The humidity of the air is clearly visible in this picture, nice special effect on this French Air Force C-130. (Image © Dennis Spronk)

Carrying the world

This RAF C-130K is seen here at Brussels' Melsbroek airport, only a month ago. (Image © Dennis Spronk)
This RAF C-130K is seen here at Brussels’ Melsbroek airport in September 2013. (Image © Dennis Spronk)

Congratulations to you, dear reader! Why? Well, if over the past decades there ever was a truly universal aircraft involved in humanitarian relief efforts, it is the Lockheed C-130 Hercules, and precisely that aircraft flew for the the first time on 23 August 1954, exactly 60 years ago today. Yes, it did play its part in military conflict as well, but the Hercules did above all make it its mark by helping humankind all over. That’s worth congratulations!

The trusty drone of those four Allison T56 engines sounded for the first time when on 23 August 1954, the very first YC-130 took off from the Lockheed factory in Burbank, California, and landed at Edwards Air Force Base, California, after a 61 minute flight. Little could the people watching have known they were witnessing the birth of an iconic aircraft, with about 2,500 produced so far.

The type is in use with over 70 countries, serving at tactical transporter, air refueler, reconnaissance and intelligence platform, flying weather station or airborne gunship. A more extreme version was a VSTOL version, tested for freeing US hostages in Iran.

Super Hercules
The C-130 was copied by the Soviets in the shape of the Antonov An-12, which also became a successful aircraft. The legacy of the Hercules is however carried on by the C-130J Super Hercules, it’s engines however lacking the familiar sound of the older Hercules and therefore lacking some of the unmistakable Hercules character.

To celebrate 60 years of C-130 Hercules, we rounded up all of the Hercules images in the Airheadsfly.com media gallery, and put together the selection you’re about the see below here.

© 2014 Airheadsfly.com editor Elmer van Hest

The humidity of the air s clearly visible in this picture, nice special effect. (Image © Dennis Spronk)
The humidity of the air s clearly visible in this picture, nice special effect. (Image © Dennis Spronk)
A RNLAF C-130H Hercules, beloning to 336 Squadron based at Eindhoven (Image © Elmer van Hest)
A RNLAF C-130H Hercules, belonging to 336 Squadron based at Eindhoven (Image © Elmer van Hest)
Finally! Hercules can do an Elephant walk too! (Image © Dennis Spronk)
Hercules can do an elephant walk too! (Image © Dennis Spronk)
A view from the top of a Austrian C-130 Hercules.(Image © Elmer van Hest)
A wide angle view from the top of a Austrian C-130 Hercules. (Image © Elmer van Hest)
A Swedish TP 84  Hercules, seen here in 2006. (Image © Elmer van Hest)
A Swedish TP 84 Hercules, seen here in 2006. (Image © Elmer van Hest)
A Polish Air Force C-130E at Erbil in Northern Iraq on 17 or 18 August 2014 (Image © Polish Ministry of Defence)
A Polish Air Force C-130E at Erbil in northern Iraq in August 2014 (Image © Polish Ministry of Defence)
This C-130H is impatienly waiting for it's crew, because it wants to FLY, even it already serves the Belgian Air Force for 40 years now! (Image © Dennis Spronk)
A Belgian C-130 Hercules on the ground at Brussels airport. (Image © Dennis Spronk)
The long version of the Hercules is called C-130-30, or Hercules C3P in RAF service. This aircraft is seen landing at Deelen, the Netherlands, in 1993. (Image © Elmer van Hest)
The long version of the Hercules is called C-130-30, or Hercules C3P in RAF service. This aircraft is seen landing at Deelen, the Netherlands, in 1993. (Image © Elmer van Hest)
Philippine forces unload food and water from a Philippine Air Force C-130 for transfer to waiting US helicopters, which will delivered the goods to remote locations throughout Panay Island in June 2008. (Image © Senior Chief Mass Communication Specialist Spike Call / US Navy)
Philippine forces unload food and water from a Philippine Air Force C-130 for transfer to waiting US helicopters, which will delivered the goods to remote locations throughout Panay Island in June 2008. (Image © Senior Chief Mass Communication Specialist Spike Call / US Navy)
Present day: a brand new Lockheed Martin C-130J Hercules from Oman. (Image © Elmer van Hest)
Present day: a brand new Lockheed Martin C-130J Hercules from Oman. (Image © Elmer van Hest)
The first C-130J Shimson of the Israeli Air & Space Force (Image © Lockheed Martin)
The first C-130J Shimson of the Israeli Air & Space Force (Image © Lockheed Martin)
Two CC-130 Hercules aircraft refuel in Resolute Bay, Nunavut, during Operation Nunalivut 2013 (Image © Corporal Pierre Letourneau / DND-MDN Canada)
Two CC-130 Hercules aircraft refuel in Resolute Bay, Nunavut, during Operation Nunalivut 2013 (Image © Corporal Pierre Letourneau / DND-MDN Canada)
KoreanC-130JsDepart-1
Two ROKAF C-130Js taxi for departure. (Image © Lockheed Martin / John Rossino)