Dover's colossal craft is a popular plane at Berlin air show

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Andria J. Allmond
  • 512th Airlift Wing Public Affairs
It's good to be the biggest kid on the playground. That's especially true if that "kid" can carry Christopher Columbus' entire three-ship crew while holding 100 Volkswagens Beetles.

Ten Team Dover aircrew members got to display the airlift power of the C-5 Galaxy during the International Aerospace Exhibition 2010 Berlin Air Show held on the Berlin-Schönefeld Airport, Berlin, Germany, June 8 - 13.

The event was divided into two segments. The initial three days composed a trade show featuring vendors and members of the aviation industry and press. The last three days were open to the general public and featured aerial demonstrations and exhibits.

"This air show provided us with a unique opportunity," said Maj. Tim Morris, 512th Operations Group tactics officer who led the crew composed of flyers and maintainers from the 512th and 436th Airlift Wings. "We're used to operational missions where moving cargo is our primary task. While we had that mentality going into this, once we got set up it was all about showing off our airlift asset to the public."

And show-off they did.

The C-5, the largest aircraft in the Air Force's fleet, drew a lot of attention from the air show attendees.

"People were shocked at how big this aircraft really is," said Tech. Sgt Benjamin Fay, 709th Airlift Squadron loadmaster and air show participant. "Our aircraft had a big draw. There were long lines of people waiting to take a tour of it. We had about 3,000 people per day, with crewmembers escorting five people at a time. They weren't only amazed by the size, but also that this airframe was designed in the 1960's, and we may even get 40 more years out of the C-5M (Super Galaxy)."

Members of the general public touring the aircraft were granted a first-hand view of the flight deck, troop compartment and a cargo area large enough to hold an eight-lane bowling alley. Crew members provided a show-and-tell experience for visitors, who were able to ask questions during the tour.

"Even with the people who didn't speak English, you could tell by their faces they were in awe," said Major Morris, Dover's Reserve and active-duty mission commander. "We tried to communicate the best we could, since we had so many interested people."

To keep up with public demand to see the aircraft, the crew put in 12-hour days without scheduled breaks -- rain or shine.

Although the days were long, the crew was motivated by the energy from the crowds, said Sergeant Fay.

"You feel that energy and it's kind of contagious," he said.

Held every other year on the site of the future Single Airport Berlin Brandenburg International, the event showcased 1,153 exhibitors from 47 countries' aerospace industries. Each presented current and future products and services, featuring advanced technology for aviation and the space sector over the 61.776-acre exhibition site.

Approximately 90 U.S. military aircrew and support members from bases in Europe and the U.S. participated by showcasing the B-1B Lancer, C-130J Hercules, C-17 Globemaster III, C-5, KC-135 Stratotanker and B-52 Stratofortress to approximately 200,000 visitors.

But for the Dover AFB aircrew, seeing the other aircraft on display only made them appreciate their copious ride even more.

"When we see what the other aircrew are flying, it makes us remember how good we have it," said Sergeant Fay. "Of course we're going to be partial to our own aircraft--everyone is. But, there's no one out there who flies in comfort like we do. We're on top."