On Jul. 25, 2019, a U.S. Air Force C-5M Super Galaxy (example #60015) performed an evening landing at Oshkosh, Wisconsin, where the yearly EAA AirVenture Airshow was underway.
The aircraft brakes started smoking after landing then a fire started after the aircraft maneuvered to vacate the runway and taxi to the apron.
“The C-5 Galaxy just arriving on Boeing Plaza had a small brake fire. The Oshkosh ARFF unit quickly extinguished the fire and there were no injuries. The airport operations crew are working to clean up any residual items,” reported at the statement of Wittman Airport.
No one was injured and the plane did not sustain any significant damage, according to officials at the Experimental Aircraft Association’s AirVenture fly-in convention.
According to Northwestern Media, the fire started in the plane’s wheel area while parked on the taxiway after landing. The fire was quickly doused by the airport fire team and volunteers at Boeing Plaza.
The U.S. Air Force C-5 Galaxy airlifter is equipped with a complex Main Landing Gear (MLG) made of four main units fitted in tandem pairs, each with a six-wheel bogie with two forward and four rear wheels.
While the MLG is pretty unique, as the gear rotates 90 degrees horizontally to be accomodated inside the bays when retracted, the heat from the brakes can result in extreme temperatures that can cause fire associated with the tire or wheel and brake assembly, as happens to any other kind of landing gear.
An aircraft braking system works by converting the kinetic energy of a moving aircraft into heat. The heat is generated by friction between the rotating and the stationary components of the brake assemblies (as well as the friction of tyres on the runway surface): if the heat becomes excessive, a fire in the braking assembly or tyres may occur.
Should a fire develop because of “hot” brakes, cooling is usually obtained by responders using water or foam or halon cannons. As happened at Oshkosh, where fire was estinguished by an airport firefighting team.
The C-5M Super Galaxy is a strategic transport aircraft and is the largest aircraft in the Air Force inventory. Its primary mission is to transport cargo and personnel for the Department of Defense. The C-5M is a modernized version of the legacy C-5 designed and manufactured by Lockheed Martin.
Currently, the U.S. Air Force owns and operates 52 C-5B/C/M. They are stationed at Dover AFB, Delaware; Travis AFB, California; Lackland AFB, Texas; and Westover Air Reserve Base, Massachusetts.
Image credit: screenshot from Tian Lawson video