Monday, November 28, 2005


MC-130 "Talon" De-Clawed!

The outstanding pilots of the American military face danger and adversity every day in Iraq, and face it valiantly. Sometimes, though, danger appears from the most "unlikely" of places, and is totally unexpected, and arrives and attacks in a few fleeting seconds of destruction.

The MC-130 Combat "Talon" aircraft, which are actually modified "Hercules" aircraft, provide infiltration, exfiltration and resupply of special operations forces and equipment in hostile or denied territory, using unprepared surfaces. Secondary missions include psychological operations and helicopter air refueling. It's terrain-following/avoidance radar allows it to operate at 250 AGL in adverse weather, sometimes performing 8 hr. missions in a "blacked-out" condition. What an amazing piece of "iron", and "ironmen" fly them.

Last December repairs were being done to an airfield operated by the U.S. in Iraq. When repairs are being done to a runway, a NOTAM (Notice To Airmen) should be published, but apparently none was, or it wasn't accessible. An aircraft landing during the day saw the construction and landed long, with no difficulties due to the runway length. They filed a report about the unsafe condition, but somehow a NOTAM was still unavailable after their report. On December 29th, at night, an MC-130 Talon landed on the runway, unaware of the repairs being undertaken. After touchdown and roll-out, "danger" attacked in those fleeting seconds.

An overview of the end result. Posted by Picasa

The initial "depression-entering" would've been a rude, "bone-jarring" awakening. Posted by Picasa

The "debris" trail............. Posted by Picasa

Fire consumed part of the aircraft. Posted by Picasa

An embarrassing and unfitting end to a grand old dame. Posted by Picasa


Primary Function: Infiltration, exfiltration and resupply of special operations forces

Builder: Lockheed

Power Plant: Four Allison T56-A-15 turboprop engines

Thrust: 4,910 shaft horsepower each engine

Length: 99 feet, 9 inches (30.4 meters)

Height: 38 feet, 6 inches (11.7 meters)

Wingspan: 132 feet, 7 inches (40.4 meters)

Speed: 300 mph

Load: 77 troops, 52 paratroopers or 57 litter patients

Ceiling: 33,000 feet (10,000 meters)

Maximum Takeoff Weight:155,000 pounds (69,750 kilograms)

Range: 2,700 nautical miles (4,344 kilometers) Inflight refueling extends this to unlimited range

Crew: Officers - two pilots, a navigator and electronic warfare officer; enlisted - flight engineer and two loadmasters

Date Deployed: MC-130E, 1966; MC-130H, June 1991

Unit Cost: $155 million (fiscal 2001 constant dollars)

Inventory: Active force, 38.

Beauty personified! Posted by Picasa

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