorter takeoff distance, and a 58 percent faster climb while also reducing fuel consumption. With new engines and other system modernizations, upgraded C-5A, B and C models become C-5Ms with most of them having enough structural service life left to fly up to 2040.
The USAF is upgrading 52 older C-5As and C-5Bs to the C-5M standard. Of the 81 C-5As and 50 C-5Bs built between 1968 and 1989, 37 A-models and 32 B-models are still flying. The two C-5Cs at Travis are flown on behalf of NASA and are modified to carry cargo like satellites.
Sources: US Air Force / Lockheed Martin
Featured image: The record-breaking C-5M Super Galaxy from the 22nd Airlift Squadron takes off from Travis Air Force Base in California, early 3 April 2015. (Image © Ken Wright / US Air Force)