While at Avalon Airshow 2009, the FlightPathTV.com team got to interview a C5 Galaxy pilot and film the aircraft opening up prior to letting the public walk through. Together with Captain Lee (our media liaison) we made our way down the far end of the static area to where the C5, a KC135, DC10 tanker (not a KC10) and a pair of B1Bs were parked.
Damn that’s an enormous aircraft :)
We discussed the interview with the crew and one of the junior pilots was “volunteered” for it (the chain of command in action :) After a few discussions outside and some establishing shots, we put our earplugs in and they fired up the APU (very noisy). First up the nose was opened, lifting up over the cockpit and looking very much like a Great White Shark about to bite. The ramp was extended in stages with crew walking around to check everything was deploying correctly. Naturally, this started to draw a bit of a crowd at the public fence area.
Once the nose ramp was fully deployed we moved around to the tail where it was even noisier. A huge panel at the rear moved up and a pair of doors opened outwards. Once again a massive ramp slowly extended itself in stages, although this time there were a few problems with getting the rubber mats at the very end to sit right (typical that it would happen while filming). Apparently the rear ramp can be opened during flight but they don’t do that much any more.
Once everything was opened up and the APU shut down, we moved into the cargo hold and started the interview. Most of the crew sat around enjoying the show, heckling when the camera wasn’t running. We had a few interruptions as a RAAF F18 landed and taxied back, then the KC135 fired up its APU so it could extend its boom.
Eventually we moved upstairs to film the cockpit and crew space then complete the interview up there. I managed to get some shots out one of the escape doors and the hatch up on top. We also went back into the “passenger” area, a separate compartment between the wing & tail upstairs. This area is where any troops or specialists that may be travelling with a load will spend the flight (facing backwards). We were also shown the tail structure that’s above and behind the rear ramp. This area is unpressurised in flight and is bigger than the cargo hold of a C130. Wow!
The C5 Galaxy is definitely a HUGE aircraft and it was great to go clambering all over it. I’ve loaded the photos I took into the C5 Galaxy album in the gallery. A few will also make it into the Avalon 2009 album.