Herky Birds Grounded

| October 2, 2022


The Air Mobility Command (AMC) of the Air Force has announced that the majority of their C-130H Hercules have been grounded for maintenance issues:

The Air Force has grounded most of its older C-130H Hercules cargo planes and variants due to a problem with their propeller barrels.

AMC said 116 C-130Hs, including variants of the mobility aircraft, were grounded on Tuesday due to concerns their propeller assemblies are defective, and that inspections over the coming days will show how many of those are affected.

AMC said the groundings are “widespread” and primarily affect the Air Force Reserve and Air National Guard.

The unofficial Facebook page Air Force amn/nco/snco posted a screenshot of a time compliance technical order on the groundings Wednesday. On Friday, the page posted a screenshot of a slide that said the propeller barrels in question had been installed in 100 C-130Hs, as well as the entire inventories of eight MC-130H Combat Talons, seven EC-130H Compass Calls, and one TC-130H.

The command said newer C-130Js and C-130Hs that have already had their propeller assemblies upgraded with the eight-bladed NP2000 system are not affected by the order.

This is the second time in more than three years that significant numbers of C-130Hs were grounded due to propeller problems. In February 2019, the Air Force grounded 60 C-130Hs — at the time, nearly one-third of the fleet — for several weeks due to concerns their pre-1971 propeller blades could crack. Those C-130s had their propeller blades replaced over subsequent weeks.

Air Force Times

Seems like a prop contractor should be facing some very hard questions about now. Three years seems like a pretty short life given that the pre-1971 props lasted until 2019. Some of you aircraft maintenance types can tell me if I am wrong.

Category: "Your Tax Dollars At Work", Air Force, Air National Guard

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C-130H has four major versions.

C-130H1, C-130H-2, C-130H2.5 and C-130H-3. Last I looked there were only 24-H1s the remaining H-1s were FMS’d to

I fear it isn’t a contractor to blame. If you remember a couple years ago (2017) a Marine KC-130 crashed in Mississippi. Cause was traced to improper maintenance of the prop at the Government Depot at Robins AFB GA.


AW1Ed up!

Whaddya think?


I think propellors are very nice to have operating correctly. Had one go supersonic just before the engine came apart.
Good times.

RGR 4-78

There is no such thing as a “perfectly good aircraft”.


All my landings equal takeoffs so they were perfectly good planes. Take off are optional landings are mandatory.

The Stranger

Compass Calls grounded? Where’s Heavy Chevy when you need him?

Hack Stone

He is down at the local Costco snackblocking all of the other customers from the free cheese samples.


If my math is right that makes 76 Air Force light lift air craft currently grounded. That is a bit of chunk.

jeff LPH 3 63-66

Not an AF Vet with no knowledge of C-130H Aircraft, so as the old vocal group harmony song “To Make A Long Story Short” by Eddie And The Starlites 1959 0n Scepter 1202 goes, I will hold off on commenting…….

RGR 4-78

Time to set up an upgrade facility at a rural Arkansas airfield.

The after-upgrade test flights can transport loads of illegal aliens to blue state sanctuary cities.

The return flights can transport firearms manufacturing equipment from the blue states to freedom in rural America that is begging for manufacturing jobs.

Where is Ollie North when we need him? 😉 

Last edited 1 month ago by RGR 4-78

I strongly support your concept. It is a two-fer, as it addresses two problems with complementary rational solutions.

RGR 4-78

Thanks, IIRC it is the basic mechanics of the Iran/Contra mess.


If we had another Ollie North type serving right now, he/she/it would probably self-identify as Olivia 😜 


Someone gots some ‘splainin’ to do…or not. Normal wear and tear? Meh, I think not. Design flaw? Possible, after all, Lockheed did build a Naval Aviation Aircraft that had the wings and motors put on wrong. The good news is that the problem is not in something that could make the aircraft go BOOM, you know, like a center wing tank. From what I remember of my C-130 flights is the Herky Bird could fly on one engine and land in a space about the size of a football field…or on a Floating Aerial Artillery Platform.

Remember when most of the critical repairs done on Military Aircraft was done by people who may have to ride in them, instead of ebil grubermint civvies that rode home after their shift in an oversized pick up truck?

Maybe if we spent budget $s on critical maintnance instead of critical race theory, the equipment would work like it’s supposed to, when it is supposed to.


Different animals, Gun Bunny. The P-3 didn’t have a cuisine art blender for a prop like the Herky-birds here.


“The P-3 didn’t have a cuisine art blender for a prop …”

No, but you can bet the winged squids had ’em inside the aircraft cabins to ensure the properly textured preparation of their frappé coffees and fruit smoothies… 😜 

Last edited 1 month ago by Poetrooper

Rumor is the caviar and champagne mid-flight service is better in the Air Force Corporation birds.

Maybe that’s why he rides us so?



What Viet of the Nam vet hasn’t flown cargo class in a Herc?


Many flights while in RVN, plus 7 jumps (non-combat) with Mike Force while at Dong Ba Thin in 1968. Never tail gated the C130, just troop doors with static lines.


When you do a ramp static-line jump with an MC1-1 there is a high probability you will have twisted risers. On a night infiltration jump in Germany in 1973, I had risers twisted up all the way down to just behind my head. By the time I unwound them, I hit the ground and landed on my rucksack, spraining my ankle. Had to hobble around Southern Germany for three weeks with a sprained ankle, but mission accomplished except for one railroad bridge we were supposed to demo.

RGR 4-78

Tail gated a C-7 Caribou, the C-7 was a wonderful little aircraft.


Rode in those many times but never had the opportunity to jump. Could never understand why the Army had to give them up to the Air Force. Did a static line tailgate from a CH47 which was weird, no prop blast. Seemed like a long time for the canopy to open.

RGR 4-78

Did a CH-47 once, 6 second count due to the lack of prop or jet blast and slower speed, same thing with a UH-1. Good times.


Young Poe got to tag along with the battalion/brigade staff officers on a few Huey/Hollywood (pistol belt and steel pot only) jumps at Campbell and Bragg back in the 60’s.

No frickin’ equipment and no prop blast sure does put the fun back in jumping…


We were jumping T10s. When I sport jumped in the early 70s used a T10 with double Ls that were somewhat steerable. After that life and children put an end to jumps.


I only jumped the T10 until I joined SF, then we were equipped with the steerable MC1-1.


At least all you airborne types got to use a parachute and, from what I glean, let your rucksacks & heavy stuff dangle from the end of a strap. Us poor airmobile types had to leap out of helicopters from various unknown altitudes and attitudes onto always uneven terrain that sometimes consisted of tree stumps, large branches, rocks, and “punji stakes” ov various sizes created by rockets/etc. stripping saplings of their branches, and other bone-breakers. No possibility of a PLF, of course, hands full and rucksack & ancillary equipment on our backs. No “hazardous duty” pay, either. I swear I lost at least an inch in height from compressed vertebra during my tour, just from jumping out of perfectly good helicopters. Probably another inch from the weight of my “basic load”.


I did some of those and I hear your pain. But nothing can quite equal the thrill of exiting at 800 feet and looking up to see your canopy with MayWest or cigarette roll. When in doubt whip it out (reserve).


I can only imagine–and I want it to stay that way.

A couple of years ago a friend of mine who happened to be a skydiving instructor had me convinced to give it a shot. Then he informed me there was a weight limit (?!). I never found out whether he meant for the plane or the parachute. I guess there is a plus side to obesity, after all.

Sometimes you look back on your life and see all the opportunities missed, and say to yourself, “Gee, I wish I had done that”. And sometimes you look back and you say to yourself, “ummmmm, Nah!”


Gonna be quiet at the station for a bit sounds like.. There’s a training squadron of Herc’s at Pete Field that turn and burn over our district all the time…


Saw a 130 up in my AO this morning and did a head scratch, checked out ADS and bumper number 16-5873 is a J config.

Let’s hope that this resolves without any additional headaches or tragedy.


50 hours during the test phase. That’s once they upgraded from 3000 shp to 5250 shp in 63. I’m guessing the maintenance guidelines were changed by the Pentagon to accommodate budget constraints. Now the bill is coming due.

Mike B

Ah, the good old Herky Bird, doing the Herky Jerk as an Aircrew Life Support/Aircrew Flight Equipment troop.

I’ve got many many hours on the MC-130E Combat Talon and MC-130 N/P Combat Shadow as self loading baggage. The majority of those hours flying back and forth across the pond.

Plus some hours as an observer during actual combat missions, and during training missions. Got to fly on a few HALO drop training missions at Pinal Air Park.

Man is it frigging cold at 20,000 feet when the heat isn’t turned on. I was strapped into a restraint harness standing on the open ramp, watching the jumpers go, and all I could think was, damn my balls are icing up. Hell the ramp iced up and we couldn’t close it until we dropped in altitude.

Got to go on night time, low level (TFR, TAR), with NVGs through canyons flights. Cool, but not fun when you are a passenger. Sort of like being sober, and riding with a drunk driver, in the dark, on a rollercoaster like road.


My infil jump into Germany on Flintlock IV was from an EC-130 Blackbird. It was designed to infiltrate Iron Curtain country borders, so I had some of that roller-coaster experience when the pilots simulated crossing into enemy airspace. The cargo area of the bird was 1/3 curtained off with electronic counter measure consoles. My aircraft dropped a Halo team at 20K, as well as a SAS team with palleted dirt bikes. We dropped first at 1,000 feet AGL on the darkest night I have ever jumped.