C-5M 'Super Galaxy' Testing Continues at Edwards Air Force Base

USAF C-5M #86-0025 takes off from AF Plant #42, Palmdale, CA 11/13/07
Photo: Dan Stijovich

11/17/2007 - The second C-5 to receive the C-5M 'Super Galaxy' upgrade is currently undergoing testing out of Edwards Air Force Base, through a joint effort between Lockheed and the 418th Flight Test Squadron. The 418th typically handles testing of all 'heavy' type aircraft in the US Air Force inventory, including the C-17A and numerous variants of the C-130. C-5B #86-0025 was second in line to receive the full 'M' upgrade. The aircraft was originally stationed at Dover Air Force Base and still wears the markings of the 436th AW and 512th AW. #025 made its first post 'M' upgrade flight on November 17, 2006. The first C-5 to receive the complete 'M' upgrade was #86-0013, also from Dover AFB. #013 has also spent time testing at Edwards AFB.

USAF C-5M #86-0025 works the pattern at AF Plant #42, Palmdale, CA 11/13/07
Photo: Dan Stijovich

The C-5M program suffered a small setback recently on the afternoon of November 15, 2007. #025 was leaving from Edwards Air Force Base on a typical test mission when it encountered multiple rear tire blowouts during takeoff. Once airborne, the aircraft stayed at altitude in close proximity to the field until the extent of the damage was determined. As a precaution, the crew eventually landed safely on one of the lake bed runways just before sunset.

The Super Galaxy upgrade program began when it was determined approximately 80% of airframe service life remained in the majority of the C-5 fleet. The full upgrade is a combination of the Avionics Modernization Program (AMP) and Reliability Enhancement and Re-engining Program (RERP). The new CF6-80C2 engines will produce 22% more thrust than the old engines, resulting in a 30% shorter take-off distance, a 38% higher climb rate, increased cargo load, and a longer range between refueling.

Source: Dan Stijovich
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