Wednesday, June 17, 2015

When tour guides become tourists

by Airman 1st Class Zachary Cacicia
436th Airlift Wing Public Affairs

6/16/2015 - DOVER AIR FORCE BASE, Del. -- A group of volunteers, used to teaching the air mobility mission, were recently given the opportunity to learn about advancements in Team Dover's largest aircraft.

A group of 16 volunteers from the Air Mobility Command Museum toured a static C-5M Super Galaxy airlifter with 9th Airlift Squadron crew members providing their knowledge June 13, 2015, on the flight line at Dover Air Force Base, Delaware.

"This was a great opportunity for the volunteers to learn more about the new C-5M," said Mike Leister, AMC Museum director. "When giving visitors a tour of our C-5A [Galaxy], they can tell the differences between the older aircraft and the new more capable C-5M."

Since October 2013, the AMC Museum has housed a C-5A Galaxy. This tour gave the museum volunteers a valuable learning experience, teaching them about the new capabilities of the "M" model aircraft. This will allow them to better educate the general public when museum visitors ask questions when touring the museum's C-5A.

The C-5 series of aircraft have been in service for over 40 years, and has been upgraded to be able to continue its service for the next 40 years. With the addition of the new Reliability Enhancement and Re-engining Program (RERP), older C-5 "A" and "B" models have been re-equipped with four General Electric Aviation CF6-80C2 engines, a modernized digital cockpit, communications, enhanced navigation and safety equipment, and an all-weather flight control system. After these upgrades are made, the reequipped aircraft is re-designated as a C-5M Super Galaxy.

Many of the museum volunteers are Air Force veterans, and a few of them served as pilots, loadmasters and flight engineers on C-5s during their time in the military. One former flight engineer, Paul Roy, a retired chief master sergeant, was one of the volunteers who toured the C-5M.

"It was a privilege to be a crew member on these wonderful airplanes," said Roy.

Roy spent 20 years of his Air Force career stationed at Dover AFB, 18 of which he worked as a flight engineer on board "A" and "B" model C-5s and he logged nearly 11,000 flight hours.

Speaking about the C-5M model, Roy said that he was impressed with the upgrades that have been made, and  that the flight deck is vastly different from when he served.

"Well, I sure wish we had back then, the engines they have on this thing now," Roy said. "The capability of this airplane is so much better and all of the automation in the cockpit is fascinating."

Compared to the C-5 Galaxies, the C-5M Super Galaxies have a greater dependability, efficiency, maintainability and accessibility. This has decreased the total operating costs of the heavy strategic lift aircraft.

Many of the volunteers now believe that they have a greater knowledge of the "M" models and will be able to pass along the educational experience to museum visitors.

"When we do tours of the C-5A at the museum, a lot of folks are asking us what are the differences between this "A" model and the "M" model on the other side of base?," Roy said. "Well, now after today, I feel like I'm coming away from the 'M' model with a lot more knowledge then I had before."

The primary mission of the AMC Museum is to collect, preserve and exhibit the artifacts and human stories significant to the development and employment of military airlift and refueling in the U.S. Air Force and the U.S. Army Air Force. The second closely aligned mission is to portray the rich history of Dover AFB and its predecessor, the Dover Army Airfield. The museum makes this history available and attractive to both civilian and military personnel, so that in an increasingly complex society, the role of total force, veterans, operations and equipment is understood and appreciated for their value to the nation.

The volunteers were very impressed with the tour that they were provided. They have wanted to do it for a while and would like to thank everyone that was involved.

"Every one of the volunteers was very enthused with the level of information they got," Leister said. "The fact the flight crew tailored the tour to meet what they needed to help our visitors; it was a great win-win situation."

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