History Hour: Hercules makes longest first flight in history
On April 20-21, 1964 or nearly ten years after the first flight of the Lockheed YC-130 Hercules prototype, the Lockheed Model 382, serial number 3946, the commercial version of the military C-130E, made the longest first flight in history when it flew for 25 hours, 1 minute, after taking off from Marietta, Georgia (USA). The aircraft was certified by the US Federal Aviation Administration February 16, 1965.
The L-382 was powered by four Allison 501-D22 turboprop engines, rated at 3,755 shaft horsepower, and driving four-bladed constant-speed, reversible-pitch propellers.
Lockheed personnel celebrate the 25 hour, 1 minute first flight of the commercial L-100 Hercules. (Photo by Lockheed Martin)
N1130E was retained by Lockheed as a demonstrator, however it was briefly leased to Alaska Airlines, in March 1965, and returned the following month.
The L-382 was converted to the -20 standard in April 1968, with a 5 foot, 0 inch (1.524 meters) segment added to the fuselage behind the cockpit, and a 3 foot, 4 inch (1.016 meter) section behind the wing.
N1130E after conversion to the L100-20 configuration, at Lockheed-Burbank Airport, 1968. (Photo by c-130hercules.net)
N1130E was leased to Delta Air Lines in October 1968, and returned after six months.
Lockheed sold N1130E to Pepsico Airlease Corporation, who leased the freighter to Flying W Airways. It was reregistered as N50FW. In March 1973 Pepsico sold it to Philippine Aerotransport and it was operated for the Philippine government, first as PI-97, and then RP-97.
After sixty-two years, the Lockheed Hercules remains in production, and both military and civil versions are in service worldwide.
Lockheed Martin Model 382J Super Hercules, N100J, or known as LM-100J. (Photo by Lockheed Martin)
Previous History Hour installments:
First Class of Women Naval Aviators
How NASA intentionally crashed a Boeing 720
First jet landing on aircraft carrier
First England to Australia flight
Text Author: Bryan R. Swopes