A little over sixty years ago, a very special aircraft joined the ranks of the Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF). The Hercules first flew in 1954, and was subsequently acquired by the RCAF in 1960. The aircraft has served Canada and Canadians quite well throughout its long and diverse history. If you consider that, when it was first designed and built, it had been barely fifty years since the Wright Brothers made their first heavier than air flight, it’s safe to say that the designers at Lockheed really got it right.
While the Hercules has benefitted from upgraded avionics and engines over time, most notably with the distinctive six-bladed propellers on the newest J model, the basic design of the aircraft has not changed very much.
In its transport role, the Hercules has carried just about anything and everything that you can imagine. For decades, it was the only way in or out of Alert. It’s very interesting to consider that just about all the infrastructure in Alert made its final delivery trip in the back of a Hercules.
Nationally and internationally, the sound of an arriving Hercules has often meant salvation to those in need. From flood and fire evacuations in remote Canadian communities to the delivery of aid in the wake of natural disasters, the Hercules has been the delivery truck of the RCAF. In its search and rescue role, the roaring Hercules has symbolized the sweet sound of survival for countless Canadians in need of rescue.
It was not built as a…