Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Flight Journal 06/2013

ONLY ONCE IN HISTORY has an intercontinental ballistic missile — an ICBM — been launched from an aircraft in flight. It happened October 24, 1974 when a C-5A Galaxy from Dover Air Force Base, Delaware, launched a 60-foot, 78,000-pound LGM-30F Minuteman II ICBM from its cargo ramp high over the Pacific Ocean. Now, the C-5A (serial no. 69-0014) is on its way to the Air Mobility Command Museum at Dover. With a wingspan over 222 feet and a maximum takeoff weight of 840,000 pounds, the Galaxy will become the museum's largest display item. "People will be fascinated by this huge aircraft," museum Director Michael Leister told Flight Journal. Amid heightened Cold War tensions, the United States and the Soviet Union were searching for ways to make their ICBMs less vulnerable, including launching them from railway trains or from aircraft in flight.