Whenever an airplane disappears,
Like that of the Chilean Area Force (Fach) on Monday with 38 people on board, questions arise about the characteristics of the aircraft.
The de la Fach, who with 17 crew and 21 passengers was on his way to the Antarctic when he lost his track,
It was a Hrcules C-130. It is the main model of tactical aviation of many of the world forces.
Created by the aeronautical company Lockheed (today Lockheed Martin), it was designed so that it could
carry a large load in a pressurized cabin and that, despite the weight, it could take off without complications.
And so solve a technological need that slows the transport of cargo and soldiers during World War II.
An Argentine Air Force Hercules aircraft refurbished at the Argentine Aircraft Factory (Fadea)
Since then, more than 2000 aircraft of this type have been produced, whose
Official name is Lockheed C-130 Hercules.
Its main client, the US Army, has been using it for more than 50 years, and is also one of the few aircraft that continue to be produced five decades after its creation.
No load is too heavy.
It was 2:45 in the afternoon of August 23, 1954 when the prototype of the aircraft in question flew over the sky of Burbank, in California, as wrote by Walter J. Boyne, retired colonel and director of the Museum of Aeronautics and Space. Washington DC, in August 2004 in the Air Force Magazine, the magazine of the United States Area Force Association.
It had the peculiarity that it could take off with an external engine, and fly with a full load, a challenge that previous aircraft had not achieved.
His critics see him aesthetically ugly, but his engineers insist that they sacrificed the stylized appearance of the other Lockheed creations and prioritized functionality.
Its creators hoped that the US Area Force will buy about 100 units.
Fifty years later, it is still the main means of transportation of cargo in the world's largest Army.
Despite the modifications, five decades after his first flight, the plane
powered by four turbohlice engines It still has an exterior design very similar to the original.
As described by the magazine of the US military, the Hrcules C-130 has a capacity of almost 20,000 kg, with a flight autonomy of 3200 km. It requires a crew of between three and five people: at least two pilots, and a flight engineer.
Although its initial function was to move many soldiers and heavy loads in a pressurized compartment, the Hrcules has not only been used to transport people into wars, bring back coffins of war heroes, or move military cargo.
Some were designed as bombers and used in combat. Others have served to fly over hurricanes.
The Hrcules C-130 has also functioned as a drone mother aircraft, and also in important rescue functions such as transporting a live whale, a camel, and even one of those used to deal with fires in the Amazon, by order of the Area Force Brazilian
Brazil is not the only country in South America that has these planes.
In Argentina it has also been used for more than 40 years.
Is Hrcules invincible?
The missing aircraft on Monday was built in 1978 and used several years by the US Army, until the Chilean Area Force bought it in 2015.
It is one of the four refueling aircraft that this entity has, as explained by the InfoDefensa site.
At the moment, there is no hypothesis about the reasons why it disappeared, since according to the Chilean government, the plane complies with regular inspections that always gave the green light to its use.
According to the Air Force Magazine, most of the Hrcules C-130 that have fallen have done so in military actions.
The first Hrcules that was lost in combat was in 1958, when it was shot down by Soviet pilots who piloted a MiG-17. Others were shot down during the war in Vietnam (1955-1975).
After more than 40 different versions produced, and more than 50 years of constant use by dozens of armies around the world, the Hrcules is a plane considered safe and functional.
. Hercules C-130: this is the plane that disappeared in Chile towards Antarctica with 38 people on board – LA NACION