Sooo... how do you move a crashed C-5A Galaxy cargo plane ?

Per this story.

What do you do? Being in 3 pieces is it considered junk or salvagable at this point? Do you cut it up with a torch? How do you move something that huge that can’t taxi under it’s own power anymore and is far too big to be placed on any truck?

Just curious

C5A Galaxy

More C5-A Pics

Looking at the pics it seems definitely repairable after being taken to the nearest airfield.

I’ve worked with Boeing people and the whole company is proud of their ability to fix seriously damaged aircraft wherever they are. There was a crash in India several years back where the jet belly flopped on the runway taking out the entire bottom of the plane. They shipped in the replacement sections, fixed it at the airport and flew it back to Seattle for further work.

Note that there is a difference between can be fixed and will be fixed.

Commercial aircraft have a completely different set of rules regarding the economics of building and repairing from US military aircraft. In business, waste is to be avoided, in the US military waste is someone else’s problem.

Well, that might depend on the airplane. I know that on one of the Air Force Bases in San Antonio, they have a big multi-hangar operation where they strip down and refurbish T-37 and T-38 jet trainers to keep them in service. That said, a small trainer is probably easier to strip down and rebuild than a rather large transport, especialy since they have a whole facility specifically set aside for the trainers.

There’s talk–just talk–that the C5 is going to be phased out in the near (10 year) future anyway. This is an expensive asset to maintain and operate, and my guess is that they’ll probably scrap it out rather than repair, particularly given the extent of the damage and likely age of the plane. If it were a C-5C (specially modified for moving oversized cargo like the Space Container Transportation System then it would likely be a different story.

How do you move one? Very carefully. :wink: You’d remove the wings, certainly. I don’t know if there is an oversized trailer that can haul it OTR; you might have to disassemble into sections and move the individual pieces. It’s certainly a big job. If it’s near a navigationable waterway you could possibly barge it.


Repair on site is generally the rule, if it is going to be repaired at all. JAL dumped a 747 Cargo full of cattle(?) in Anchorage a while back, and it took them a couple of years to fix it out at the end of Runway 4. They finally got it back into flying shape and sent it off to Boeing for final repairs.

Okay, I gotta ask. What did they do with the cattle?

Oops. I conflated two different accidents in my memory. The JAL flight was a passenger jet taxiing on an icy runway. It skidded off the side of Runway 6R. That’s the one that sat there for a couple of years under repair. The cattle flight happened later, and investigation shows the hamburger was scrapped, along with the rest of the plane. My bad. The memory is always the second thing to go.

They could always get a hold of the Google ad at the bottom of this thread
“Junk Cars Removed”

Seriously, you think this is fixable? I would think the crash landing would have thrown the whole body section out of true.

Although OTOH the landing gear are on the belly, so maybe it can handle it.

I was discussing the wreck this morning with some AOG (Airplane On Ground) folks and they said the airplane is junk. The impact suffered by the plane probably stressed every major structural component. It would take months to inspect everything (using dye penetrants and x-rays) before any real work could begin. The airplane has more value as salvage for parts for other airplanes now. Airplanes are made from aluminum, torches would not work. Diamond cutting wheels and demolition saws work the best.

When cutting aluminum, plasma is the way to go.

As for crashed big planes, parts them out and keep the flying ones flying.


What pictures were you looking at? Here is the plane that crashed; it’s not gong anywhere but to the scrap yard.

Better pictures. That bird is toast.

I plead guilty. My inital link did not have pics. I provided pics of a C5A on the ground simply to show the size of the plane, Ftg probably thought those were pics of the actual crashed plane.

Pfft. Back in my day we just strapped the plane on our backs and humped it out. And we were grateful!

Yep, it is. A shame.

My baby bro’s in the 105th Air National Guard at Stewart Field upstate in the C-5 electrical shop and naturally they’re all buzzing about this. He worked at Dover for a while as well as other places we can’t legally mention :wink: and they all feel terrible about what happened, although they’re really puzzled by it too–the plane is built to fly with an engine out at least.

I’ve been aboard a C5 and walked through two of them (all on the tarmac). The cockpit door is five stories above the ground! They are very carefully maintained and their natural “lifespan” is about 40-50 years, but of course some individual planes have been decommissioned and either cannibalized or sent to that great airfield in the sky (OK, it’s actually in Arizona).

Yes, they’re expensive to fuel and maintain but no other plane can quite do what they can do. Baby bro’s helped send lots of them to the Middle East stuffed with tanks and troops that would take weeks by ship or several dozen trips by smaller cargo planes; they’ve been sent on a day’s notice to New Orleans and other trouble spots wherever they can land. And they’re amazingly nimble for their size–there’s one pilot at airshows that loves to start things off by having the thing roar up behind the crowd from behind a hill like Godzilla and then bank back across it. The coolness factor of these things is off the charts!

Ahem…which means that it’s all a shame indeed.

And yet, they’re not quite big enough to comfortably drive a booster transporter into one…should you be so foolish as to attempt to do such a thing. Don’t ask how I know this. :rolleyes:

This is very true, at least as far as the USAF inventory goes. (The Russians have two larger cargo transports.) And the C-17, its nominal replacement, has only about 2/3rds the load capacity and less volume. But these birds are terribly expensive to operate (not that the C-17 is superior in that regard) and while the demand for them typically exceeds the supply–these are probably the most active aircraft in USAF service–the perception is that they aren’t going to be as necessary in the future, what with continent-hopping UAVs and tactical ICBMs. :rolleyes:


I guess so :frowning: although the usefulness of moving A Huge Buttload Of Stuff At Once is something I think we’d be silly to give up.

Right about the Russkies having a slightly bigger plane, the AN-225 Mriya, but considering only one ever existed it’s sort of a wash IMO. The AN-124 has a better case, and there’s lots of them still around.

Baby bro, being he’s a baby and all, joined the ANG well after the Cold War was over, but the vets at Stewart still call the C-5 “the largest plane in the Free World.” :smiley:

I agree with both of your points.
I saw a C-5 on short final to PDX a few years back, flew right over the top of my head at maybe 500 feet. I swear the sky went black (er make that grey) that bad boy is so big.
If there is any good news here it is that the crew all survived. Thank OG for that.

Thats why they call it aluminum overcast.