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Popular Nicknames Of The C-130 Hercules


Today we talk about the nicknames for the C-130 Hercules. Humans have always given affectionate nicknames to the things they love and mocking nicknames to those they do not. Ships, horses, dogs, and mothers-in-law often acquire monikers other than their given names, Old Ironsides and ‘old battleaxe’ for instance, and in the military, weapons, tanks, sergeants, and generals all earn titles or callsigns describing an individual trait or quirk. In civilian life, cars, trucks, bulldozers, drinking buddies, cities, and neighborhoods – just about anything can acquire a nickname. Moreover, aircraft are no exception.

Paratroops and C-130 Hercules at the airpower11 airshow on July 01, 2011 in Zeltweg, Austria

There’s the Fairchild A-10 Thunderbolt, better known as the Warthog for its distinctive, and many say ugly, design, the Lockheed U-2 spy plane, sometimes called the Useless Deuce, the Grumman F-14 Tomcat, also referred to as the Turkey, and the McDonnell Douglas F-15 Strike Eagle, which somehow gained the nickname of Tennis Court. However, few aircraft have been called by as many humorous names by the men and women who have flown and served on them than the much beloved and honored workhorse, the Lockheed C-130 Hercules Aircraft. Here’s a look at a few of the most popular ones.

Popular Nicknames for the C-130 Hercules

The popular C-130 Hercules is used by many military and air forces around the world. With the military especially, we’ve grown accustom to intresting nicknames of the tools the military uses. Here’s a look at a few of the most popular ones.

  • Bleed Air Blimp– Bleed air is highly compressed air produced by the compressor section of gas-turbine engines, a certain amount of which can be bled off and used for many other purposes on an aircraft. Some of these uses include engine cooling, cabin pressurization, starting other engines, air conditioning, anti-icing systems, hydraulic fluid reservoir pressurization, and more. Since most of this aircraft is powered or assisted by air bleeding from other sources and the blimp part of this common C-130 nickname is derived from the bulbous, inflated-looking profile of the aircraft, Bleed Air Blimp makes perfect sense.
  • The Herk or Herc– The most-used moniker for the C-130 Hercules, obviously just a shortened version of Hercules, is Herc or Herk. Though this nickname is usually, not always, spelled with a ‘c’ it is sometimes seen with a ‘k’ for some reason, and truly no one seems to know why. The use of ‘k’ is seen in Wikipedia and other forums, but typically you’ll see this nickname as ‘Herc.’ Many veterans and military historians trace the origin of the nickname “Herc” back to the Vietnam War. However, there’s some evidence to indicate it was in usage as far back as 1950, when the plane was first introduced, or even earlier, during the design and testing stage at Lockheed, which would make sense since it’s such an obvious nickname.
  • Fat Albert– This is a nickname used exclusively by the U.S. Navy’s elite aerobatic demonstration team, the Blue Angels. As an interesting aside, the squadron’s iconic name originated in New York City in 1946, when one of the original members saw a New Yorker magazine article about the popular Blue Angel nightclub, and the team adopted it as their nickname. Their C-130, often called just Bert for short, it is used mostly for logistics duties such as carrying equipment and spare parts as well as ferrying support personnel between airshows. It also performs flyovers, and starting in 1975 it was used to demonstrate the impressive JATO (Jet Assisted Take Off) system to awe airshow audiences, but this was unfortunately discontinued in 2009 due to a shortage of the necessary rockets, Vietnam-era EF-84Gs. There have been two C-130 Hercules used in succession by the Blue Angels since 1992, the first one a TC-130G, and the second a C-130T. Although Fat Albert flies to support a Navy unit, it is a U.S. Marine Corp bird and is operated exclusively by Marine personnel.

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