November 17, 2008

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Future of Stewart Guard’s aircraft up in the air

Days may be numbered for the C-5A, a familiar site in the skies
around Stewart Airport

STEWART AIRPORT – Whether or not the New York Air National Guard Base at Stewart Airport has its fleet of C-5A cargo planes retired and replaced with newer C-17 jets remains to be seen.

But, the state commander of the Air National Guard supports converting to the C-17 fleet.

Maj. Gen. Robert Knauff told that the decision is up to the Air Force, but his vote would go to replacing the Vietnam era C-5As with the C17s.

“These airplanes were built 40 years ago and any piece of metal that is bent for 40 years eventually is going to break, and more and more, the more we fly these airplanes, the more problems they have. It’s not fatal. It’s not a horrible flaw but it gets more and more expensive; it gets more difficult and more and more, we are spending resources on old things rather than spend them on new things,” he said. “So, the question comes, do we spend that money to keep the old C-5s flying or do we spend that money to get the new airplanes here? My vote is always with the new airplane and the new mission. If I have anything to do with it, we’ll be seeing new airplanes at Stewart.”

Knauff said the Air Guard 105th at Stewart has the best performance of any C-5A unit in the entire Air Force.


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