Journal American American Aviation Historical Society, Volume 18, Number 2, featured two photographs representing a portion of the service career of C-130D 57-0495, but the story is not complete, I feel without her last formal portrait. "495" was reputed to be the best "ski-bird" assigned to the 17th Tactical Airlift Squadron, and this accolade was accorded her by maintenance personnel who are normally very critical of an aircraft.

The career of this fine aircraft came to an abrupt end at 0655 hours, local time, on 5 July 1972, at DYE III, a remote radar site 200 miles east of Sondrestrom Air Base, Greenland. The aircraft was on final approach during a routine resupply mission when it entered a stall at low altitude and airspeed and impacted the ground (snow). The landing gear, skis, outboard fuel tanks, and the number one engine were torn from the aircraft, twelve feet of the left wing tip and six feet of the right wing tip were sheered. Fire destroyed the left inboard engine and the remainder of the left wing, as well as a portion of the right wing in the area of the fuel tank pylon. A blade from the number two propeller sheered, cutting a six foot gash in the left side of the fuselage, killing a Danish workman who was assigned to the site. The crew survived with no injuries.

With 6,258.7 hours on the airframe, 495 was considered beyond economical repair and useable components were salvaged at the crash site. The wreckage has been totally obliterated by the year's snowfall. Perhaps this is a more fitting end for a fine aircraft than the cutter's torch.

JOURNAL American Aviation Historical Society, Spring 1974.

Michael F. Monaghan
Captain, USAF
Elmendorf AFB, Alaska

Article courtesy of Fred Brackbill, Firebird navigator.