October 24th, 2011 By Air Force News Agency, DEFENCE TALK
Planners here teamed with planners from the U.S. Transportation Command and the aircrew of a C-5M Super Galaxy Sept. 25 and 26 to open a new nonstop route from the U.S. to Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan.
The aircrew members and aircraft originated from the 436th Airlift Wing at Dover Air Force Base, Del.
The flight marked the first time a C-5 has flown this route from the United States East Coast, across the Atlantic Ocean, then over Europe into Afghanistan, officials said. The total flight time was less than 14 hours, cutting time off of traditional routing and eliminating the need for crews to rest overnight in Germany. The new route also enhances the ability of air mobility forces to respond worldwide despite challenging environments including volcanoes, floods, natural disasters or weather-related diversions.
"This was a huge collaborative effort," said Harold Guckin, the chief planner for the Contingency Channel Operations Directorate here. "My schedulers worked closely with flight managers from the command and control directorate, and we all worked tirelessly with the operations group at Dover (AFB) to get the mission planned."
The success of the flight also required in-flight refueling over England by a KC-135R Stratotanker from the 100th Air Refueling Wing at Royal Air Force Mildenhall, England.
With its ability to carry more than any other aircraft, the C-5 has been an aviation workhorse for the Air Force since the 1970s and is critical to the success of global mobility operations, officials said. The new route not only showcased the capabilities of the airframe, but also supported ongoing Department of Defense efficiency initiatives by providing both an increase in airlift velocity and a reduced mobility footprint.
According to officials here, planners at the 618th AOC (TACC) are constantly looking for innovative solutions that allow the mobility Air Force to be good stewards of the resources entrusted to them by the American taxpayer.
"The 618th AOC (TACC) is the hub for mobility operations, said Brig. Gen. Dewey Everhart, the 618th AOC (TACC) commander. "It is our responsibility to ensure that those we serve can succeed in their mission. This new route provides invaluable options and increased flexibility, so air mobility assets can arrive where they're needed faster and more efficiently."