CHICOPEE, Mass. (WWLP) – It’s the end of era, but also, the beginning of a new one at Westover Air Reserve Base in Chicopee.
You’ll see them, but you may not hear them, at least not nearly as loud as they used to be. Westover has 8 C-5 cargo planes. They are the A-model.
7 of them are being upgraded to at Lockheed Martin, the final one will leave on Wednesday. When they all return they’ll be the M-model with an upgraded, quieter engine that’s easier on the ears and easier for the military to maintain.
Master Sgt. Andrew Biscoe told 22News, “Many people have been used to the sound of these big airplanes since they’ve been here in 1987. When these new M-models get here, which we are expecting in the spring. People are going to look up in the sky and wonder if it’s the same airplane.”
Westover has old loaner C-5’s that will be used for training purposes until the new ones are back on the flight line. They’ll also be getting a new flight simulator. The C-5 cargo plane is the biggest plane in the Air Force. It can carry 265,000 pounds. They have been in operation since 1970 and the military plans to use them until 2040.
Each upgraded C-5 costs about $90-million, money that comes out of the federal defense budget.