Historic aircraft slowly makes its way to museum

Plane transported all the way from Georgia
A rare modified C-130 transport plane moves along New Karner Road in Guilderland.
A rare modified C-130 transport plane moves along New Karner Road in Guilderland.

Categories: News, Schenectady County

Coming all the way from Robins Air Force Base in Georgia, the last piece of a historic modified YMC130H aircraft ended its trip to the Empire State Aerosciences Museum (ESAM) in Glenville on Friday evening.

But it wasn’t easy.

After two and a half weeks of transportation, the truck carrying the piece was stopped between Route 20 and Washington Avenue extension Friday afternoon because of the width of the aircraft’s body.

State troopers arrived to help redirect the truck after it was held up for a few hours because of several restrictions. Large loads require permits which become invalid during rush hour.

Museum volunteers were eagerly awaiting the aircraft, hoping the truck would be moving by 6 p.m. so it could arrive by sundown, otherwise it would have had to stay put over the weekend. It did make it to the museum on Route 50 by sundown, but barely.

The aircraft is one of three that were modified in 1980. It was created specifically for a rescue mission in 1980 called Operation Credible Sport. It was to be used in a second attempt to rescue 52 American hostages held at the U.S. Embassy in Tehran, Iran.

But the mission was canceled before the aircraft could complete its testing program after the hostages were released. 

Frank Hackert was one of the volunteers working to get the aircraft’s body safely to the museum.

“It’s a piece of history that’s not well known because these rescue missions were closely held information.

“It’s technically really remarkable what they were trying to do. They were trying to get a plane to fly in and out of a field no bigger than a football field. From the looks of it, they were close to that.” Hackert said.

It will be the biggest airplane in the museum’s collection, reaching a length and width of 16 feet and the only surviving aircraft out of three that still possess unique 1980s’ modifications.

“I was asked from the Air Force to find it a new home,” said Charlie White, a government contractor who oversaw the aircraft which was donated by the Air Force. The pieces of the plane were brought in four trips. The body of the aircraft took two and half weeks to arrive at the museum because of hold ups in Pennsylvania, Virginia and New York.

According to White, a complete assembly of the aircraft won’t begin until September and will take six weeks to assemble and restore. White will bring a team of six people to help ESAM assemble the aircraft. Personnel from the Stratton Air National Guard base will also be lending a hand. ESAM anticipates it won’t be available to the public for almost another year.

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