more links I found Also, I think that the tanker that crashed a few years ago that killed everyone fighting fires, was a C-130A
http://www.afrc.af.mil/403wg/wing/Missi ... /c130a.htm
http://aeroweb.brooklyn.cuny.edu/museum ... 7-0457.htm
http://aeroweb.brooklyn.cuny.edu/museum ... 7-0478.htm
Last C-130A makes final flight
AFMC News Service Release 1025
Released October 10, 2003
By 1st Lt. Jessica Phelps
Air Armament Center Public Affairs
EGLIN AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. (AFMCNS) — The oldest flying C-130 cargo aircraft and last existing C-130A in the U.S. Air Force flew its final flight Oct. 3, ending nearly half a century of test service.
The final flight ended at Field 2 here. The aircraft will now be stripped of its essential equipment and used to test installation security systems on the Eglin range.
The C-130A, affectionately nicknamed “The Lone Wolf,” has been stationed at Duke Field for the past 48 years, serving the test community as part of the 46th Test Wing. The wing provides a national capability for testing conventional munitions, command and control infrastructure, egress as well as navigation and guidance systems.
Maintainers no longer being able to sustain its current systems, including spare parts and engine support drove the aircraft’s retirement, according to Senior Master Sgt. Michael Holderness, 46th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron C-130 section chief.
“The NC-130A Airborne Seeker Evaluation and Test System is an airborne platform for developmental test and evaluation of air-to-ground and air-to-air seekers and sensors,” Holderness said. “It was capable of tracking and filming weapon intercept and separation from various fighter and bomber aircraft.”
Nicknamed “The Lone Wolf” because it was the last C-130A flying, the aircraft flew its first test flight in 1955 and has been a part of many forward moving programs such as the Patriot missile sensor testing during the 1980’s and 90’s.
“Retiring this aircraft marks the end of an era for the C-130 test program,” said Tech. Sgt. Kevin Williams, 46th AMXS hydraulics technician. “But it’s also the beginning of a new chapter, as some of the modified structures will be transferred to the newer NC-130H aircraft.”
A very small group of maintainers, 13 to be exact, maintain this particular aircraft, and “The Lone Wolf” characterization emanates from the aircraft to them, Holderness said.
“After 48 years, this aircraft took a lot of blood, sweat and tears to maintain,” he said. “It inevitably becomes a part of you, as much as you become a part of it.”
With the C-130A being decommissioned, a new, more fleet representative NC-130H aircraft will be brought to Duke to continue the unit’s test mission, Holderness said.
“Once the current programmed depot maintenance is complete, that aircraft is scheduled to undergo modifications to install the turret and modified floor structure, along with other modifications to enable not only a wider array of weapon seeker testing, but also C-130 test programs currently in development,” he said.
A couple of days before the final flight, the crew posed for a picture in front of the aircraft, capturing the historic moment. As part of commemorating the time the aircraft and crew spent serving together, the names of the maintenance crew were printed on the outside of the aircraft.
The members of the operation crew also signed their names on the inside of the aircraft.