U.S. Air Force Air Mobility Command has resumed flying operations with five C-5M Super Galaxy strategic airlifters, following repairs to the aircraft's nose landing gear.
The C-5 fleet stand-down was directed by the AMC Commander on July 17 following a second malfunction of the nose landing gear within a 60-day period, during landings at Naval Air Station Rota, in Spain.
The stand down affected 18 of 56 C-5s flown by AMC, which are based at Dover Air Force Base, Delaware.
The aircraft have had the necessary repairs to ensure the proper extension and retraction of the nose landing gear, which has been a recurring issue the C-5 fleet, resulting in several gear up landings.
The remainder of the Dover C-5 fleet remains on stand-down pending successful testing, repairs, and evaluation of nose landing gear.
Team Dover maintainers replaced ball screw drive assembly parts on the five aircraft that returned to flying operations. Additionally, work is being done to replace parts on aircraft at Travis AFB, Calif., to ensure safety and minimize impact on worldwide operations.
Meanwhile the command's top leader directed a replacement of all C-5 ball screw assembly parts fleet-wide to ensure compliance with standards of performance and maximize aircrew safety.
"My top priority is safety and readiness of our fleet," said Gen. Carlton D. Everhart II, Air Mobility Command commander. "Our Airmen are working deliberately and methodically at Dover and across the command to identify and resolve any issues impacting the C-5 fleet. We have put measures in place to ensure aircrew safety and reduce wear-and-tear on the aircraft."
"We're taking all precautionary measures to ensure the safety of Airmen and the reliability of aircraft," Everhart said. "We're working hard to minimize impact to the warfighter and worldwide mission requirements without compromising safety."
|A C-5M gear up landing in Rota Air Base, Spain|
There are two ball screws on the C-5 nose landing gear. Both ball screws operate in tandem to retract and extend the nose landing gear, according to officials. If a single ball screw drive assembly is not operational and causes binding, the gear cannot operate and will stall the extension or retraction process.
Everhart also issued a policy restricting the use of kneel operations on all C-5 aircraft to mission essential requirements only.
"With an aging fleet, it is important to take all potential measures to reduce stress on the aircraft," Everhart said. "Our maintainers are working extremely hard to make aircraft repairs and ensure continued support to worldwide missions while engineers assist in securing the parts we need."
The Lockheed Martin C-5 is a large high-wing cargo aircraft with a distinctive high T-tail fin (vertical) stabilizer powered by four TF39 turbofan engines. It has range of 2,400 nmi (2,760 mi, 4,440 km) with a 263,200 lb (119,400 kg) payload.