LOCKHEED L-100-30 HERCULES
ABOUT THIS AIRCRAFT
The Lockheed L-100-30 Hercules is a civilian model of Lockheed’s C-130 Hercules, a military transport jet launched in 1954 and still in production today. In total, 115 Lockheed L-100s were delivered between 1964 and 1992, and 55 are still in service. In 2017, a new variant of the Lockheed L-100-30 Hercules, the L100J, made its maiden flight.
The Lockheed L-100 Hercules was designed to retain the form and replicate the capabilities of its military predecessor the C-130, including short-field hauling qualities and easy cargo handling. Production netted 115 aircraft in total, delivered between 1964 and 1992. In internal Lockheed communications the L-100 was known as "Model 382" or "Model 382B".
In 1968, the L-100’s fuselage was stretched for additional internal capacity and it was redesignated L-100-20. This was followed in 1970 by the L-100-30, stretched by a further seven feet. The L-100-30 variant is the most popular L-100, selling more than any of the other variants. Manufactured from 1970 to 1992, the new revision had a 22-year production run; two decades longer than the two years during which the L-100-20 was manufactured.
The L-100-30 requires a minimum three-person crew: two pilots and a flight engineer. Its payload capacity is 51,000 lbs (23,133 kg) and the aircraft has a maximum take-off weight (MTOW) of 155,000 lbs (70,306 kg). The maximum speed is 354 mph (570 km/h) at 20,000 ft (6,100 m), with a round-trip range of 1,535 miles (2,470 km). The L-100-30 comes equipped with built-in handling systems, ramp facilities and thrust reversers that allow the aircraft to operate without pushback, making it ideal for transporting cargo to remote and isolated destinations. It is also capable of taking off and landing on short runways (STOL) and rough terrain.
Despite the fact that Lockheed designed the L-100 series specifically for civilian use, the L-100 proved popular as a military aircraft and was used in this way by countries including Algeria, Kuwait, Argentina, Peru, Indonesia and Saudi Arabia.
In 2017, a prototype of a new incarnation of the Lockheed L-100-30 Hercules, the L100J, made its maiden voyage. Lockheed-Martin expects to receive Federal Aviation Administration certification in 2018, after undergoing a one-year program of flight testing, and plans to deliver the aircraft to customers later that year.
PAST AND PRESENT
Lockheed built the L-100 prototype in the early 1960s and the plane made its maiden flight on April 20, 1964. Type certification took place in early 1965, with the first delivery (to Continental Air Services) completed that September. In 1968, the L-100 was stretched to become the longer L-100-20. Many of the original L-100s were literally “stretched” into L-100-20s or 30s, including aircraft belonging to Alaska Airlines and Delta. This provided more internal capacity, making the model more appealing to airlines whose loads are typically more bulky and less heavy than military cargo. In 1970, the further stretched L-100-30 was introduced and became the standard L-100 model, with Lockheed manufacturing the plane into the Nineties (the last L-100-30 was delivered in 1992).
Founded in 1912, the Lockheed Corporation was an American aerospace company based in San Francisco, and later Burbank and Calabasas, California. Lockheed first came to public attention in the late Twenties with the Vega aircraft (built in 1927), a six-passenger monoplane that broke several records and was flown by high-profile pilots including Amelia Earhart, George Hubert Wilkins and Wiley Post.
During World War II Lockheed was a major manufacturer of military aircraft, including the Hudson bomber, used by the British Royal Air Force and United States Air Force, and the deadly P-38 fighter plane. During the Cold War, the company developed the submarine-launched ballistic missile (SLBM), including the Poseidon and Trident nuclear missiles, and was rocked by a series of corruption cases involving foreign investment. In 1991, Lockheed, General Dynamics and Boeing collaborated on the development of the F-22 Raptor, an all-weather stealth fighter jet developed for the US Air Force.
In 1995, Lockheed merged with Martin Marietta to form Lockheed Martin and relocated from Calabasas, California to Bethesda, Maryland. Today, Lockheed Martin employs 97,000 people worldwide and is one of the world’s largest companies in the aerospace, technologies and security sectors, in addition to being the world’s largest defence contractor (based on revenue in 2013, 2014 and 2015).
BUYING A LOCKHEED L-100-30 HERCULES
At the time this article went to press, L-100-30s were listed for sale on Aircraft24 and GlobalPlaneSearch. While the prices of these aircraft were not disclosed, historically L-100-30s have fetched between $4.5 and $5 million.
THREE INTERESTING FACTS
- The Lockheed L-100-30 is a commercial version of the highly successful C-130 military jet. Lockheed has manufactured a total of 120 variations of the C-130 for the commercial market, including the L100J, which had its maiden voyage in 2017.
- Indonesia converted two of its L-100-30 aircraft to carry passengers during the Transmigration Program, during which landless people from overcrowded areas were resettled in remoter regions such as Papua, Sulawesi, Kalimantan and Sumatra.
- On June 7th 1988, a Lockheed L-100-30 made what later became known as the “Friendship Flight” when Alaska Airlines broke through the Iron Curtain to reunite Alaskan natives with family members in the eastern USSR. Families had been separated when the USA and USSR closed the Bering Strait in 1948, but the Friendship Flight led governments to allow their native peoples to travel across the strait without visas.
If you would like to charter a Lockheed L-100 Hercules, please visit our cargo charter page.
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