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.
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