The majestic Lockheed C-5 is one of the largest military aircraft in the world, with a wingspan of 222 feet 9 inches and a length of 247 feet. Its dimensions and size are truly epic, and to see it lifting off and in flight will really take your breath away.
In this video, you can see footage of the enormous C-5 taking off from Ilopango Airport (MSSS), El Salvador. Watch – and listen – in anticipation as the C-5’s engines build up to an incredible 43,000 pounds of thrust.
Viewers can watch the biggest aircraft in the United States Air Force inventory soar into the air amidst billowing clouds, an impressive display of the enormous C-5’s STOL capacity, with a smooth takeoff from Ilopango’s 7300ft runway.
Besides its sheer immensity, the C-5 is instantly identifiable on the runway by its distinctive high T-tail, not to mention the 28 wheels that are needed to distribute its considerable weight.
The plane is manufactured today by the Lockheed Martin, and is the only airlifter with intercontinental range. However, it was first designed and built by the Lockheed Corporation, the company to which its current manufacturer was the successor.
Lockheed was started in 1912 by Allan and Malcolm Loughead. Founded in San Francisco, it was originally called the Alco Hydro-Aeroplane Company, but was later renamed. Then, in 1995 the company merged with the Martin Marietta Corporation, forming Lockheed Martin.
Today, this company is one of the largest and most successful in its industry. Although it has many different fields of work, its main source of business comes from military sales, which made up 78% of its overall revenue in 2013. In fact, they are undoubtedly the largest defense contractor in the world.
However, Lockheed Martin haven’t restricted themselves to just military work, and recent years have seen them investing in renewable energy, nuclear technology and even healthcare.
The Lockheed C-5 embarked on its first flight in 1968, and was then officially introduced two years later, in 1970. However, its early days were fraught with difficulty. Financial problems and budget issues saw the cost the plane overrunning its limits considerably. Then, after it entered service, the wings of some models were actually found to have cracks in them. This restricted the aircraft’s capabilities until measures were taken to fix them.
However, as the years went by and later designs steadily improved upon the original concept, the C-5 became a reliable and highly successful airplane. Today it still sees service in the United States military, and it has the capacity to carry an entire fully equipped military unit 1,250 nautical miles without any aerial refueling.
The United States Air Force has employed C-5s since 1969, and these airlifters have supported military operations in a variety of critical conflict zones. These include Vietnam, Iraq, Afghanistan and Yugoslavia.
These planes have not only helped the United States in their military operations, but have also been used to assists various other nations and allies. For example, C-5s were among the aircraft used by America to deliver essential aid to Israel during the Yom Kippur War in 1973. Supplying their allies with ammunition, weaponry and several other resources, these massive planes proved to be extremely useful and highly efficient.
There have also been many other uses found for them over the years. The spacious cargo hold of the C-5 also facilitates transportation of combat equipment and supplies for purely humanitarian aide, while two variants of the plane have actually been used to support the NASA space shuttle program.
Renowned for its beautiful engine sonic and runway-blasting takeoff, a C-5 launching or landing is truly a sight to behold. If you came for the C-5 in particular, or are just interested in military airplanes in general, this video is certainly worth watching.