Here’s How Nine Hercules Make for One Cool Elephant Walk, Their First

LC-130 hercules on elephant walk 7 photos
Photo: USAF/Tech. Sgt. Jamie Spaulding
109th Airlift Wing LC-130109th Airlift Wing LC-130109th Airlift Wing LC-130109th Airlift Wing LC-130109th Airlift Wing LC-130109th Airlift Wing LC-130
Gone are the days when large formations of airplanes took to the skies to reach enemy targets and bomb them to oblivion. Despite a major war going on in Europe at the moment, and several others taking place in the past few decades, no large aircraft formation has been seen operating for offensive purposes since the days of World War II.
But that doesn’t mean aircraft don’t flock together from time to time in an attempt to send the proper signal to enemy nations. America does this most often and in plain sight, displaying countless aircraft in one place for all to see.

Such a gathering of aerial war machines is called an elephant walk – a throwback to the Second World War, when such formations, comprising up to 1,000 aircraft, were likened to elephants approaching a watering hole as they moved down the runway.

These days, the U.S. Air Force (USAF) uses these displays to “project air power through the rapid deployment of multiple aircraft at once.” It doesn’t use hundreds of planes for the task, but far fewer, yet the practice is the same: taxi the aircraft in formation before takeoff for the scare factor.

We’ve seen this being done with a variety of planes these past few years, from fighter jets to transport planes. The most recent still of such a feat released by the USAF shows nine LC-130 Hercules aircraft doing the same.

The planes are deployed with the 109th Airlift Wing and are pictured here on the tarmac of the Stratton Air National Guard Base in New York. Back at the beginning of September, they all went out at once for the unit’s first-ever elephant walk.

Generally, the LC-130 is the ski-equipped version of the C-130 Hercules, but the ones seen here wear, of course, wheeled landing gears. America is the only nation in the world to use this kind of planes.
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Editor's note: Gallery shows various 109th Airlift Wing LC-130 variants.

About the author: Daniel Patrascu
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Daniel loves writing (or so he claims), and he uses this skill to offer readers a "behind the scenes" look at the automotive industry. He also enjoys talking about space exploration and robots, because in his view the only way forward for humanity is away from this planet, in metal bodies.
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