C-130 Hercules (Walk Around 5531)
By Lou Drendel
Publisher: Squadron-Signal 2003 83 Pages
PDF 43 MB
The Lockheed (now Lockheed Martin) C-130 Hercules is one of the most remarkable aircraft ever built. It is remarkable for its extreme versatility, adaptability, and its as-yet-undetermined longevity.
The US Air Force (USAF) requirement called for a transport that could land on unimproved ground, be extremely rugged, be primarily for cargo transport, and have a troop-carrying capability. It would carry a load of 30,000 pounds (13,608 kg) over a range of 1500 nautical miles (1727.3 miles/2779.7 km). Boeing, Douglas, Fairchild, and Lockheed all responded to the Request for Proposals (RFP) issued on 21 April 1951. The Lockheed proposal, authored by the design team under Willis Hawkins, was accepted on 11 July 1951.
It is worth noting that contemporary high-speed passenger and cargo-carrying capabilities were embodied by the piston-engined Lockheed L-1649 Starliner (Super Constellation) and turboprop powered Lockheed L-188 Electra and Vickers Viscount airliners. Lockheed's proposed transport had a projected cruise speed of 360 mph (579.3 kmh), close to the fastest airliners then in service. It would also carry 40,000 pounds (18,144 kg) of cargo in a fully pressurized cargo compartment. Remarkably, this concept swiftly became a production reality.
The USAF Production Contract for 219 C-130As was issued on 19 September 1952. Lockheed planned to assemble the Hercules at their Marietta, Georgia factory and a full size wooden mockup of the production aircraft was shipped from Burbank, California to Georgia. The first of two prototype YC-130s (53-3396) rolled out of Lockheed's Burbank factory in August of 1954. Stan Bcltz and Roy Wimmer flew the second prototype (53-3397) on the type's first flight on 23 August 1954. The first production Hercules (53-3129) rolled out of the Marietta plant on 10 March 1955 and first flew on 7 April 1955. It was delivered to the 463rd Troop Carrier Wing at Ardmorc Air Force Base (AFB), Oklahoma on 9 December 1955.