Five Dover C-5Ms back in the sky after repairs

A C-5M Super Galaxy undergoes a nose landing gear maintenance operations check July 28, 2017, at Dover Air Force Base. During the Air Mobility Command commander-directed stand-down, more than 200 Team Dover maintainers conducted extensive inspections to ensure the safety of Mobility Airmen and equipment. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Zachary Cacicia)

DOVER AIR FORCE BASE — The first of Dover Air Force Base’s C-5M Super Galaxy airlifters took flight early Wednesday after a two-and-a-half-week Air Mobility Command commander-directed stand-down.

In a letter dated Aug. 1, AMC Commander Gen. Carlton D. Everhart II released five Dover AFB cargo planes that had been grounded July 17 after the second nose landing gear malfunction in 60 days at Naval Air Station Rota, Spain.

Pilots were able to land the plane successfully.

The C-5M planes have had necessary repairs to ensure the proper extension and retraction of the nose landing gear, DAFB public affairs said in a prepared statement.

Gen. Everhart directed a replacement of all C-5 ball screw assembly parts fleet-wide to ensure compliance with standards of performance and maximize aircrew safety.

There are two ball screws on the C-5 nose landing gear. Both ball screws operate in tandem to retract and extend the nose landing gear, according to information released by the Air Force Thursday. If a single ball screw drive assembly is not operational and causes binding, the gear cannot operate and will stall the extension or retraction process.

“Team Dover has been at the forefront of the investigation, evaluation, and resolution for the C-5M nose gear malfunction, supported by staff, project office, engineers and teammates from total force bases at Scott, Robins, Travis, Westover and many more,” said Col. Ethan Griffin, 436th Airlift Wing commander in a prepared statement.

There are 56 C-5s in the Air Force, and 18 are based in Dover. The remainder of the Dover C-5 fleet remains on stand-down pending successful testing, repairs, and evaluation of nose landing gear.

“My top priority is safety and readiness of our fleet,” said Gen. Carlton D. Everhart II, Air Mobility Command commander. “Our Airmen are working deliberately and methodically at Dover and across the command to identify and resolve any issues impacting the C-5 fleet. We have put measures in place to ensure aircrew safety and reduce wear-and-tear on the aircraft.”

Team Dover maintainers replaced ball screw drive assembly parts on the five aircraft returned to flying operations.

Additionally, work is being done to replace parts on aircraft at Travis AFB, Calif.

The maintenance crews performing the work included more than 200 active duty, reserve and civilian airmen, according to DAFB’s public affairs office. Engineers from Robins AFB, Georgia and Ogden Air Logistics Complex, Hill AFB, Utah, were part of the effort.

“When the fleet stood down, most of the maintenance Airmen took it to heart,” said Lt. Col. Shawn Stermer, 436th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron commander. “They took it very seriously and they wanted to be the ones who figured out a solution to bring us out of this stand-down. Many of them worked extended shifts in order to bring our C-5 enterprise back.”

Maintenance airmen from the Air Force’s three other C-5 bases travelled to Dover AFB to learn the processes undertaken at Dover. The goal is for them to become proficient at these inspections so they can return to their home bases to complete these inspections on their own C-5 fleets at Travis AFB, California; Westover Air Reserve Base, Massachusetts; and Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland, Texas.

In addition to the assembly repairs, Gen. Everhart issued a policy restricting the use of kneel operations on all C-5 aircraft to mission essential requirements only.

“We’re taking all precautionary measures to ensure the safety of Airmen and the reliability of aircraft,” Everhart said. “We’re working hard to minimize impact to the warfighter and worldwide mission requirements without compromising safety.

“With an aging fleet, it is important to take all potential measures to reduce stress on the aircraft,” Gen. Everhart said. “Our maintainers are working extremely hard to make aircraft repairs and ensure continued support to worldwide missions while engineers assist in securing the parts we need.”

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