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Guest FritzWester

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Guest FritzWester

My question is specific to the C-130A-II if you are familure. Staright A\'s are easy, but the A-II is weird mand quirky machine from an electrical system standpoint.

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I asked the same questions when I started flying the Type II\'s and the answer I got was that they were modified to support the missions that they were flying. Something about the command pods they rolled into the back of the aircraft.

Another issue (maybe true) that I was told was that the Type II light weight cargo ramps are aircraft specific and are not interchangeable. I never verified this as we never needed to swap the ramps.

The electrical system gave us fits also, I only know of a couple people that totally understood it and both of them are ex-H&P people.

Good Luck,


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They have a mixed bag of engine driven DC and AC Generators, plus the ATM Generator system is different. I would have to pull out my -1 to really get in to all the electrical differences.

Having engineered on A/E/F/H/T models, the Type II has the most complicated electrical system.


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Guest FritzWester

Hi Greg, hope all is well. O.K., so no A-II engineers from the active duty days of the aircraft in Germany out there huh. True \"Silent Warriors\"???

Typical straight \"A\" electrical system is equipped with one 40 KVA AC gen on each inboard, and a 20 KVA (30 KVA capable with ATM cooling fan operative) on the ATM. There is one 400 Amp DC gen on each of the engines and two manually controlled transformer rectifiers. We see where the \"B\" through H-3 electrical system is born. A\'s also have one \"Main and Engine Instrument\" inverter, One \"Pilots\" inverter, and one \"Co-Pilots\" inverter all set up single phase (\"B\" Phase).

The A-II is set up to use incredible amounts of DC power. After mod at TEMCO A-II\'s were equipped with one 40 KVA AC gen on each engine. An additional gnerator control panel was added to the engineers overhead to control operation of the added outboard AC gens. Each engine was left equipped with the 400 Amp DC gens as originally equipped, however the ATM is also equipped with a 400 AMP DC gen and there are no transformer rectifiers on the aircraft all. Added was a 3 phase inverter of whopping capacity. This inverter is called the \"Start Inverter\" The Start Inverter is powerful enough and supplies three phase power to feather and unfeather props, operate fuel pumps and suction boost pumps all from a supply of stricly DC power, battery or external.

Anything on the airplane that normally requires three phase AC can be operated on the Start Inverter. However, put a large load on it, i.e. operate suction boost pumps, fuel boost pumps and maybe feather or un-feather a prop, the amerage draw is large enough to melt the battery down in the battery box in a couple of minuets. The \"Start Inverter\" trips off when the first engine driven AC gen is brought on line. The aircraft is equipped with a \"Main\", \"Pilots\", and \"Co-Pilots\" inverter same as the standard configured straight \"A\".

Obviously the ELINT mission required something different in the electrical power department but I cant understand why it was configured that way. With 1600 AMPS of DC power available, what the heck did they need the DC gen on the ATM for and why the \"Start Inverter\"? AC and DC ground power has been available as long as the airplane so from a ground servicing and maintenance perspective it is difficult to imagine.

The A-II has a particular flight manual supplement that explains the operation of the electrical system, however there is no explanation as to \"why\" it is set up that way.

When looking at the photo\'s of period A-II aircraft, take note of the size of the external tanks, which of course were not external tanks.

The A-II ELINT mission has long been rather mysterious to most people not directly involved. www.Silent-Warriors.com has the best info I can find about the the people involved, but the mission itself was simply Electronics Intelligence (ELINT), listening to Soviet Bloc radio transmissions for the NSA. There is a huge misnomer here, in that many conspiricy theorists have belived the C-130A-II mission was for the CIA, which of course is in error as the mission was NSA. More than just C-130\'s were involved in the mission, and later the A-II\'s were replaced by \"B-II\'s\" and finally by EC-130E\'s (Heavy Chain?).

I read a fascinating article in Air and Space Smithsonian a number of years ago about a deployment of A-II\'s to Southeast Asia. The mission: Listen in on comunist Chinese military radio transmissions (Burma?). A great deal of frustration was raised due to the relatively short legs of the aircraft not allowing enough on station time within the servielence area. The problem was reaching max gross weight of 124,200 prior to having achieved full main fuel. It was discovered through conversation with lockheed engineers that the 124,200 was a max weight limit on the landing gear, not the airframe itself. (A-II crew members feel free to correct errors in my story anytime.) The design of the fuselage and wing structure allowed for a 1.5 g airplane at 136,000 lb. So the extra fuel was added after the airplane was positioned on the runway allowing for a straight run relieving the gear of taxi loads at the \"overweight\' condition.

Anyway . . . we are way off base here. I am looking for an explanation of the \"why\" on that abortion of an electrical system. Anyone???, Anyone, ???? Bueller?, Bueller?

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Do not trust that the start inverter will trip off when you bring the first engine driven generator on-line.

From what I was told by a \"mature\" FE that flew the Type II\'s was that the roll on command/control pods that were used were mainly DC because they could also be set up for ground use with a diesel generator.

One good thing about the Type II\'s is that you never come close to loading up the DC systems with normal use.

Give me a straight A model anytime, at least you can understand how and why the electrical system worked.

Give me a call if you need some FE\'ing done. I am a free agent now, been flying an E model a little this year.

Take care,


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You must be getting ready to fly 3138.

I looked up the A-II\'s and out of 9, one was shot down in Russia 56-0528, and one was turned into a ground test article for EMP testing at Rome NY 56-0525.

The other seven all became firefighters.

56-0538 and 56-0540 lost wings fighting fires.

56-0484 owned by MACE stored Tucson(FAA says owned by Hemet)

56-0530 owned by IAR at Chandler (3138)

56-0534 owned by IAR at Coolidge Withdrawn From Use

56-0535 owned by D&D at Greybull Probably to Break Up

56-0541 owned by IAR at Tucson, Fuselage only.


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  • 2 weeks later...


I worked the A-II at Rickenbacker in th 80\'s. The start inverter was installed on the 8 birds we had assigned.

We had a rote to Panama sent a bird down country bare base with no power units. During re-fuel a problem developed and had to get out of dodge,at that time the only ac power to power the boost was the engine generators.

the inverter was added when we got home.

the inverter was afdapted from the C123-k nesa windshield heat system

it\'s output 5000 va.

hope this helps


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original config was dc gen on atm on all A\'s. I was told due to the mission requirements the tcto to convert to ac gen on atm was never c/w.

we inherited the birds from Miniapolis AG. the ftd instructor we had told us when they aquired the aircraft the aft cargo door and ramp were still riveted shut and the paratroop doors were also locked down.

hope this helps.

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I flew A models in Southeast Asia between June 1966 and December 1969. We were stationed at Naha Okinawa and flew to Cam Rhan Bay where we were TDY. From there we flew missions in South Viet Nam. I flew several missions into Kha Sanh during the siege. Does anyone remember any of the tail numbers of A models that flew there during that time? I'm trying to put together a paper and am interested in tail numbers and unit tail markings on aircraft from Okinawa.

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For what it is worth, I've posted the information on 56-0484 that I have been able to come up with in my research of the C-130 'A' models that once were assigned to the 118th/105th in Nashville. This is the only one that I have been able to come up with that once had the A-II conversion. It would appear that it was converted back though.

However, it may be that this aircraft is being prepared to fly again???? The N137FF is still listed as "reserved" on the FAA inquiry. It was last known to be sitting in storage as was mentioned in another post here.

This was one of the aircraft that was probably tied up with Hemet Valley Flying service in the whole U.S. Forestry Service Scandal and the fallout from that as well as the assets of Hemet Valley Flying Service.

I've posted this "for what it is worth" and maybe this is just another piece of the puzzle relative to the A-II conversion.

118th AES Retired

56-0484 c/n 3092

56-0484 was listed as a “former†aircraft of the 118th TAW in the yearbook From Blackwood Field to Berry Field published in 1986.

This aircraft was converted to a C-130A-II at one time, and then back to a C-130A by 1972. At the time of the conversion to the C-130A-II, she was assigned to the 7506th Support Squadron at Rhein-Mein, Germany.

The 7506th was a reconnaissance squadron with quite a bit of history.

She arrived at the 7506th in June 1958 as the squadron’s first C-130A-II.

She departed the 7506th in April 1972.

In August 1972, she was assigned to the 924th TAG (AFRES) at Ellington AFB, TX. In April 1973, she was assigned to the 919th TAG (AFRES) at Duke Field, FL. In June 1973 she was assigned to the 133rd TAG (ANG) at Minneapolis-St. Paul MAP in Minnesota. In January 1974 she was assigned to the 118th TAG (ANG) in Nashville. In February 1976, she was assigned back to the 133rd TAG at Minneapolis St-Paul. In October 1981 she was assigned to the 356th TAS (AFRES) at Rickenbacker AFB, OH. In January 1987, she was retired and sent to AMARC at Davis-Monthan AFB, AZ. She went on to become an aerial tanker bomber registered as N137FF flying for Hemet Valley Flying Service. She was scrapped in 2000.

Hemet Valley Flying Services is one company rumored to have close ties to the CIA according to numerous sources and official documents, and was at the center of the now infamous U.S. Forestry Service Tanker Scandal. It is possible that 56-0484 went on to serve with the CIA after her military retirement? , . , , , ,

As with many of the former aircraft of the 118th/105th, if these aircraft could tell their stories, they would certainly tell some very interesting stories. For a glimpse of the kinds of missions that 56-0484 was involved in prior to her life with the 118th/105th, visit the link in the endnotes.

56-0484 was also one of the 22 C-130 ‘A’ models involved in the now infamous U.S. Forestry Service tanker scandal. Hemet Valley Flying Service as well as T&G were two of the companies involved and were at the center of the transactions.

J. Baugher’s accounting of 56-0484 is as follows: 484 (c/n 182-3092) converted to C-130A-II, back to C-130A by Aug 1972.To AMARC as CF0063 Jan 1987. To US Forest Service as N137FF June 1988. Reregistered to Hemet Flying Service as N137FF Aug 1988. Airframe never left AMARC. To CF0079 May 1989 and parted out. Seen in scrapyard 8/28/2000.

Although 56-0484 was registered to Hemet Flying Service, it appears that it never “officially†left AMARC, and thus was never painted as Hemet tanker as noted in Baugher’s notes above. Bob Daley’s photos of 56-0484 below in the scrapyard also seem to verify this in that the aircraft was clearly marked in its’ military scheme when scrapped.

According to an inquiry on the FAA Registry Database, an FAA Registration Certificate was issued for 56-0484 on 18 August 1988, registering the aircraft as N137FF. The status shows “Undel Triâ€, indicating that Hemet never followed through with the formal registration and airworthiness certification.

In all likelihood, the explanation as to why this aircraft was registered but never left the scrapyard may in fact be that it was involved in the U.S. Forest Service tanker scandal and was tied up in litigation. The author notes also that T&G, the registered owner of the aircraft when it was registered with the FAA was also involved in a liquidation of assets which were subsequently taken over by International Air Response. To this date, the registration of N137FF is still reserved to T&G even though this company no longer exists as such.

Photos of 56-0484 can be viewed on the following links:












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