The Lockheed-Georgia Co. delivered the first operational C-5 Galaxy to the 437th Airlift Wing, Charleston Air Force Base, now known as Joint Base Charleston, S.C., in June 1970.
Since that time, the C-5 has been moving cargo all over the world; delivering equipment to troops in the Middle East; relief supplies to areas affected by floods, earthquakes and tsunamis; and people to points across the globe. The C-5 and its aircrews have been effectively completing these missions for nearly half a century.
The first thing people notice about the C-5 is its size. The plane, simply stated, is a giant. At a height of 65.1 feet and a length of 247.1 feet, it’s as tall as a six-story building and nearly as long as a football field.
The C-5’s cargo floor is 121 feet long (one foot longer than the Wright Brothers first flight at Kitty Hawk, N.C.) This massive cargo compartment can be accessed through the front or rear of the aircraft using its upward-hinged visor in the nose and outward opening clamshell doors in the rear. This allows drive-through loading and unloading of wheeled or tracked vehicles.
From its cargo capacity to its enormous size and range, the C-5 has established itself as a vital part of the Air Force’s airlift mission. And, with continued improvements and modernization, the Galaxy is on pace to remain so for years to come.