Fifty years ago, C-5A Galaxy serial 66-8303 rolled down the runway at Lockheed’s Marietta plant in Georgia and into the sky with test pilot Leo J. Sullivan at the controls. That first flight by ‘8303 heavy’ on June 30, 1968, marked the start of a quantum leap forward in the USAF’s airlift capacity.
The USAF went on to receive an incredible 81 C-5As, and a subsequent airlift shortfall resulted in the re-start of production and a further 50 C-5Bs that were delivered from January 1986 to March 1989.
Today, the 22nd Airlift Squadron, part of the 60th Air Mobility Wing, is one of the largest users of the C-5M — the Galaxy with new avionics and new engines, and the ultimate incarnation of this mammoth aircraft. For an inside look at the 22nd Airlift Squadron, look out for the August issue of Combat Aircraft.