Armed Forces International News - September 2009
C-5 Galaxy in World Record Flight
Posted by Paul Fiddian on 16/09/2009 - 11:21:56
An upgraded version of the largest aircraft in the United States Air Force's inventory carried out a multiple record-breaking flight on September 13th 2009. The aircraft - a Lockheed C-5M Galaxy super heavyweight transporter - achieved over 40 new world records whilst in the air - 33 of them unprecedented, and eight of them updating existing ones.
The Galaxy's records were established within a specific class - C-1.S, Jet - for aircraft with an empty weight of between 250,000 and 300,000 kilograms. These related to the following areas of flight:
- Altitude whilst carrying a payload
- Time-to-climb (time taken to reach a certain altitude direct from take off)
- Time-to-climb whilst carrying a payload
- Heaviest payload to an altitude of 6,561 feet (2,000 metres above ground level)
The C-5M Galaxy reached a height of in excess of 41,000 feet in less than 24 minutes, whilst carrying an 80,000+ kilogram load on board.
As far as vice president of Lockheed Martin's C-5 Program, Lorraine Martin, was concerned, the purpose of the flight was not just to establish a record, but to highlight the new Galaxy's military potential too. "These records are not just for show" she said. "They demonstrate conclusively the C-5M's ability to quickly get the warfighter out of harm's way while carrying a larger payload than any other U.S. airlifter. This flight also showed the Super Galaxy can operate with that payload at operational altitudes.
"The C-5M is strategic airlift redefined."
World Altitude Record
The principal flight record broken was a world altitude record whilst carrying a payload, and this saw a height attained of 41,188 feet. During the same flight, the Galaxy also established records for time-to-climb without payload, as well as time-to-climb with a range of payloads from 35,000 kilograms up to 80,000 kilograms.
Each new record set is now due to be officially recognised by the US National Aeronautic Association - a division of the global FAI (Federation Aeronautique Internationale) organisation. This process should be completed by around the beginning of October.
The vast C-5 Galaxy first flew in 1968 and entered USAF service one year later - the USAF being the only air arm to have ever operated it. The C-5M is an updated version featuring new engines, avionics and airframe components. The first of these left earth in 2006 and examples are presently involved in an ongoing flight testing phase.
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