Prior to 1959, the United States Air Force requested Lockheed to modify twelve of its C-130 "A" models (57-0484 through 57-0495) to C-130D's. These modified aircraft were delivered in February, March, and April, of 1959. The new "D" model 130's were then assigned to the 61st Troop Carrier Squadron which was based at Sewart AFB, Tennessee. Air crews from the squadron were sent TDY to Bemidji, Minnesota in early 1959, to train on a frozen lake prior to being sent to Sondrestrom AB, Greenland. Each crew was required to complete five takeoffs and landings in order to be qualified. The airlift to build DYE II and DYE III was begun on April 1, 1959. By the end of December, 1960, the entire DYE site project was completed and the 61st TCS had returned to Sewart. (Cloe…excerpt)

On October 1, 1960, the 17th Troop Carrier Squadron was activated at Dyess AFB, Texas, to assume the mission associated with the southern Greenland DYE sites. The squadron was operational by February 8, 1961, and was given responsibility for the DYE II and DYE III on May 1, 1961. The twelve C-130D's were transferred to the new squadron from the 61st TCS. Aircraft already on site at Sondrestrom were transferred in place. Six of the ski models had their skis removed in 1962 and 1963, and were given a designation of C-130D-6. The D model hydraulic system was left in place in the event that skis would be required in the future. (Cloe…excerpt) (Photo of JATO takeoff by Harold Martin, 17th TAS Firebird Pilot)

The C-130D model's main skis were twenty feet long by five feet six inches wide. They had an eight degree nose-up and 15 degree nose down pitch which enabled them to move up and down and follow the uneven ice cap surfaces. The undersides were coated with Teflon to reduce surface friction and to resist adhesion to ice and snow. (Photo circa 1966 by Ray Hull, Firebird Pilot)

The "D" model nose ski measured ten feet long by five feet six inches wide. As with the main skis, the bottom of the nose ski was coated with Teflon in order to reduce friction and surface adhesion. (Photo courtesy of Ray Hull, Firebird Pilot, circa 1966)

Rear view of the C-130D ski system. Note four JATO bottles mounted on each side of fuselage. (Photo circa 1966, is courtesy of Ray Hull)

Reference: (Excerpts)
Cloe, John H., "C-130D Support of the Greenland Ice Cap Dye Sites," 1931st Communications Group (AFCS), Elmendorf AFB, Alaska, 1978. (Excerpts)

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