Airborne Awesomosity

Hercules Goes For a Swim

C130 Seaplane 4

A good while back, 38 weeks ago, according to Intense Debate, I did a post on a particular variant of the C-130 that was developed for a mission to try and pull the Iranian hostages out by landing the plane inside the national soccer stadium in an operation called Credible Sport. If you’ll permit me to go off on a bit of a tangent, I’ll tell you how that story is related to what you see here today. Perhaps some of you have noticed the Featured Posts ticker that has recently come to adorn the top portion of the right side bar. This is a way for us to pick out some articles that we thought were cool, and that you might enjoy if you happen to have missed them the first time around (and, if you happen to have a favorite from the way back files that you don’t see over there, mention it in an email to the tips line, and I bet we can get it on the list!). Like any narcissistic self-evaluating writer would do, all of your contributors have taken a gander through their old stuff to pull out the good ones. I have been slow in getting around to this (and I probably made up for it by picking too many out), but yesterday I finally got around to it. In the process, I also went back and read some comments to see what I might have missed. On the post about Credible Sport (which was a subset of a program named Honey Badger, by the way), Plecostomus* happened to answer in the form of a question:

“I think it’s bloody BRILLIANT.

Except I like giant seaplanes.

Is there a flying-boat variant of the C-130, I wonder?”

Senhor Plecostomus, allow me to present to you–the Lockheed Hercules Amphibian! Between 1964 and 1973, there were several ideas floated for making the C-130 capable of water landings. One version would have consisted of a  “floatplane” conversion kit, which had two major disadvantages compared to seaplanes.  First, the weight and drag of the large floats cuts payload and range by 30%, an in addition, it takes several hours to mount the floats to the plane. Another option, the one you see here, is a full fledged flying boat. The landing gear retracts into the hull, and the engines have been flipped over to the top of the wing. In the lead image you see a 1/6 scale radio controlled model built for the US Navy in 1968. But the market for amphibious aircraft just sort of dried up, and the C-130 Flying Boat was never built.
C130 Seaplane 2C130 Seaplane 3C130 Seaplane 1


Images via (Model amphibian, plan drawings, paragraph), and (Color model).

*Let’s all encourage this gentleman to get an Intense Debate account!

  • CaptianNemo2001

    I'll take a PBY-6A

  • Deartháir

    I may be biased, but I love the new Featured Posts thingamajig. I have quite literally lost a few hours to just clicking on whatever pops up next. Even when my own posts pop up, there are a few I had forgotten about, and it's fun to re-read the comments.

    • Deartháir

      And I just lost another hour. Goddammit!

    • BlackIce_GTS

      While you're poking around in there, have you seen the article with the video dam getting removed and the subsequent erosion downstream? I think it was here.
      All I could find was something on dust filtration for turbine engines. Which I read anyway. If I don't remember it, it's just as good as the first time.

  • Number_Six

    This would have made a great rescue aircraft if seas were never rough. But in the North Atlantic or Pacific it would be all, "hey gents we come to res…glug glug…"

    • CaptianNemo2001

      The pacific in general is not that bad. Remember that Pan Am had a large number of seaplane bases all over the crapshoot.

  • insp468

    As I write, there are currently fires raging in California, Washington and Alaska. My son is an Aircraft Mechanic on a Cl415, Super Scooper, fighting forest fires in Alaska. This variant C-130 would make an awesome water bomber. And I feel there would be a world wide market for it, as is the CL415 which is a much smaller Aircraft.