50 Incredible C-5 Galaxy Facts

It’s the largest cargo aircraft in the U.S. Air Force fleet – and one of the most fact-laden planes in the world. It’s sheer size and cargo capabilities give it a unique niche in the world of aircraft. Well, niche may not be the best word because niche refers to a small slice of corner of an area – and the C-5 Galaxy is anything but small.

Measuring 247 feet long, 222 feet wide and 63 feet tall the C-5 Galaxy is about 25 percent larger than the next biggest aircraft in use by the U.S. Air Force. The C-5 carries almost a half a million pounds of cargo, and weighs 838,000 pounds at its heaviest. Its cargo bay can hold 1.5 Blue Whales (the largest animal on earth).

Because the C-5 is so massive, and so important to the Air Force’s mission, it is expected to be around for a long time to come. This means upgrades are continually being made to its three variants (C-5A/B/C). The Galaxy was conceived in the mid-1960s and is expected to last until 2040. Enjoy these awesome facts!

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50. The C-5 Galaxy is the largest transport aircraft in the Air Force. This flying warehouse can deliver supplies or deploy combat-ready military units anywhere in the world. With record breaking size and half a century of service, the C-5 is easily one of the most interesting military aircraft to ever be produced. Here are some incredible C-5 Galaxy facts.


49. The C-5 Galaxy is so large it takes 2,600 lbs of paint to paint the interior and exterior.


48. The total length of the C-5 Galaxy is 247 feet 10 inches. Roughly the length of 7 school buses.


47. It’s total wingspan is 222 feet 8 inches.


46. Each wing of the C-5 Galaxy weighs over 40,000 lbs.


45. The C-5 measures a massive 63 feet 2 inches tall.


44. The C-5 can carry 142 tons on 2 decks. The lower deck is for cargo and the upper deck has seating.


43. When empty, Lockheed’s biggest military aircraft weighs 375,000 lbs.


42. When loaded, the C-5 Galaxy weighs 838,000. Well over double its empty weight.


41. It’s maximum takeoff weight is 769,000 lbs but 840,000 lbs during wartime.


40. When fully loaded the C-5 requires 8,300 feet of runway for takeoff and 4,900 feet for landing.


39. The maximum speed of the C-5 is 601 miles per hour and a cruising speed of 586.


38. The C-5 can fly at a height of 34,000 feet. Also known as its service ceiling.


37. The Galaxy’s fuel capacity is 49,000 gallons, equal to the volume of an average five-room house.


36. The C-5 carries enough fuel for the average American car to make 31 trips around the world.


35. The C-5 has a range of 3,700 miles.


34. To power the Galaxy, each has 4 turbofan engines that measure 7 feet across.


33. The C-5 engines produce power equal to 800 average cars.


32. Each C-5 Galaxy engine consumes roughly 42 tons of air per minute.


31. C-5 systems require more than 100 miles of wiring and 5 miles of control cables.


30. The C-5 has roughly 1,658,800 fasteners.


29. The C-5 has a 24 ton cooling capacity which is enough to air condition eight average sized homes.


28. The C-5 Galaxy has 28 wheels. 4 in the front and 24 under the wings.


27. A singe tire on the C-5 weighs an average of 150.5 pounds. All 28 tires combine to weigh an astounding 4,214 pounds!


26. For cargo the C-5 loads through the nose versus through the back — opposite of the C-130 Hercules.


25. The length of the C-5 cargo floor is longer than the length of the Wright brothers first historic flight.


24. The C-5’s cargo compartment will hold 6 standard Greyhound buses or 100 Volkswagen Beetles.


23. It’s large enough to carry 5 Apache helicopters.


22. The C-5’s cargo compartment is big enough to hold an eight-lane bowling alley.


21. To fill the C-5 it would take about 26,000,000 ping pong balls.


20. You could fit 328,000,000 aspirin tablets inside the C-5.


19. If you’re hungry the C-5 can carry over 3,200,000 tortillas.


18. An entire Chinook transport helicopter can fit inside a C-5.


17. You can fit two M1 Abrams main battle tanks in the C-5. Each weighs 67 tons.


16. In the 1970s NASA considered using the C-5 to transport the Space Shuttle to Kennedy Space Center but they went with the Boeing 747 because of its low-wing design.


15. The C-5 goes by a few nicknames. F.R.E.D., Linda Lovelace, Fat Albert and Lockheed Hilton.


14. The USAF has operated the C-5 since 1969. A half a century.


13. The C-5 Galaxy’s development was complicated and Lockheed suffered significant financial difficulties.


12. Cracks were found in the wings of many of the C-5 shortly after entering service.


11. A $1.5 billion re-wing program began in 1976 to restore full payload capability and service to C-5s.


10. Their are multiple variants of the C-5 Galaxy with unit costs ranging from $100 million to $224 million.


9. The C-5 Galaxy has a typical crew of 7. Aircraft commander, pilot, two flight engineers, three loadmasters.


8. The C-5 upper deck has seating for 75 passengers.


7. The front landing gear can rotate up to 20-degrees during take-off and landing and 90-degrees while landed.


6. The Galaxy uses its front landing gears to kneel for loading but this has been the cause of numerous malfunctions.


5. The C-5 has played a major role in many disaster relief efforts including Hurricane Katrina, Irma and others.


4. Three C-5 Galaxy aircraft have been lost in crashes.


3. There have also been two class-A C-5 losses as a result of ground fire.


2. Many C-5s have now been retired with others remaining in service.


1. The United States Air Force spearheaded a Reliability Enhancement and Re-engining Program (RERP) to keep the C-5 in the air until 2040. Now checkout these Best Images of Aircraft Nose Art.

Resources: Images & Info Military Machine