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Look Ma, No Hook!

Discussion in 'The Okie Corral' started by HKMark23, Jan 6, 2005.

  1. HKMark23

    HKMark23 Millennium Member

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    These astounding feats occurrred from the deck of the USS Forrestal in October 1963 using a Marine Corps KC-130F. The motivation for these tests, ordered by the Chief of Naval Operations, was to determine the feasibility of using the existing C-130 aircraft as a long-range carrier onboard delivery (COD) transport. At the time, the Navy was using the C-1 Trader for COD duties, but the plane was limited to a rather small payload and a 300 mile (480 km) range. When operating far out at sea, carriers were unable to receive desperately needed supplies without steaming closer in to shore. It was hoped that the larger, long-range C-130 would be able to address that deficiency.

    And so it was, on 8 October, that the Navy received the KC-130F refueling tanker (BuNo 149798) on loan from the USMC. Prior to the tests, Lockheed had modified the plane by installing an anti-skid braking system, removing the underwing refueling pods, and adding a smaller nose gear orifice. The aircraft carried a crew of four: LT James Flatley as pilot, LCDR W. "Smokey" Stovall as copilot, ADR1 Ed Brennan as flight engineer, and Lockheed test pilot Ted Limmer.

    Initial flight testing began on 30 October when the C-130 made its first landing on the Forrestal into a 40-knot wind. Helping to guide the C-130 along the deck was a special dashed centerline, visible in the above image. Even with this line, however, the aircraft's wingtip cleared the carrier's island control tower by less than 15 ft (4.6 m).

    Adding to the challenge of operating the large aircraft from a carrier deck was a relatively heavy sea state. In the words of Lockheed's chief engineer, Art Flock, who was aboard to observe the tests, "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." To ease the operations, the ship increased speed to provide more wind speed over the deck and reduce the unsteady rocking and heaving motions. "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."

    Perhaps one of the most amazing accomplishments of the plane was described by Lockheed pilot Ted Limmer, who had qualified test pilot LT Flatley to fly the C-130. "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." LT Flatley was eventually awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross by the Navy for his participation in the test program.

    All told, the flight tests included 29 touch-and-go landings, 21 unarrested full-stop landings, and 21 unassisted takeoffs at gross weights ranging from 85,000 lb (38,555 kg) to 121,000 lb (54,885 kg). At the lower weight, the aircraft managed to come to a complete stop in only 267 ft (81 m), which is little more than double the plane's wingspan. Even at maximum weight, the C-130 required only 745 ft (227 m) for takeoff and 460 ft (140 m) for landing. Landings were made shorter by reversing the propellers while the aircraft was still a few feet above the flight deck. Videos documenting the landing and takeoff attempts are available on-line.

    Landing: http://www.forrestal.org/fidfacts/c130ld.mov
    Take Off: http://www.forrestal.org/fidfacts/c130to.mov

    Based on these tests, it was determined that the C-130 could carry 25,000 lb (11,340 kg) of cargo and personnel to a carrier at a range of 2,500 miles (4,020 km). However, the risks of operating such a large aircraft in the hectic day-to-day carrier environment were considered too great, and the idea of using the C-130 as a COD aicraft was abandoned. The C-130 has never been operated from a carrier since, and the much smaller C-2A Greyhound was later selected to fulfill the COD role.
     
  2. Wulfenite

    Wulfenite The King

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    Interesting, I wonder why they didnt just move the centerline 5 or 10 feet to the left, take a couple feet off each wing, put an extra layer of steel with a cutter edge on the castle at wing tip height, and call it good.
     

  3. FLIPPER 348

    FLIPPER 348 Bigfoot enthusiast enthusiast

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    The footage is on the Discovery Channel from time to time.............on the Wings program for the C130.
     
  4. MulletLoad

    MulletLoad

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    On a side note , the pilot of the C-130, (Lt. Flatley at the time) is part of Navy family whose story would seem a stretch for Hollywood.

    I think his father was in thick of the shooting as a F4F Wildcat fighter pilot at the WWII battle of Coral Sea and ended up as Admiral. He of course did the C-130 thing and ended up as Admiral too. A few of his kids graduated from the Naval Academy, a couple ending up fighter pilots, one I think a squadron commander.

    Good story of one family that served this country more than most.
     
  5. NetNinja

    NetNinja Always Faithful

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    Yeah I worked on 798 for a number of years.

    If I remember right she is still at MCAS Cherry Point.

    They are getting ready to retire the old F and R Model C-130's

    They are getting ready to recieve the C-130J models in the next 2 months.
     
  6. NetNinja

    NetNinja Always Faithful

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