AMC chief requests C-5 maintenance assessment after halt of flying ops
The head of Air Mobility Command
has requested a maintenance records check of all 56 C-5s in the command's fleet, according to an AMC spokesman.
Gen. Carlton Everhart's request comes a day after he halted flying operations for the 18 C-5 cargo planes at Dover Air Force Base, Delaware, on Tuesday.
The massive aircraft were grounded after the nose landing gear malfunctioned on two C-5s within the past 60 days. The malfunctions both occurred at Naval Station Rota, Spain — one on May 22 and one on Saturday.
A landing gear engineering team from the C-5 System Program Office and the Ogden Air Logistics Complex is arriving at Dover today to inspect the 12 primary and six backup C-5s, Col. Christopher Karns, director of public affairs for AMC, told Air Force Times on Wednesday. There is no set timeline for completion of those inspections, he said.
But Everhart wants AMC to look at all of its C-5s as a preventive measure to catch any issues before something goes potentially wrong, Karns said.
"The primary focus is on any aircraft that experienced any discrepancy in the last 90 days," he said, adding that it includes any symptoms identified by maintainers that could possibly indicate an issue with nose landing gear extension or retraction.
The assessment will also look at issues related to the kneeling and un-kneeling of the aircraft. A C-5 lowers, or "kneels," to make it easier to load cargo, and that can place stress on the aircraft's systems over time, Karns said.
"General Everhart wants to ensure that it's a methodical look, where aircrew safety is always at the forefront," he said. "[He] has actually been pushing to make sure that we become more predictive in terms of maintenance.Today, when you look at the way maintenance is conducted, a lot of times the aircraft breaks and then you go about fixing it."
"We are striving to create an environment and invest in technology where we can tell when the aircraft is going to break, moving toward a system that is based on prognostics rather than diagnostics."
Since Air Mobility Command
supports worldwide operations with the transportation of cargo and troops, there will be concerns when an issue like this arises, Karns said.
"Plans have been put in place to alleviate those concerns," he said, adding that AMC can rely on C-5s that are still flying, as well as various aircraft that can be used if needed.
During a congressional hearing on the Air Force's proposed fiscal 2018 budget, Lt. Gen. Jerry D. Harris, the service’s deputy chief of staff for strategic plans and requirements, said service officials plan to activate at least eight C-5M Super Galaxies that had been removed from active service due to sequestration's budget caps.
“We’re going to buy back two a year for four years, if we’re able to have a predictable budget to get the fleet back to a higher quality,” Harris said May 25 in testimony before the House Armed Services Committee’s seapower and projection forces subcommittee.