This post is about the incredible C-130 Hercules military aircraft- but don’t worry, it’s not going to be a flavourless list of specifications and figures. Although I’d probably find such a list interesting, I’ll restrain myself! Instead, this post will focus on a fortuitous day in June 2012; when I saw a Hercules up close, and most unexpectedly!
I’d just landed at London International Airport (located in Ontario’s London), where I was picked up by my grandparents. It’s about a half-hour drive through verdant countryside to my grandparents’ house, and as we drove my eyes (as usual) kept wandering to the sky. I’m always on the lookout for airplanes… well, my attention was rewarded that day by the sight of a mammoth military plane in the sky! At once, I recognized it to be a C-130 Hercules; the transport mainstay of the Royal Canadian Air Force for the past fifty years! The Hercules really is an amazing and versatile aircraft, and it’s been one of my favourite planes ever since I learned of its existence.
The most common planes I see are Cessnas, or the occasional Learjet or Pilatus. Seeing a Hercules is a rarity!
I watched the Hercules from the car for awhile, but before long it was out of sight. Fortunately, my grandpa loves planes just as much as I do, so we continued on to the local municipal airport- just in time to see the Hercules finish up its landing and taxi towards us!
What a sight this was!
There was an entire field between us and the Hercules at this point- but it was loud nonetheless!
I could honestly not believe my luck! I’ve seen so many fantastic aircraft in completely random places that I think they must follow me around… from a pair of B-52s while camping in New York to F-15s in the UK, I keep seeing unusual aircraft wherever I go.
The Hercules eventually parked on the tarmac, and I saw its crew exit and walk around. One of the crew was a woman, and I was very envious- I kept thinking that that should be me!
The Herc is a big aircraft! It has a wingspan of 132 feet, and a payload of 45,000 pounds. That equates to 64 paratroopers, 6 pallets, or even two armoured personnel carriers!
Although the Hercules first flew in 1954, it’s been continually upgraded since then. This model is an older variant; and Canada now operates seventeen newer C-130Js
Seeing this wonderful aircraft made for an afternoon of awe for me. It’s a dream of mine to one day fly in a Hercules, and I’m totally awestruck every time I see one. However, since then I’ve never seen one quite so unexpectedly, and this was a day I will always remember!