Watch A C-5 Galaxy Perform A “Short Take Off” From A Runway In Central America

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.

About David Cenciotti
David Cenciotti is a journalist based in Rome, Italy. He is the Founder and Editor of “The Aviationist”, one of the world’s most famous and read military aviation blogs. Since 1996, he has written for major worldwide magazines, including Air Forces Monthly, Combat Aircraft, and many others, covering aviation, defense, war, industry, intelligence, crime and cyberwar. He has reported from the U.S., Europe, Australia and Syria, and flown several combat planes with different air forces. He is a former 2nd Lt. of the Italian Air Force, a private pilot and a graduate in Computer Engineering. He has written five books and contributed to many more ones.