The mother of the last C-130 Hercules pilot hasn’t been born yet.
Dwell on that thought. The prototype C-130 flew in 1954, the same year that Monroe married DiMaggio, and Murrow unravelled McCarthy. Competitors have come and gone, and yet the Hercules will fly on its centenary.
More startling is how little it has changed since Lockheed’s Willis Hawkins drafted it in 1951 – and it was hardly a revolution then.
Germany coined the modern airlifter layout with the Ar-232 in 1941. America followed with the C-123 in 1949, and Britain with the Beverley in 1950.
The famous Kelly Johnson warned Lockheed that the C-130 would ruin the company. Instead, its had the longest running military aircraft production in history.
That history is filled with stunning highs and lows. The thrilling success of Entebbe. The bitter disappointment of Desert One. Saving Batman in The Dark Knight.
Ignore anyone who tells you the insides are a failure of 1954 ergonomics. The thrum of turboprops has either lullabied me to sleep when I needed it, or been the soundtrack to some of the best flights of my life.
So be nice to the pregnant lady on the street. Her future grandkids might be Herky drivers.
Eamon Hamilton, Public Affairs, Royal Australian Air Force. Follow on Twitter @eamonhamilton
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