Recent C-5 Nose Gear Mishap Unrelated to 2017 Equipment Issue, Air Force Says

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U.S. Air Force maintainers assigned to the 60th Air Mobility Wing work to lower the nose landing gear on a C-5M Super Galaxy aircraft at Travis Air Force Base, California, Feb. 1, 2019. (U.S. Air Force photo/Joey Swafford)
U.S. Air Force maintainers assigned to the 60th Air Mobility Wing work to lower the nose landing gear on a C-5M Super Galaxy aircraft at Travis Air Force Base, California, Feb. 1, 2019. (U.S. Air Force photo/Joey Swafford)

The U.S. Air Force doesn't believe that a recent C-5M Super Galaxy nose gear mishap at Travis Air Force Base, California, is linked to anomalies the airlift fleet experienced two years ago, according to a spokeswoman.

Maintainers and engineers have seen no indicators that the Jan. 31 incident, in which a C-5 had to make an emergency landing with its nose gear up, is connected to problems that led to the 2017 stand-down after two aircraft could not extend their nose landing gear all the way, said Capt. Lyndsey Horn, spokeswoman for the 60th Air Mobility Wing at Travis.

"At this time, there is no indication that this is the same issue as 2017, but again, this is subject to change pending a safety investigation," Horn said Tuesday.

"They are in the process of determining what type of mishap it is, which range from Class A to E depending on damage," she added, referencing the way the military classifies accidents based on the severity and extent of damage sustained.

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The latest mishap has not prompted a stand-down of C-5 flight operations, added Air Mobility Command spokeswoman Rose Riley.

"All initial indications signal this is an isolated event; therefore, the rest of the C-5M fleet has continued normal flying operations," she said in an email.

Officials last week said that initial reports indicate the crew experienced hydraulics issues while lowering the nose landing gear.

At approximately 7:45 p.m. local time, the 247-foot-long Lockheed Martin-made aircraft landed on its back wheels to avoid putting weight on the front, officials said at the time.

The plane was returning from a transport to the Middle East, according to Air Force Times.

In July 2017, the Air Force stopped all C-5M operations from Dover Air Force Base, Delaware, after two aircraft experienced nose-gear malfunctions overseas. Separate incidents involving aircraft from Dover occurred May 22 and again July 15 at Naval Station Rota, Spain.

Crews scrambled to get spare parts to fix that problem, which was determined to be "a screw-type mechanism that allows [the nose of the aircraft] to basically spin down and spin back up," according to Gen. Carlton Everhart II, then-AMC commander.

The stand-down affected a total of 18 C-5M aircraft from Dover, including 12 primary aircraft and six in backup status.

While the C-5M was first fielded in 2009, some aircraft employ parts from older C-5s dating to the 1980s.

There are 51 C-5Ms in the service's inventory, according to the Air Force Association's 2018 aircraft almanac.

-- Oriana Pawlyk can be reached at oriana.pawlyk@military.com. Follow her on Twitter at @Oriana0214.

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