More below the Orange Omnilepticon.
I'll let the plaques tell the story. Here's the capsule history of the Hercules:
Here's a couple of more photos of "City of Ardmore" showing the classic Hercules physique: 4 turboprop engines, landing gear suited for rough fields, a cockpit with a lot of glass, an upswept body at the rear incorporating a ramp/door combination for quick loading, unloading, and air drops…
A FOX News story on the anniversary includes a remarkable story of a feat pulled off by the last Hercules out of Saigon - and of one of the people it carried. (Video at the link)
ATLANTA – Tim Nguyen regards the C-130 “Hercules” as a “good friend.” The 60-year-old military aircraft has been the focus of his professional career, and quite possibly saved his life.emphasis added
During the 1975 Fall of Saigon, Nguyen -- then serving in the South Vietnamese air force -- escaped on the last C-130 out of Vietnam. During a lull in enemy fire, he emerged from a bunker at Tan Son Nhut Air Base to see the last flyable C-130 stopping and going on the taxiway.
The aircraft’s rear ramp was still open, apparently weighed down by the crowd of people standing on it.
“Every time (the pilot) jammed on the brake, it pushed the passengers forward,” Nguyen recalled. “It created more space in the back… So, I jumped in. Everybody jumped in. And a few minutes after that, the ramp door closed and we taxied out and departed.”
The plane landed safely at a U.S. air base in Thailand. Nguyen said the American soldiers there were visibly surprised as they watched 452 people disembark from a single plane.
The "J" model Hercules is the current stock version being served up by Lockheed Martin. Here's a couple of pictures of a C-130J shooting touch and goes at Dyess AFB. Notice the extended fuselage and the six-bladed props.
Early on, there were doubters.
It was the first flight of the C-130 Hercules prototype. The bulky, propeller-driven aircraft looked behind its time in an era when sleek jet planes were the new thing in aviation. No one imagined the many uses and longevity the plane would have.It looks like C-130s will be flying for some time to come. Happy Anniversary!
Famed Lockheed designer Kelly Johnson was one skeptic. He predicted that only 100 C-130s would be built. As of this year, the total production number is about 2,500, according to Lockheed Martin. The company was Lockheed when the C-130 first flew and later merged with Martin.
The C-130 is still being produced today, as it has been from the start, at the company’s plant in Marietta. The company says it has been continuously produced longer than any aircraft in military history. It is commonly referred to as the “workhorse” of the Air Force.