In 1955, a new model of troop and transport plane was first flown and put under flight testing, called the C130 Hercules, built by the Marietta, Georgia division of the Lockheed Aircraft Corporation.
By January of 1955, six production models of the C130 were under construction. On April 7, 1955, the first production Hercules took off on its maiden flight. The test flight lasted one hour and seven minutes and only 800 feet of runway were required for the empty Hercules to get airborne. In the following months the first six Hercules off the production line logged some 94 hours of flight test work during the remainder of 1955.
With reversible propellers the Hercules only requires about 2000 feet of runway for landing to full stop. Serial number 3001 was the first flight test Hercules, while serial number 3002 was used as a static test bed, thus a ground based guinea pig for the Hercules development program.
During the middle of 1955, serial number 3001 was used for presentations to key US military personnel. The C130 Hercules was the fastest transport plane in production for the US Air Force in the summer of 1955. The Herc was proven to be comfortable at low level, or in cruise at 40,000 feet with the B-47 and B-52 Stratojet bombers. And it is capable of backing up over great distances using its reversible props, which makes it a very versatile aircraft for all the branches of the US military.
With a 20 tonne payload which can be uplifted via the rear clam-shell cargo doors, coupled with the reversible props, the Hercules can quickly ground maneuver in tight spaces, and can haul a large payload out of remote unimproved strips. Which proved invaluable for military and cargo operators alike in later years. The changeover from bulk cargo to personnel transport can be accomplished in a matter of minutes with the Hercules. And the Herc can perform aerial or ground deliveries of either men or cargo.
This vintage aviation movie presents all of the above capabilities of this amazing aircraft, all in color. Originally, this film was “classified” .. meaning it was not available for public viewing, and it was unclassified at an unknown later date.