From The Archives: Report On Lockheed C-130A Hercules

In 1951, Lockheed’s chief engineer, Hall Hibbard, asked a 41-year-old Clarence L. “Kelly” Johnson to come into his office. 

Johnson had made a name for himself during World War II for delivering the first XP-80 jet fighter prototype in 143 days, and Hibbard wanted his advice on Lockheed’s newest aircraft design proposal: the Model 82 Hercules, a four-engine turboprop transport. Johnson, who believed speed was the key to aviation’s future, blurted out: “Hibbard, if you send that in [to the Air Force,] you’ll destroy the Lockheed Company.”

Hibbard went ahead anyway and won a contract to build a prototype. Five years later, the first operational C-130As were delivered to the U.S. Air Force, an event that made the cover of our Dec. 3, 1956, edition. 

Sixty-seven years later, the C-130 remains in production as the longest continuously delivered military aircraft in history, with 1,158 in operation across 36 variants, according to Aviation Week Intelligence Network Fleet Discovery data.

Read the article "USAF Receives Highly Versatile C-130"

Cover of the Dec. 3, 1956 issue of Aviation Week 


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