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Westover C-5s airlift more Chinooks for earthquake relief

WESTOVER AIR RESERVE BASE, Mass. -- A third C-5 aircrew from the 439th Airlift Wing here left Oct. 18 to take more help to earthquake-ravaged Pakistan.

The C-5 picked up two Army CH-47 helicopters at Fort Sill, Okla., and then flew to Spain with help from aerial refueling along the way over the Atlantic Ocean.

The C-5 is the largest transport aircraft in the Air Force and is capable of airlifting two Chinooks.

Each chopper weighs between 20,000 and 30,000 pounds. While the total weight of the two helicopters is light enough for the C-5 to carry, the Chinooks’ height is 13 feet, just five inches shy of the C-5’s cargo deck height.

For at least one of the crew members, this relief mission was a change of pace from the long overseas missions flown by the C-5 aircrews.

“This is something I wanted to do,” said Senior Airman Stephen E. Pinkerton, who is flying his first relief mission. “I chose to get on this mission versus just a regular channel mission. It’s just something different.”

The Air Force Reserve Command C-5 wing flew its second mission supporting the earthquake relief Oct. 15. That flight went to Robert Gray Army Airfield in Texas before heading to Spain and on to Pakistan.

The first mission left Oct. 14 for Hickam Air Force Base, Hawaii, where the C-5 picked up two CH-47s, and flew them to Spain. The Oct. 18 flight was the 13th humanitarian mission flown by Westover’s crews since late August.

Westover crews flew 10 missions in late August and September. Nine of those were for the relief efforts for Hurricane Katrina, while one was for the victims of Hurricane Rita. The C-5s hauled a total of 396 tons of cargo.

One historic mission Sept. 2 saw a C-5 airlift 200 evacuees from Louis B. Armstrong Airport in New Orleans, La., to Fort Smith, Ark.