C-130 Hercules Reverse Rocket Failure

Video 31 added on 2006-07-28:
Video Type: Crash
Aircraft: C-130 Hercules
Views: 4607
Uploaded by: ATFS_Crash
Video Rating: 8.67
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Additional Info:

I have seen this video several places, many don't tell the story behind it, and many seem to have it wrong.

Operation Credible Sport, also known as Operation Honey Badger, was a United States military operation plan in late 1980 to rescue the hostages held in Iran using C-130 cargo planes modified with rocket engines. The Credible Sport operation was to follow the dramatic failure of Operation Eagle Claw in which a C-130 Hercules and a Sea Stallion helicopter collided in the Iranian desert, killing 8 servicemen. Credible Sport was abandoned after the election of Ronald Reagan as President in November, 1980.

The Credible Sport plan called for highly modified C-130 Hercules cargo planes to land in a soccer stadium not far from the American Embassy in Tehran and airlift the hostages out. Three aircraft were modified under a top secret project at Eglin Air Force Base, Florida to YMC-130H configuration with rocket packages blistered onto the forward and aft fuselage, which theoretically enabled the planes to land and take off within the confines of the sports arena.

During a demonstration at Duke Field, Eglin Auxiliary Field 3, on October 29, 1980, one of the modified Hercules fired its braking rockets a few seconds early (this seems to be wrong, see note below). The aircraft suffered an extremely heavy landing, tearing off the starboard wing, setting off a fire, and resulting in the airframe, serial 74-1683, being written off. Despite this, the entire crew survived.

This failure, coupled with the defeat of Jimmy Carter by Ronald Reagan in the presidential election on November 4, 1980, led to the cancellation of this rescue mission plan. The hostages were subsequently released concurrent with Reagan's inauguration in January 1981.

The other two airframes, serials 74-1686 and 74-2065, were stripped of their rocket modifications and returned to regular airlift duties. In 1988 74-1686 was placed on display at the Robins Air Force Base museum, Georgia. As of 2005, 74-2065 is assigned to the 317th Airlift Group, 15th Expeditionary Mobility Task Force, at Dyess Air Force Base, Texas.

One of the test pilots during the Credible Sport program elaborated on the test failure, the test with the footage now available. The pilot states that during the test the braking rockets did NOT fire prematurely, but right on time. It was the descent-arresting rockets, rockets that were supposed to fire after the braking rockets to slow the drop of the aircraft as the aircraft's forward velocity was halted and the wings ceased to provide lift that failed to fire. Looking at the video, it would appear that the braking rockets should be fired after the aircraft touched down to quickly stop the landing roll. However, the braking rockets were supposed to be fired while in the air, then the descent arresting rockets would fire to allow a controllable and almost vertical landing. It was these rockets that failed, with the crash landing and aircraft breakup resulting..

Note; the naration seems to be wrong on a major point in the video.

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