YOKOTA AIR BASE, Japan -- There’s no mistaking the sight and sound of the largest aircraft in the U.S. Air Force fleet. It dominates by providing the heaviest intercontinental-range strategic airlift capability, but consistent training across multiple specialties is necessary to keep these giants employed globally and mission ready.
Yokota Airmen from maintenance, ground crew, the fire department and more, all participated in an annual C-5M Super Galaxy ground training event on the base flight line from Sept. 6-17 to familiarize themselves with the uniquely colossal aircraft.
As the primary mobility hub in the Indo-Pacific, Yokota regularly provides refueling and maintenance support to hundreds of transient aircraft annually, to include the occasional Super Galaxy.
“The C-5M is very big and heavy, so it endures considerable strain over time compared to smaller aircraft,” said Senior Airman Hunter Dunn, 730th Air Mobility Squadron crew chief. “During times of high demand for servicing aircraft, we need Airmen that are familiar with C-5M maintenance, to prevent repair delays.”
Nothing about the aircraft was spared scrutiny. Trainers ran day and night instructionals on everything from engines and electrical systems, to refueling and changing tires.
“We don’t have the C-5M here, but we execute a massive transient aircraft mission,” said Staff Sgt. Lance Nabors, 730th AMS aircraft hydraulic systems craftsman. “We make the most of events like this to certify our people on non-local aircraft to ensure we can support the diversity of the Air Force fleet.”
The sheer size of this plane means more to work with. The C-5M sports five sets of landing gear, 28 wheels, four engines, a wingspan of over 220 feet, a length of almost 250 feet and a cargo bay that can easily carry two M1A1 Abrams Battle Tanks plus crew and gear.
“This beast is a workhorse,” said Master Sgt. Robert Maughan, 730th AMS production superintendent. “When it’s fully-loaded and doing the mission, it’s a sight to behold. When the C-5M, or any aircraft we’ve worked on, takes-off down the runway, we know all the work our Airmen put into making that happen and it provides a great sense of accomplishment knowing we’re crucial in making the mission happen.”