Close Up: C-130J Super Hercules

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C-130J Close Up

“Form ever follows function” is the dictum of famed American architect Louis Sullivan, father of the skyscraper. To him, detail was integral to the design of the building itself, not just ornamentation added for effect. Aircraft embody this concept. Nothing is designed in or installed on an aircraft without reason. The C-130J is certainly no exception. It is an airlifter; that is its function. Small details taken together give the Super Hercules its form.

Photo compilation by Jeff Rhodes, the editor of Code One. This photo feature originally appeared in the Volume 21, Number 1 2006 issue of Code One


  • Missile Launch Detectors Help Protect the C-130J Crew

      Missile launch detectors help protect the crew and the C-130J crew from shoulder-fired and launcher-mounted surface-to-air missiles; Windshield wipers do what they do on any vehicle--move water off the windshield. Photo by John Rossino.  
  • The Six-bladed GE-Dowty R391 Propeller on the C-130J

      The six-bladed GE-Dowty R391 propeller on the C-130J has composite blades and fewer parts and weighs less than the aluminum props on legacy C-130s. Hinged panels provide easy access to the Rolls-Royce AE2100-D3 engine. Photo by John Rossino.  
  • Enhanced Cargo Handling System in the C-130J

      The Enhanced Cargo Handling System in the C-130J uses flip-over trays with rollers (as shown here) for palletized loads on one side and tie-downs for rolling stock on the other. Photo by John Rossino.  
  • Upper Escape Hatch

      This is the upper escape hatch behind the wing. These bungie cords are part of the emergency depressurization component of the hatch. The top of the fuselage on the C-130J is fifteen feet from the ground. Photo by John Rossino.  
  • Rivets to Secure a Reinforcing Plate

      Nothing is designed in or installed on an aircraft without reason. The C-130J is certainly no exception. Here, using rivets to secure a reinforcing plate is standard aircraft construction practice. This is near the emergency exit on the C-130J. Photo by John Rossino.  
  • C-130J Loadmaster Computer Terminal

    The C-130J loadmaster uses a computer terminal near the flight deck to operate the cargo ramp and door and to release loads during airdrops. Photo by John Rossino.
  • Night Vision Goggle Compatible Landing Gear Handle

    Some things don’t change over legacy aircraft, like the landing gear handle. Some things do change—lights in the handle and landing light switches on the C-130J are night-vision-goggle compatible. Photo by John Rossino.
  • The Instrument Panel on the C-130J

    The instrument panel on the C-130J consists of four color liquid crystal displays and avionics management units; each pilot has a communications, navigation and identification management unit on the center console. Photo by John Rossino.
  • Twin Head-up Displays on the C-130J Flight Deck

    The twin head-up displays on the C-130J flight deck are primary flight instruments, appearing as cat’s eyes in the right light. Photo by John Rossino.
  • Integral Winch and Tow Plate on Nearly Every C-130J

    The integral winch and tow plate on nearly every C-130J is installed in the cargo floor behind the flight deck. Photo by John Rossino.
  • Enhanced Cargo Handling System in the C-130J

    The Enhanced Cargo Handling System in the C-130J cargo hold features electric locks that release simultaneously. Photo by John Rossino.
  • Ramp and Door on the C-130J are Strengthened for Airdrops

    The ramp and door on the C-130J are strengthened to allow for airdrops at 250 knots. Photo by John Rossino.
  • Inflatable Life Rafts for the C-130J

    Inflatable life rafts for the C-130J Super Hercules are checked before being repacked and installed in two bays on the top of the wings. Photo by John Rossino.