1/12/2009 - EDWARDS AIR FORCE BASE, CA -- The C-5M Super Galaxy
completed its second and final Integrated Systems Evaluation
test, flying a 56-hour, 27,000-mile mission around the Pacific
Rim, including stops in Alaska and Australia.
The C-5 Reliability Enhancement and Re-engining Program is
the second major improvement project for the largest aircraft
in the U.S. inventory. The RERP adds new General Electric CF-6
engines as well as 55 other system improvements intended to
increase the C-5's reliability.
The first improvement project, Avionics Modernization Program,
installed digital avionics and a full glass cockpit, allowing
the plane to meet current airspace requirements for navigational
accuracy and air traffic management. All C-5s are scheduled
to receive AMP modifications, which are currently ongoing at
Dover and Travis Air Force Bases and currently, 49 C-5s are
programmed to receive the RERP modification. When a C-5 has
both AMP and RERP modifications, it is re-designated a C-5M
The objective of an ISE is to test the aircraft in an operationally-representative
environment. Specific objectives for the second ISE included
hot and cold weather operations, air refueling, and tactics.
The first ISE was flown in the European theater in August, and
this one expanded the test team's experience to the Pacific
Mariusz Wisniewski, a C-5 flight test engineer and key mission
planner, said all objectives were met.
"We didn't get quite as hot and cold as we had hoped,"
he said. "We were able to subject the C-5M to environments
ranging from 100 degrees in the Australian outback to minus
22 degrees Fahrenheit in the Alaskan tundra within the span
of two days."
The ISE was successful despite landing gear problems, which
extended the mission from 11 to 14 days, said Lance Strickland,
mission test conductor.
"The most problematic issues were thrust reversers, auto
throttles, and environmental cooling system," Mr. Strickland
said. "However, air refueling and fuel consumption data
Data collected during the ISE will be used to evaluate the
readiness of the C-5M for operational tests.
Maj. Aaron Tucker, experimental test pilot and ISE test force
commander, said he was pleased that air refueling contacts with
both a KC-135 Stratotanker and KC-10 Extender showed that the
C-5M can safely and effectively execute an air refueling critical
to the strategic airlift mission.
"All previous contacts had a test nose boom installed,"
he said. "However, this ISE was flown in an operationally-representative
configuration, meaning all of the specialized flight test instrumentation
had been removed. This configuration is what the operational
crews will fly.The C-5M handled well while air refueling with
only a noticeable change in the more sensitive throttle response
of the CF-6 engines compared to the original TF-39 engines on
the A, B and C variations of C-5."
Major Tucker supervised several other test pilots during air
refueling to enable the evaluation of the C-5M air refueling
handling qualities. He will instruct the initial cadre of Air
Mobility Command pilots in January.
Major Tucker gave his highest praise for the enroute bases
that provided exceptional support to the test team. Eielson
Air Force Base closed a taxiway for six weeks, letting snow
to accumulate to allow taxi testing. Australia flew customs
agents more than 600 miles inland to Alice Springs so the team
could forgo a port of entry stop elsewhere.
"I can't believe the level of support we got," Major
Tucker said "People stood in the heat for hours just to
watch us take off. Airport personnel worked around the clock.
This integrated systems evaluation is the capstone event in
the developmental test program intended to improve the performance
and reliability of America's largest airlifter. The C-5M Super
Galaxy will further America's Global Reach with improved capability
to support any mission from humanitarian assistance to combat
support of the Global War on Terror by delivering more cargo,
faster, while using less gas."
This ISE was the last developmental test event for the C-5M.
Over the last three years, the Marietta, Ga., based combined
test team of the 418th Flight Test Squadron Detachment 4, Lockheed
Martin, and Air Force Operational Test and Evaluation Center
completed a test program of 5,400 test points in 1,300 flight
Air Mobility Command will start flying two aircraft in February
out of Dover Air Force Base, and the C-5M is scheduled to begin
operational test in August 2009. The 418 FLTS will close its
Detachment 4 at Marietta in April 2009.
Source: USAF Press Release by Lt. Col. Christopher Lindell