Thursday, February 04, 2010

Dover Airmen fly first C-5M to Iraq

by Staff Sgt. Chad Padgett, 436th Airlift Wing Public Affairs

DOVER AIR FORCE BASE, Del. (AFNS) -- A Dover Air Force Base C-5M Super Galaxy aircrew delivering over 85,000 pounds of equipment for troops supporting Operation Iraqi Freedom and was the first C-5M to land in Iraq in late January.

Dover AFB officials have three C-5M aircraft that have completed the operational testing phase and are about to enter the conversion phase.

"It's satisfying to get the aircraft into the fight delivering much needed supplies to the troops in the field," said Lt. Col. Mike Semo, the 709th Airlift Squadron pilot and C-5M Program Office chief.

The aircraft not only delivered the cargo on short notice, but also was able to arrive back to base ahead of schedule.

"Everyone in the C-5 community, including our crew, is very aware of past, present and future C-5M operations," said Capt. Nicholas Cobb, a 9th Airlift Squadron C-5M evaluator pilot. "When the 9th AS was tasked with this Operation Iraqi Freedom channel mission on Jan. 18, we knew this would be the first C-5M mission to actually land in Iraq. The entire crew was extremely excited and proud of this first-time accomplishment. Not only did we successfully accomplish the mission, but also we were four for four with on-time takeoffs, demonstrating the improved reliability of the C-5M. We arrived at Dover almost 1.5 hours earlier than originally scheduled by the (618th) Tanker Airlift Control Center."

Once the aircraft has been approved for direct delivery capability, Dover AFB aircrews will be able to fly cargo directly to Iraq without stopping to refuel.

"We've tested the ability to fly this aircraft directly to the Middle East with 33 direct flights to Incirlik, Turkey and returning direct Dover," Colonel Semo said. "Now that it's been tested and proven, the only requirement is the final approval to be able to accomplish direct flights. This will allow us to develop a wider range of strategic abilities around the C-5M aircraft and will significantly decrease the time the aircraft spends on the ground. In some cases, this will save us over a day in travel time."

After setting 41 world records with the C-5M, being the first to fly the aircraft into Iraq, the Dover AFB aircrew is already looking toward the next first, using the aircraft to fly supplies to Airmen in Afghanistan.