A Rare Mishap Sent The Air Force's Largest Plane Skidding Down A Runway

Military Tech

An Air Force Reserve C-5M Super Galaxy cargo plane made an emergency landing at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland on Thursday afternoon when its nose gear malfunctioned, according to a release.

The crew, which was on a local training mission, discovered the nose gear was not lowering as they returned to base and declared an in-flight emergency, according to the San Antonio Express-News. The crew included pilots, flight engineers, and loadmasters.

The plane landed on its nose and skidded about three-quarters of the way down the runway, according to Air Force Times.

"It's very close to the Boeing hangars, so it used the majority — I would say — half of the runway," Maj. Timothy Wade, a spokesman for the 433rd Airlift Wing at JBSA-Lackland, told the Express-News.

Wade couldn't say how badly the aircraft was damaged, but none of the 11 personnel on board were injured. Wade told Air Force Times that the cause of the nose-gear failure was under investigation and that it was the first such incident within the wing.

"The Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland first responders did an amazing job in assisting the aircrew and securing the immediate area," he added.

Related: The Air Force’s Largest Plane Is Getting Pulled From The Flight Line After Another Malfunction »

The Air Force Reserve wing flew C-5A Galaxy model until June 2016, when it started receiving the C-5M. It now has eight of the Super Galaxy. The wing's training squadron, the 733th Training Squadron, and its instructor squadron, the 356th Airlift Wing, regularly do training missions over the area in C-5s.

The C-5 Galaxy is the largest plane in the Air Force. It is 65 feet high, 247 feet long, and has a 223-foot wingspan. The C-5M model, which first deployed in 2009, featured more powerful engines that allowed it to haul more cargo with less room needed for takeoff.

Senior Air Force officials decided to call a number of C-5Ms back to active duty in summer 2017, after budget cuts had led the service to move them into backup inventory, which meant the service still had the planes, but no funding or personnel to operate them, Air Mobility Command chief Gen. Carlton Everhart said in spring 2017.

Everhart also said at the time that the Air Force C-5 inventory had fallen from 112 C-5s a few years prior to 56 now.

Air Force officials planned to start a multiyear process to bring the massive planes back to the flight line.

Related: The Air Force Is Calling Its Largest Plane Back To The Tarmac »

A few weeks after that announcement, the C-5 fleet encountered more trouble, when Everhart ordered a stand down for all 18 C-5s at Dover Air Force Base in Delaware after two of them had landing-gear malfunctions within a 60-day period. The problems occurred while the planes were deployed to Naval Station Rota in Spain.

Days later, Everhart ordered a fleet-wide assessment for all of Air Mobility Command's 56 C-5s.

The order also included a policy restricting kneel operations on C-5s — which allow the plane to be lowered to ease loading and unloading — to mission-essential requirements only.

The review found that the ball-screw drive assembly was causing problems during the extension and retraction of the nose gear. The ball-screw assembly on all 56 planes was replaced — including on the plane involved in the emergency landing on Thursday. (The parts needed to fix the ball-screw assembly were not longer made, so the Air Force got them from the aircraft "boneyard" at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base in Arizona.)

Air Mobility Command spokesman Col. Chris Karns told Air Force Times that the Thursday incident appeared to be an isolated one.

More from Business Insider:


No motive is yet known for last week's Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard shooting tragedy, which appears to have been a random act of violence in which the sailor who fatally shot two civilian workers and himself did not know them and did not plan his actions ahead of time, shipyard commander Capt. Greg Burton said in an "All Hands" message sent out Friday.

Machinist's Mate Auxiliary Fireman Gabriel Antonio Romero of San Antonio, an armed watch-stander on the attack submarine USS Columbia, shot three civilian workers Dec. 4 and then turned a gun on himself while the sub rested in dry dock 2 for a major overhaul, the Navy said.

"The investigation continues, but there is currently no known motive and no information to indicate the sailor knew any of the victims," Burton said.

Read More Show Less
A projectile is fired during North Korea's missile tests in this undated picture released by North Korea's Central News Agency (KCNA) on November 28, 2019. (KCNA via Reuters)

SEOUL (Reuters) - North Korea said it had successfully conducted another test at a satellite launch site, the latest in a string of developments aimed at "restraining and overpowering the nuclear threat of the U.S.", state news agency KCNA reported on Saturday.

The test was conducted on Friday at the Sohae satellite launch site, KCNA said, citing a spokesman for North Korea's Academy of Defence Science, without specifying what sort of testing occurred.

Read More Show Less

Since the Washington Post first published the "Afghanistan papers," I have been reminded of a scene from "Apocalypse Now Redux" in which Army Col. Walter Kurtz reads to the soldier assigned to kill him two Time magazine articles showing how the American people had been lied to about Vietnam by both the Lyndon Johnson and Richard Nixon administrations.

In one of the articles, a British counterinsurgency expert tells Nixon that "things felt much better and smelled much better" during his visit to Vietnam.

"How do they smell to you, soldier?" Kurtz asks.

Read More Show Less
Erik Prince arrives for the New York Young Republican Club Gala at The Yale Club of New York City in Manhattan in New York City, New York, U.S., November 7, 2019. (REUTERS/Jeenah Moon)

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Erik Prince, the controversial private security executive and prominent supporter of U.S. President Donald Trump, made a secret visit to Venezuela last month and met Vice President Delcy Rodriguez, one of socialist leader Nicolas Maduro's closest and most outspoken allies, according to five sources familiar with the matter.

Read More Show Less
Soldiers with 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division, walk in what could be mistaken for another planet. Kandahar, Afghanistan, Dec. 25, 2011 (Army photo/Sgt. Ruth Pagan)

(Reuters Health) - While army suicides have historically decreased during wartime, that trend appears to have reversed in recent decades, a new study of U.S. records finds.

Researchers poring over nearly 200 years of data found that unlike earlier times when there was a decline in suicide rates among U.S. Army soldiers during and just after wars, the rate has risen significantly since 2004, according to the report in JAMA Network Open.

Read More Show Less