LC-130 Skibird Was Born to Work on Snow, Has Skis to Back Them Wheels

Not that present in daily news, the military hardware designed to operate in harsh conditions such as in snow and ice sure come in the form of impressive machines. One needs to look no further than this here LC-130 Skibird to know that is so.
LC-130 Skibird at Raven Camp, Greenland 1 photo
Photo: USAF
Manufactured by Lockheed Martin, the Skibird is a variant of the C-130 Hercules that was bred for operating (read take off and land) in conditions of snow and ice that would prove terrible for other aircraft.

The main feature that makes this plane stand out is that it has skis to back its wheels, making it ideal for operations in the Arctic and the Antarctic. Wheels are still present, of course, in case the transport plane needs to land on a more conventional, concrete runway.

The massive plane in this configuration first took to the sky in 1956 and was introduced in the Antarctic program in 1960. It comes with a 12x3x3 meters (39x10x10 feet) cargo area that can house cargo weighing as much as 12,200 kg (27,000 pounds).

According to the specs, the plane can travel, for instance, the 838-mile (1,348-km) distance between the McMurdo Station in the Antarctic to the South Pole and back on a single full of fuel, at speeds that can reach 316 mph (509 kph).

The primary goal of the plane is not to wage war but aid the scientific community doing business in those remote areas. Back in May, one Skibird was at Raven Camp, a site in Greenland, where the image attached to this piece (click photo to enlarge) was taken. Raven Camp is where LC-130 crews train to land or perform air drops.

The U.S. Air Force released the photo last week, giving us a view of how majestic the airplane looks on the snow runway.
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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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