This Is How the Largest U.S. Military Airplane Gets Stripped Down

Illustration for article titled This Is How the Largest U.S. Military Airplane Gets Stripped Down

You need a large room to strip and reassemble an airplane—especially when it’s the biggest one in your fleet. In this panoramic photo you can see a half assembled Lockheed C-5M Super Galaxy during a major inspection at Dover Air Force Base in Delaware.

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All C-5 aircraft in the U.S. Air Force inventory undergo an eight-year scheduled maintenance timeline, with one of four inspections occurring at regular two-year intervals. Such a major inspection–which includes disassembly and re-assembly–takes approximately 55 days, and more than 100 staff can be working on the aircraft at any given moment.

[Senior Airman William Johnson/U.S. Air Force]

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DISCUSSION

“complete disassembly and re-assembly”

That isn’t entirety accurate. In the isochronal inspections, they do disassemble quite a bit and depot goes deeper. However, they don’t completely take the aircraft apart.

Fun fact: that picture was taken from 65 feet up in the air.