You will be redirected to the page you want to view in  seconds.

C-5M winglets could save fuel costs in big way

Dec. 1, 2012 - 09:08AM   |   Last Updated: Dec. 1, 2012 - 09:08AM  |  
Air Force C-17 Globemaster IIIs like these are unique among airlifters because they have winglets, vertical add-ons to the wings to reduce drag.
Air Force C-17 Globemaster IIIs like these are unique among airlifters because they have winglets, vertical add-ons to the wings to reduce drag. (Tech. Sgt. Shane A. Cuomo / Air Force)
  • Filed Under

Vertical add-ons to the wings of massive C-5Ms could save about 2.8 million gallons of fuel per year, according to a team of researchers who just completed wind tunnel tests on the aircraft.

The team, from Lockheed Martin, the Air Force Research Laboratory and the Arnold Engineering Development Complex at Arnold Air Force Base, Tenn., attached winglets, the vertical add-ons, to the wings of a 10-foot-wide model of a C-5M Super Galaxy. Winglets reduce drag on an aircraft by altering the airflow off the plane's wingtips, which can improve fuel efficiency during takeoff and cruising. After completing the wind tunnel tests in November, Lockheed officials predicted a fuel savings of 4 percent, or 2.8 million gallons of fuel per year, if the winglets were installed on the Air Force's 52 C-5Ms.

"This looks like it would be a good enhancement for the airplane if the Air Force would like to take the next step," said Jack O'Banion, Lockheed's director of air mobility improvements and derivatives.

The idea came through testing of similar winglets on the C-130 Hercules, O'Banion said. Winglets are already on C-17 Globemaster IIIs and many commercial jets.

The program came from an energy efficiency contract from the Air Force to collect data on the aerodynamics, reduction of stability control and pressure changes from adding winglets, said Eddie Fletcher, the electronic principal engineer for the program at Lockheed Martin. During the test, the C-5M model was placed in a 16-foot wind tunnel at the Arnold Engineering Development Complex.

The winglet designed by Lockheed Martin would not increase the width of the C-5, important given that there are few facilities large enough to fit the large plane.

The Air Force has been flying the C-5 Galaxy since it was first operational in 1970, and the jumbo jet has undergone little change since then, other than the engine and cockpit upgrades for C-5M Super Galaxys.

"We have not fundamentally altered the shape of the C-5 since it was created in the '60s," O'Banion said.

The Air Force flies 88 C-5s of all variants. Long-term plans call for flying 52 of the upgraded C-5Ms with an expected service life of beyond 2040.

Answers by RallyPoint

Join trending discussions in the military's #1 professional community. See what members like yourself have to say from across the DoD.

More In News

Start your day with a roundup of top defense news.

VA Home Loan

Search By:

Product Options:
Zip Code:

News for your in-box

Sign up now for free Military Times E-Reports. Choose from Money and Education. Subscribers: log in for premium e-newsletters.

This Week's Air Force Times

This Week's Air Force Times

CrossFit vs. unit PT
Troops will do the training plans in a $2.5 million study

Subscribe for Print or Digital delivery today!

MilitaryTimes Green Trusted Classifieds Looking to buy, sell and connect on Military Times?
Browse expanded listings across hundreds of military installations.
Faces of valorHonoring those who fought and died in Operations Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom.
hall of valorThe Hall of Valor is a searchable database of valor award citations collected by Doug Sterner, a Vietnam veteran and Military Times contributing editor, and by Military Times staff.
Woman who cried rape
(3 replies)
   Last Post: TJMAC77SP
        May 3, 2014 1:32 PM
   Last Post: garhkal
        May 1, 2014 5:03 PM
Cliven Bundy
(45 replies)
   Last Post: Chief_KO
        Apr 26, 2014 9:49 AM

All you need to know about your military benefits.

Benefits handbook

Guard & Reserve All you need to know about the Guard & Reserve.

guard and reserve handbook