This Photo Shows A U.S. Air Force C-5M Galaxy Landing in St. Maarten For The Very First Time To Support Hurricane Irma Relief Operations

Oct 11 2017 - 3 Comments

A giant C-5 Galaxy landed at Princess Juliana International Airport in the aftermath of Hurricane Irma.

Maho Beach, located on the final approach to the Princess Juliana International Airport’s runway, is one of the world’s most famous spots for aviation enthusiasts and photographers who can take breathtaking shots of aircraft, including wide-bodies, about to land in the Caribbean island of St. Maarten.

If you look for images of aircraft landing at St. Maarten’s Princess Juliana Airport (SXM) online, you’ll literally find thousand close-up photographs showing planes flying extremely low over bystanders at Maho Beach.

Unfortunately, St. Maarten and its remarkable beaches have been almost destroyed by Hurricane Irma last month.  Although the airport was “hit hard, with what appeared to be sand washed up to parts of the main terminal and the building’s roof extensively damaged,” and remain closed to commercial operations, the runway at SXM was made available to aircraft supporting the relief operations on Sept. 16.

Whilst the very first aircraft to land in St. Maarten after Irma was a KLM Boeing 747-400, one of the rarest jets to operate from the Caribbean airport was probably the U.S. Air Force C-5M Super Galaxy 86-0020 that landed at SXM on Sept. 18. Photographer Marseno Bremer was there and took the stunning shot of the aircraft over Maho Beach that you can find in this post.

Noteworthy, the C-5M that landed at Princess Juliana Airport was the same involved in a nose gear up landing at Rota Air Base in Spain in May 2017.

[Updated] U.S. Air Force C-5 Galaxy Performs Nose Gear Up Landing At Rota Air Base in Spain

As a consequence of a second malfunction of a C-5’s nose landing gear (occurred on Jul. 15), the U.S. Air Force grounded 18 Galaxy cargo planes based at Dover Air Force Base (out of 56 flown by the Air Mobility Command) pending further investigation, on Jul. 18. The grounding was lifted for 5 C-5s at the beginning of August.

Image credit: Marseno Bremer

  • leroy

    An amazing sight to watch one of these behemoths fly. Ask anyone who has been to Travis AFB, which is where I first saw one. For me, it was as exciting as seeing the SR-71, U-2, and of course all fighters in AB at max performance/unrestricted vertical climb during T/O. If you love aviation, you’ll love watching the C-5 during takeoff or even landing (but especially T/O). Put it on your aviation bucket list!

    • TractorEngineer

      I was driving past Hill AFB, Utah one time a few years ago and a C-5 landed right over my car. I didn’t see it until it was right over me. I thought it was landing right on top of my car, just about gave me a heart attack. Being so big, it looked like it was a lot closer to my windshield. Just crazy…

  • Tullido

    Wow, the beach is gone, just rocks now.