Wednesday, January 8, 2020

New home for South Vietnam Air Force C-130 that landed at Singapore's Paya Lebar Airport in 1975

You call, we haul: Never thought a C-130 could be moved by truck? Well now you know it can - with major disassembly! Former VNAF C-130A (serial HCF 460), the same Hercules that landed in Singapore in April 1975, being moved by truck in August 2019 from Dulles International Airport to its new home in New York state. 

Some happy military news for a change in this mad start to 2020.

The South Vietnam Air Force C-130A Hercules, nicknamed Saigon Lady, that landed suddenly at Paya Lebar Airport in April 1975 will receive a new lease of life at the National Warplane Museum in Geneseo, New York.

The transport aircraft is due to be unveiled in mid-2020 as a memorial to the Vietnam War. Saigon Lady is now being restored at the museum and will be repainted in her original VNAF camouflage colours.

After the C-130 landed in Singapore 45 years ago, the aircraft was handed to the United States as the Republic of South Vietnam had fallen. It eventually joined the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum’s collection at Dulles International Airport, just outside Washington D.C. The four-engine turborprop remained in open storage at Dulles, minus her propellors, until the Geneseo museum acquired her in 2017.

Here are some pictures of her 547 km (340 mile) road trip, courtesy of Pham Quang Khiem. He was the pilot who flew the C-130 to Paya Lebar.

Read an account of the air intrusion here: Interview with Vietnamese pilot who beat Singapore's air defences in 1975. Click here

With her tail fin removed, Saigon Lady waits at Dulles before she was disassembled for her long 547 km road trip to New York state.

Engine Number 4 is hoisted off the wing.

 Close ups (top and bottom pix) of the main under carriage wheel hubs.

The C-130A fuselage is gently loaded on a low-boy trailer.

For truck nuts, that's a Western Star low-boy tractor-trailer.

Flashback April 1985: A poignant moment for Khiem as he touches Saigon Lady for the first time in 10 years. Khiem maintains fond memories of the transport aircraft, which was one of the last planes to leave South Vietnam, as it saved his family and crew.

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