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C-5 landing not a big deal, officials say

December 06, 2006|by DAVE McMILLION

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. - A pilot who was onboard a C-5 transport plane that landed at a local Air National Guard base Monday with only three of its four engines running said Tuesday he has confidence the plane will be "up and running in no time."

Col. Roger Nye said he was one of two pilots flying the C-5 to the 167th Airlift Wing at Eastern West Virginia Regional Airport when a computer sensor system alerted the crew to a vibration in one of the engines.

The alert was made while the plane was en route to the local base from Altus Air Force base in Oklahoma, Capt. Melissa Shade of the 167th Airlift Wing said.

The computer sensor system recommended a "precautionary engine shutdown," which the crew followed, Nye said.

The C-5 can fly with three engines and the aircraft landed safely at the local airport south of Martinsburg about 3 p.m., according to officials with the 167th.

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Nye did not say Tuesday what he thought might have been causing the vibration in the engine, but he said maintenance crews took the plane and will be correcting it, Nye said.

"(They will) have it up in running in no time, I'm sure," Nye said.

Officials with the 167th said Tuesday that the engine vibration was nothing to worry about and emphasized that the C-5 has one of the safest flying records with only three crashes since the plane's debut in 1967.

Nye said the incident was a scenario that crews practice for all the time in their flight training.

"It's not a big deal. The plane was handling very well," Nye said.

Shade said the airport's runway was shut down for about 45 minutes, which is standard procedure when a C-5 arrives.

The local West Virginia Air National Guard unit is switching its fleet to the massive C-5, one of the largest aircraft in the world.

The 167th Airlift Wing is expected to receive its first five C-5s from Altus Air Force base and the remaining planes will come from an air reserve unit in Massachusetts, Shade has said.

A ceremony is scheduled at the local air guard base Sunday at 1 p.m. to celebrate the arrival of the first C-5. Gov. Joe Manchin is expected to attend, according to a news release from his office.

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