C-130 Hercules News

Historic plane lands at Rosecrans

July 31, 2016 (by Marshall White) - A piece of history flew home Friday to Rosecrans Memorial Airport.

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USAF C-130H #86-1391 known as 'Pony One' returned to the 139th AW on July 29th. This aircraft sustained flood damage and was restored to serive by airman. [Photo by Jessica Stewart, St. Joseph News-Press]

Pony One, also known as the Flying Submarine, (#86-1391) made what maybe its last flight which would bring to an end 13,948.7 hours of flying that began in 1986, said Col. Ed Black, vice commander of the 139th Airlift Wing and the pilot on the last flight.

It got its nickname during the massive flood of 1993. Pony One was in a hanger for an overhaul when the flood struck and water cascaded into the plane climbing up to engine intakes.

“The plane had 10 inches of water on the flight deck,” said Master Sgt. Kent Bohart, a C-130 transport plane load master.

Lockheed Martin wanted millions of dollars to rebuild the plane and a lot of time.

But a team of maintenance personnel, led by Senior Master Sgt. Denny Howe, believed they could save the government and taxpayers a lot of money and time.

“They had the plane ready to fly by Thanksgiving, 1993,” said Master Sgt. Brent Rose, one of the original team members. “And it cost less than a million dollars.”

The transport plane became a favorite because of its dependability for aircrews to fly even though it was the slowest plane in the Airlift Wing.

“For some reason, we could never figure out,” Bohart said, “it always flew about 20 knots slower than any other aircraft in the Wing.”

An aircrew of nine volunteered to go to Arkansas and fly the plane home Friday.

Today’s C-130 transport plane’s all have digital displays and equipment, so it took a little bit of adjustment to step back in time and use the old analog displays on the flight deck.

As one crew member said it was like “having a chance to find and drive the first car you ever had.”

Maintenance will keep the plane ready to fly again until the Wing obtains the official paperwork declaring the aircraft to be classed as a historical object. The goal is to place the plane on static display in front of the airport tower for everyone to see.


Published on July 29th, 2016 in the News-PressNow.
Used with permission from News-Press Now.




Additional images:

Col. Ed Black takes a photograph inside C-130H #86-1391 'Pony One' where the flood waters rose in the flood of 1993. [Photo by Jessica Stewart, St. Joseph News-Press]