C-5 Galaxy Taking Off Looks Like a Beluga Whale Flying Over New Jersey

I know, comparing one of the largest airplanes in existence with a flying whale might seem pretty dumb, but do remember Airbus once made a super transporter called exactly that, Beluga, because it looks exactly like the whale. And you also have to take into account that little thing called pareidolia - that would be the brain’s tendency to form familiar images and patterns where there are none.
C-5 Galaxy taking off 14 photos
Photo: USAF/Tech. Sgt. Matt Hecht
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So yes, to some eyes, including my own, a C-5 Galaxy taking off does seem like a huge metal whale soaring to the sky, looking so massive it makes one wonder how is it possible for it to fly, let alone perform maneuvers.

This trick on our brain is made possible by the angle from which the main pic of this piece was taken (click main photo to enlarge). It shows a Galaxy deployed with the 436th Airlift Wing as it takes off for a flight over New Jersey.

The plane’s home base is Dover AFB in Delaware, the American military’s largest aerial hub. And it has to be that, because the Galaxy, made by Lockheed Martin, is one mammoth of a machine.

Introduced back in the 1970s, the C-5 is one of the main means of intercontinental transport for American troops and hardware. To give you a sense of how massive the thing is, consider it has a wingspan of 222.8 feet (68 meters) and a total length of 247.8 feet (75.53 meters).

And it’s powerful, too. Weighing 380,000 lbs (172,365 kg) when empty, the plane can more than double its weight, being capable of taking off at 920,000 lbs (417,305 kg). So yeah, it’s a whale in some other ways too…

The C-5 family is presently in the middle of an overhauling process that turns each member into what’s known as C-5M Super Galaxy. Lockheed is replacing engines and avionics and hopes to extend the planes’ lives by at least three decades.
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Editor's note: Gallery shows other C-5s.

About the author: Daniel Patrascu
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Daniel loves writing (or so he claims), and he uses this skill to offer readers a "behind the scenes" look at the automotive industry. He also enjoys talking about space exploration and robots, because in his view the only way forward for humanity is away from this planet, in metal bodies.
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