This girl has some moves
To the thousands of people down on the lakefront watching the Milwaukee Air & Water Show this past weekend, seeing a gray cargo plane fly around probably wasn’t a main attraction or reason to attend. After all, it doesn’t do any loops or fly vertically like a little stunt plane. And it doesn’t dazzle the crowds by doing fly-bys along the beach at mach whatever with a ground-shaking roar.
But don’t tell that to the nine reporters who were strapped inside the C-130 Hercules during a media flight Saturday to watch the U.S. Navy Leap Frogs parachute onto Bradford Beach. Soon after takeoff they learned first-hand that the C-130 is a tactical aircraft, which in layman’s terms means it’s got some moves.
The purpose of the flight was two-fold: first to allow the media to watch the three-member Leap Frog team prepare, and then jump from the back of the Hercules. The C-130 was from the Air Force Reserve’s 440th Airlift Wing, which formerly was based in Milwaukee until it relocated in 2007 to North Carolina. The wing still has strong ties to Milwaukee as about 50 Reservists from southeast Wisconsin belong to the wing, including myself who works in public affairs and was escorting the media on the flight. The second part of the flight was to demonstrate the capabilities of the aircraft.
After the Frogs were safely on the ground, it was time to flex the Herc’s muscles. We did low-level passes at about 275 mph then banked hard to the left in a 60 degree turn that placed two Gs on the body of everyone on board. We performed these passes a few times, along with some nice climbs as well.
As the media walked off the plane following the hour-long flight, more than half had to pitch their airsickness bag into a waiting garbage bag. No one said being a reporter was easy. But at least they now know that the C-130, which made its initial flight in the 1950s, may not be the prettiest girl at the ball, but she can dance.