A Galaxy uses every inch of runway 33 at Ilopango airport, El Salvador.
The following footage shows a U.S. Air Force C-5 Galaxy taking off from Ilopango airport, located on the eastern part of the city of San Salvador, El Salvador. The massive cargo aircraft, with a wingspan of 222 ft 9 in (67.89 m), exceeding the runway’s 148 ft (45.1 m), generates a spectacular cloud of dust.
What makes the video really interesting is the fact that the giant American cargo aircraft uses most of runway 33 (2,240m/7,349ft in length), proving the somehow unknown STOL (Short Take Off and Landing) capabilities of the C-5. Needless to say, technically speaking, the Galaxy is not STOL: according to Department of Defense Dictionary of Military and Associated Terms (JP 1-02) to be considered STOL the aircraft has to be able “to clear a 50-foot (15 meters) obstacle within 1,500 feet (450 meters) of commencing takeoff or in landing, to stop within 1,500 feet (450 meters) after passing over a 50-foot (15 meters) obstacle.”
Still, the C-5 has what can be considered excellent field performance for its size and weight. Indeed, according to its aircrews, Galaxy jets can operate out of a 5,000 foot long runway as well as from unimproved surface with substantial fuel and cargo load to support a special operation, even though such missions are nowadays preferably undertaken by C-17 Globemasters.
Please note: the video was filmed in 2011. The reason of the visit to El Salvador is not known.