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Emergency Landing At Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland Rekindles Safety Fears

Wikimedia Commons http://bit.ly/2pirEf1
Aircraft maintenance personnel tow a U.S. Air Force C-5M Super Galaxy aircraft

An Air Force cargo plane made an emergency landing at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland Thursday afternoon after a training mission. Eleven personnel from the 433rd Airlift Wing were onboard, but no injuries were reported.  

The cause of the incident? A nose landing gear malfunction which left the plane hobbled on the flight line, said military officials.

“It's not sitting all the way up,” said Maj. Timothy Wade of the 433rd Airlift Wing, which houses and maintains eight of the Reserve C-5M Super Galaxy planes in San Antonio. “It's kind of like when you see a car and it has a flat and it's kind of leaning one way or another. ... It makes it look odd.”

In August 2017, the Air Force temporarily grounded all 56 of its C-5's because they had similar problems.  

The event is currently under investigation and is being treated as an isolated incident, Wade said. Meanwhile, the rest of the local fleet is still in operation, and the National Transportation Safety Board, Air Mobility Command, and Air Force Reserve Command are looking into what happened.

Wade said it's important to keep the planes flying since so many trainees depend on them.

“Any setback delays their graduation and delays getting those individuals back to their units and back out there flying the mission,” he said. “So it's not just the impact of our unit, but it also impacts other units in having those available pilots, flight engineers and loadmasters as well."

JBSA-Lackland is the schoolhouse for all the C-5 crews in the Air Force. Last year, 164 students graduated from the training program. The C-5s flew just over 300 local missions.

For Wade, seeing the flight crew and the plane safely on the ground was cause for thanks.

“You're just more grateful that everyone's safe, there's no serious damage to civilian or government property, or lives lost,” he said. “Thank God no one passed away.”

Carson Frame can be reached at carson@tpr.org or on Twitter @carson_frame

Carson Frame was Texas Public Radio's military and veterans' issues reporter from July 2017 until March 2024.