Thursday, March 28, 2013


The aircraft performed flawlessly
by Ralph E.

In the 1960s, I was a production test pilot and had a month's tour in Alaska with Lockheed's Hercules, on lease to Alaska Airlines. The prop-jet airlifter performed flawlessly! I wrote my observations in our company newsletter, the Lockheed Southern Star. Here’s an excerpt:
"If only that bird could talk! That fabulous "Herky-Bird, N-1130E, that is. It would puff up with pride, and ask each of you to share with it its pride of accomplishment during the Alaskan Lease.
It would speak of being stuffed with all degrees of bulk and weight that man could imagine, and yet lifting lightly and gracefully in the air.
It would tell of flights through the dance of the Northern Lights, of high above the snowy mountains that defy description, or yet through the Arctic "whiteout" when the horizon completely disappears. It would describe landing on a frozen lake, or a gravel road bed, and through drifting snow a foot or more deep. It would talk of ice crystals blowing horizontally. Of snow and icy wings.
It would talk of storied places like Nome and Point Barrow, Fairbanks, Anchorage and many more.
It would brag of doing it all, day and night, never missing a flight for maintenance.
You designed and built it to do such good work. You may be justly proud."
Our C-130 triumphed in Alaska!
Alaska, 1965