Air Mobility Command has 42 of its 56 C-5 cargo planes up and running after a standdown this summer.
AMC’s commander Gen. Carlton Everhart told reporters on Tuesday at the Air Force Association’s annual conference that 14 of the aircraft are in the overhaul process, with maintainers working on an expedited timeline to deem them compliant.
Everhart ordered a fleet-wide maintenance assessment this summer after nose landing gear malfunctioned on two C-5s based out of Dover Air Force Base in Delaware.
Since then, maintainers have worked fast to inspect and maintain most of the aircraft, speeding up what normally takes 12-16 hours per plane, Everhart said.
The nose landing gear malfunctioned internally, Everhart said, which is why external inspections didn’t prompt concern.
“If it fails internally, how do you know it fails? Well, the airplane doesn’t land right,” he said.
Everhart showed reporters a proper landing gear bearing compared with one that malfunctioned. That gear was broken to bits.
Everhart also discussed the KC-46 Pegasus refueling tanker, saying that although the deficiency reports could delay the delivery timeline, he thinks once the aircraft start getting on the ramp, “they’re going to clear out pretty quick” to the appropriate bases.
On the personnel side, Everhart said he wants to pursue an aviator career path as a way to retain pilots amid the national pilot shortage.
“What I envision is you come into the military, and after so many years, you say, ‘Hey instead of getting out, I want to stay in and just fly,’ ” he said.
Everhart said he’s working with Headquarters Air Force on the details but doesn’t have an exact timeline.
“I want to start sooner than later because it‘s one of the things [airmen] are asking for,” he said.