The Magnificent C130

Some Facts and Figures:

Contractor: Lockheed Martin

First Flight: August 1954

Engines (C-130H): Four Rolls Royce-AllisonT56-A-15 turboprops, each 4300 shp

Accommodation (C-130H): Crew of five; up to 92 troops, 64 paratroops, 74 litter patients plus attendants, 54 passengers on palletized seating, or up to five standard freight pallets.

Dimensions: span 132 feet 7 inches, length 97 feet 9 inches, height 38 feet 1 inch

Weight (C-130H): 81,000 lbs empty, max gross with fuel/cargo 155,000 lbs
Ceiling: 33,000 feet at 100,000 lbs takeoff weight

Performance (C-130H): max cruising speed 385 mph; TO run 3,585 feet; landing run 1,700 feet; range with 40,000 lb payload 2,240 miles

Note: the C-130J has increased speed of about 21%, cruising altitude capability is about 40% higher, and the range is about 40% longer. It also features improved reliability and maintainability.

Attribution: I am not a C-130 man, though I do have great respect for the aircraft and the men (and now women) who fly it, especially those who have ridden the Herk to see the Elephant in combat. They were and are brave people, indeed. I am an old Phantom pilot, but I was asked to write a brief note about the C-130 by a friend whose father was a Herk pilot in Vietnam and who made the supreme sacrifice for his country while trying valiantly to support ground troops in contact. I was interested because I lost a very close friend on that mission also. The information I have used for this bit came from AIR FORCE MAGAZINE, May 2001. My own lack of knowledge of the intricacies of theater airlift in general, and of C-130 operations in particular could, as they say, fill books. I beg the pardon of every Herk man and woman for any inaccuracies resulting from my ignorance.

Col James M. Morgan USAF, Ret