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Aviation History: C-130 Hercules

The following information comes from local Sulphur Springs resident Tony Hughes.  Mr Hughes worked on, performed engine run up, pre-flight/post flight and flew as an aircraft mechanic observer on FCF’s (functional check flight) at the Greenville, Tx. plant, formerly known as TEMCO.  The Greenville plant started as Temco (Texas Engineering & Manufacturing Co.) then changed to Ling-Temco Electronics, Inc. in 1960, then Ling-Temco-Vought, Inc. in 1961.  The company then changed it’s name to LTV Electrosystems, Inc. in 1965, then E-Systems, Inc. in 1972.  A merger changed the name to Raytheon E-Systems in 1995, and now the company has been managed by L-3 Communications since 2002.

The C-130 Hercules primarily performs the intra theater portion of the airlift mission. The aircraft is capable of operating from rough, dirt strips and is the prime transport for para dropping troops and equipment into hostile areas. Basic and specialized versions perform a diversity of roles, including airlift support, DEW Line and Arctic ice resupply, aeromedical missions, aerial spray missions, fire-fighting duties for the US Forest Service, and natural disaster relief missions. In recent years, they have been used to bring humanitarian relief to many countries, including Haiti, Bosnia, Somalia, and Rwanda.
Four decades have elapsed since the Air Force issued its original design specification, yet the remarkable C-130 remains in production. The turbo-prop, high-wing, versatile “Herc” has accumulated over 20 million flight hours. It is the preferred transport aircraft for many US Government services and over 60 foreign countries. The basic airframe has been modified to hundreds of different configurations to meet an ever-changing environment and mission requirement. The C-130 Hercules has unsurpassed versatility, performance, and mission effectiveness.

The initial production model was the C-130A, with four Allison T56-A-11 or -9 turboprops. Conceptual studies of the C-130A, were initiated in 1951. The first prototype flight took place in 1954 and the first production flight followed on April 7, 1955. A total of 219 were ordered and the C-130A joined the U.S. Air Force inventory in December 1956.

The C-130B introduced Allison T56-A-7 turboprops and the first of 134 entered Air Force service in April-June 1959. The B model carries additional fuel in the wings, and has upgraded engines and strengthened landing gear. Now over forty models and variants of the Hercules, including a civilian one marketed as Lockheed L-100, operate in more than sixty nations. The C-130 Hercules is the longest continuously produced military aircraft at over 60 years, with the updated C-130J Super Hercules being produced today.

TEMCO/Ling-TEMCO Electronics/LTV Electrosystems/E-Systems in Greenville, TX. performed maintenance and modification on well over 600 C-130 various models starting in 1955.

Author: Savannah Everett

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