Words of Advice:

"Never Feel Sorry For Anyone Who Owns an Airplane."-- Tina Marie

If Something Seems To Be Too Good To Be True, It's Best To Shoot It, Just In Case." -- Fiona Glenanne

Flying the Airplane is More Important than Radioing Your Plight to a Person on the Ground
Who is Incapable of Understanding or Doing Anything About It.
" -- Unknown

"There seems to be almost no problem that Congress cannot, by diligent efforts and careful legislative drafting, make ten times worse." -- Me

"What the hell is an `Aluminum Falcon'?" -- Emperor Palpatine

"Eck!" -- George the Cat

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Your Sunday Morning Jet Noise


The C-5 program had a bit of a gestation problem. Wing cracks developed early on. The entire fleet had to be reworked. But ultimately, the airplane was successful and, finally, the Air Force had the heavy-lifter that it needed to retire its C-124s and C-133s.

The wings on the C-%as were replaced in the 1980s. The current reworked airplane is known as the C-5M.

C-5s are planned to be in use for another 25 years or so. There is currently no planned replacement.


Stewart Dean said...

I live 30 minutes from Stewart (Newburgh, NY) AFB which is a major C5 base. It's weird seeing them in the air, because there is a visual dissonance between their apparent size and speed. Your visual cortex wants to interpret them as a funny looking blimp....since a normal plane looking that apparent size and moving that apparent speed would be falling out of the sky....but it obviously isn't.

Comrade Misfit said...

I had the same reaction the first few times that i saw 747s flying. I used to see them a lot before I moved. And even when I couldn't see them, I could hear them; their engine noise was very distinctive.

Old NFO said...

Another aluminum overcast... Made one flight on them, couriering some stuff from A-B. They are definitely a different beast!

Thomas Ten Bears said...

Like watching a Chinook from bare visibility: is that thing moving?

dinthebeast said...

I think they used to train in them at Travis AFB just up the road from here. I say used to because I haven't seen one in years, but they used to come flying low and slow over the northern part of the East Bay, turn around over the water, and lumber back to the Northeast out of view.
I don't know whether they were actually that low and slow or not, but given their size, it certainly seemed that way.
I remember being startled by the sheer size of one, and thinking "is that thing really that low, or is it just the size and paint job making it look that way?"

-Doug in Oakland

LRod said...

I have several B747 stories on my ATC website, addressing many of the sentiments covered in these comments:


Not mentioned there, but corroborating your observation about the engine sounds, I was working on a friend's tower one day, up at about 100', and probably six miles due west of ORD. They were departing 27R, so the westbounds went straight out. As I was doing some task, I heard that distinctive sound (not remotely my first time) and didn't even look up as I cataloged it as a Seven Four (as we said in the trade). I'd guess he was no more than 2-3000' as he went over. I did look up just to enjoy the sight.

ZJX, ORD, ZAU retired

3383 said...

Doug in Oakland- Travis still flies them. They were doing more a few years ago, but they appear to be at least daily. Maybe they don't range as far now.

montag said...

I was at an air show with a C-5 on display when a shower passed over the area. The 2 wings sheltered quite a good sized crowd until the rain stopped.

hans said...

I got to know Ernie Fitzgerald [he was the Assist Sec of the Air Force back in early C5 days and blew the whistle on the cost 'overruns'] pretty well. In Lockheed's assembly building - big enough to have 6 to 8 of the beasts under assembly under one roof - the workers would often drop tools and fasteners and such from their perches 30-50 feet up. Nobody was going to go downstairs and fetch the stuff, they just brought plenty up to their work area.

Lockheed set up a separate company to run street sweepers around to collected all the dropped stuff, took the collection bins out back and had guys sort the stuff. Then this little outfit sold the stuff back to Lockheed at a tidy profit.

During the height of Sen. Proxmire's investigation into the cost overruns, The Harvards invited Ernie up to tell them, he thought, how Lockheed had managed to fuck things up so gloriously and how to avoid future debacles. Nope, they didn't give a shit about that, what they wanted to know was how Lockheed pulled it off - so they could repeat the heist if the opportunity ever came their way.

Never forget the time Lockheed and the AF were showing the beast off to a gaggle of VIPs and a tire fell off the main gear and went bouncing down the runway.

Comrade Misfit said...

Hans, I remember seeing that footage on the news, back in the day.

Harvard Business School and ethics are two concepts that don't flow together.

hans said...

Yo Comrade... same line of thinking was at the Kennedy School too. That's where the notion of too big to jail got its foothold.

With a major assist from Sen. Proxmire Ernie came out relatively intact and eventually went back to his home territory on the gulf coast of Alabama; he had a pecan orchard and organic truck garden and their own canning plant doing organic everything.

His family were single-taxer populists from way back. Went down there some and it was just a paradise - except for the KKKers. People who don't know the old south have no idea how bad it was. It wasn't only blacks they were after; Jews, Catholics, populists of any stripe were fair game. And if you and yours happened to be on their list you made damn sure there was at least a shotgun in easy reach.

Nowadays the MSM seems to be aggressively propagandizing that populists are some sort of monster combination of crackers, rednecks, peckerwoods, fascists and retrograde mutants, aiming to keep everybody fenced into being centrist dimocrats and rethuglicans.

Parlous times, Comrade, parlous times.

deadstick said...

Hans, eb, I remember that bouncing-tire business happening on the opening of the C-130 production line in Georgia, way back. The TV camera followed the airplane at first, then jumped back to the tire and followed it down the runway.

hans said...

deadstick -there must be something special about the C-5's gear since there have been several other incidents of tires falling off...

LRod said...


Of course my memory has faded over the last half century, but I swear I remember the wheel-coming-off incident as being at CHS (Charleston, SC). While I don't believe it was the maiden flight, I think it was more on the order of first delivery. CHS was a major air transport air force base and is just a hop and a skip from MGE (Dobbins AFB in Marietta, where they were made).

The reason I'm so sure, is #1, I was still at risk of draft at the time and was strongly anti-military. #2, I had already hired in with the FAA in ZJX (Jacksonville ARTCC), and was often working the Low East area where CHS was located. It was with great delight when I saw newsreels of that wheel bouncing down the runway.

Yeah, I just checked. I'm right. A bit later than I remember, 6 June 1970. I was already a journeyman controller by then and had worked that sector many times, although by that date, I had transferred to High Altitude, and no longer worked it. Here's a link:


ZJX, ORD, ZAU retired

CenterPuke88 said...

Was at an air show in St. Louis in about 1995, and they had a flynover of a C-141. It ran southbound over the river at about 2000 feet and it looked big (I'd walked through one at the KOKC airshow in 1988 while at the FAA Academy). Then it circled around and joined up with a C-5 for a second flybye. I was astounded at the shear size of the C-5 compared to what my mind already considered a huge airplane, the C-141.