Inside the Cockpit: A Tour of a C5 Military Plane
Bangor International Airport doesn’t just take care of commercial and corporate flights, military flights come and go from the airport, too. TV 5′s Carolyn Callahan got a rare look inside one of the largest planes in the world. It’s part of the US Air Force fleet. U.S. Air Force Lieutenant Colonel Lawrence Suter and his crew have been around the world. ” We came from Spain and before that we came from Qatar, and we fly all throughout the Middle East,” explained Suter. In between trips, Bangor International Airport is a common stop. ” We stop here probably every month and a half or two months. It’s kinda standard for us to get fuel here when we fly long-range missions,” said Suter. The C5 is about the same size as a 747, but the C5 is a strategic air lifter plane. ” The airplane weights 840,000 pounds so it’s really the heaviest air lifter, heaviest airplane in the US in our inventory,” explained Suter. ” We can move tanks in and out of the fuselage. No other plane can do that in the world, except the Russians have one that’s very similar to ours.”This crew is Team Travis, based out of Travis Air Force Base in California. ” I never thought I’d be flying something this big. I wanted to fly mobility aircraft, volunteering and going around the world, seeing the sights,” said Captain David Franck. The crew members can be gone for at least 180 days a year. ” We’re hauling troops, we’re hauling cargo, everything that need to get from one place to another in a hurry,” described Suter. ” At the President’s discretion we can move cargo at the moments notice, ya know, 5,000 or 6,000 miles away, and we can do it quickly. We fly about 650 miles per hour, so we get the stuff there fast.”They sometimes fly up to 24 hours at a time. It can be a draining process. ” The flying is, take up, go cruise for a long time, so it gets very mundane. It’s like 95% boredom with 5% excitement,” said Franck. They’re always prepared for whatever excitement comes their way. ” Everybody knows their job pretty well and we manage to get everything going the way it should,” explained Franck. Team Travis will be busy in 2013. ” We’re in the process now of moving everything out of Afghanistan so by 2014 Afghanistan will need thousands of C5 flights to haul all those specialized vehicles, tanks, munitions, back to the states,” said Suter. Bangor International Airport will be ready to support the C5 whenever it needs a pit stop. C5′s have not been built since 1989. There are C17′s now, but they are a lot smaller. Thank you to Team Travis for giving us a tour of the plane and for being so friendly. The plane had some engine troubles so they were in Bangor for a few more days than expected.