31 August 2007

RAF looses another C-130, Crew safe...

The RAF had another blow yesterday when after a reported heavy landing on an unsecured strip outside of Kabul. The C-130K was based out of RAF Lyneham in 47 squadron. I am getting word that it was XV205, a special forces modified aircraft knows as the C-130K, C.1. If this is the case, I have flown in her back in 1998 or 99. A great little airplane.

I am just very glad that everyone was alright.

Here is the BBC video

30 August 2007

Plane carrying Shelby and Cramer fired on above Iraq

A C-130 aircraft carrying an Alabama senator and congressman was fired on this evening as it was flying from Baghdad to Amman, Jordan.

The airplane was carrying Sen. Richard Shelby, R-Ala., and Rep. Bud Cramer, D-Huntsville, and two other senators.

Three rockets were shot at the plane and were "near misses," Shelby said in a telephone interview. He said the pilot took evasive maneuvers to avoid the rockets. The plane landed safely in Amman at about 4 p.m. central.

"I was looking out the window, a little small window, and I saw a shell or something," Shelby said. "And then I see a flare. Our plane started maneuvering and changing directions and shaking all around."

24 August 2007

On Deck with the Hercules: or, "LOOK MA, NO HOOK"

OK, I felt sort of bad about bagging on "TheNavy" the other day...It was all fun and games, see, I grew up in a Navy town, and to top it off, my Pops was a Jarhead (way before I trickled out)

Ahhh those days I remember riding my bike up to the approach end of the runways at Miramar and having the landing F-14As just a few feet over my head...great days, OK, I guess I sort of like "TheNavy" guys n' gals.

One of the coolest things ever done with a C-130!!

C-130 Hercules Lands on U.S.S. Forrestal

When one reviews the encyclopedic range of accomplishments by the C-130 Hercules and its valiant aircrews over the years, surely one of the most astounding took place in October 1963 when the U.S. Navy decided to try to land a Hercules on an aircraft carrier. Was it possible? Who would believe that the big, four-engine C-130 with its bulky fuselage and 132-foot wing span could land on the deck of a carrier?

Not only was it possible, it was done in moderately rough seas 500 miles out in the North Atlantic off the coast of Boston. In so doing, the airplane became the largest and heaviest aircraft to ever land on an aircraft carrier, a record that stands to this day.

When Lt. James H. Flatley III was told about his new assignment, he thought somebody was pulling his leg. "Operate a C-130 off an aircraft carrier? Somebody's got to be kidding," he said. But they weren't kidding. In fact, the Chief of Naval Operations himself had ordered a feasibility study on operating the big propjet aboard the Norfolk-based U.S.S. Forrestal (CVA-59). The Navy was trying to find out whether they could use the Hercules as a "Super COD" - a "Carrier Onboard Delivery" aircraft. The airplane then used for such tasks was the Grumman C-1 Trader, a twin piston-engine bird with a limited payload capacity and 300-mile range. If an aircraft carrier is operating in mid-ocean, it has no "onboard delivery" system to fall back on and must come nearer land before taking aboard even urgently needed items. The Hercules was stable and reliable, with a long cruising range and capable of carrying large payloads.

The aircraft, a KC-130F refueler transport (BuNo 149798), on loan from the U.S. Marines, was delivered on 8 October. Lockheed's only modifications to the original plane included installing a smaller nose-landing gear orifice, an improved anti-skid braking system, and removal of the underwing refueling pods. "The big worry was whether we could meet the maximum sink rate of nine feet per second," Flatley said. As it turned out, the Navy was amazed to find they were able to better this mark by a substantial margin.

In addition to Flatley, the crew consisted of Lt.Cmdr. W.W. Stovall, copilot; ADR-1 E.F. Brennan, flight engineer; and Lockheed engineering flight test pilot Ted H. Limmer, Jr. The initial sea-born landings on 30 October 1963 were made into a 40-knot wind. Altogether, the crew successfully negotiated 29 touch-and-go landings, 21 unarrested full-stop landings, and 21 unassisted takeoffs at gross weights of 85,000 pounds up to 121,000 pounds. At 85,000 pounds, the KC-130F came to a complete stop within 267 feet, about twice the aircraft's wing span! The Navy was delighted to discover that even with a maximum payload, the plane used only 745 feet for takeoff and 460 feet for landing roll. The short landing roll resulted from close coordination between Flatley and Jerry Daugherty, the carrier's landing signal officer. Daugherty, later to become a captain and assigned to the Naval Air Systems Command, gave Flatley an engine "chop" while still three or four feet off the deck.

Lockheed's Ted Limmer, who checked out fighter pilot Flatley in the C-130, stayed on for some of the initial touch-and-go and full-stop landings. "The last landing I participated in, we touched down about 150 feet from the end, stopped in 270 feet more and launched from that position, using what was left of the deck. We still had a couple hundred feet left when we lifted off. Admiral Brown was flabbergasted."

The plane's wingspan cleared the Forrestal's flight deck "island" control tower by just under 15 feet as the plane roared down the deck on a specially painted line. Lockheed's chief engineer, Art E. Flock was aboard to observe the testing. "The sea was pretty big that day. I was up on the captain's bridge. I watched a man on the ship's bow as that bow must have gone up and down 30 feet." The speed of the shop was increased 10 knots to reduce yaw motion and to reduce wind direction. Thus, when the plane landed, it had a 40 to 50 knot wind on the nose. "That airplane stopped right opposite the captain's bridge," recalled Flock. "There was cheering and laughing. There on the side of the fuselage, a big sign had been painted on that said, "LOOK MA, NO HOOK."

From the accumulated test data, the Navy concluded that with the C-130 Hercules, it would be possible to lift 25,000 pounds of cargo 2,500 miles and land it on a carrier. Even so, the idea was considered a bit too risky for the C-130 and the Navy elected to use a smaller COD aircraft. For his effort, the Navy awarded Flatley the Distinguished Flying Cross.

Excerpts from Herk: Hero of the Skies, by Joseph Earl Dabney, Airlines Publications and Sales, Ltd., 1979.

17 August 2007

C-130 Hercules Headquarters passes the reigns to Herky Birds.com

This has sort of been an inevitable thing. Scott Gager has not really updated C-130HQ in quite some time.
Besides thinking that the new name is dorky, Herky Birds.com
will be a winner with lots of support. The picture database is already outstanding and it is only going to get better. I hope that there is more contribution in the new site and I am eager to see her grow.

Good job guys (gals)

C-130 Hercules Headquarters


14 August 2007

We have lost one of our own; TSgt Joey Link, Rest in Peace.

With a sad heart I report that we have lost one of our own. I was trying to wait to post this until the final autopsy report was available but it looks like that will take a while. I did not know Joey Link, he must have come to Dyess just as I was leaving but I can not tell you how close to home that this hits. I think it would almost be less shocking if it had been a result of war or an accident but from a simple trip that we have all taken dozens of times? Rumors are spreading that it was a result of a spider bite while in Djibouti but who knows? I will wait for the report. TSgt Joey Link Passed away Sunday August 5th in Landstuhl Regional Medical Center Germany. My deepest sympathy goes out to all of his family.

As always, Patriot Guard was on the ball and did a great job organizing the ride.
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Rest in Peace Joey