Daily Archives: August 23, 2023

23 August 1954

The first prototype Lockheed YC-130 Hercules takes of fromm the Lockheed Air terminal, Burbank, California, 23 August 1954. (Lockheed Martin)
The first prototype Lockheed YC-130 Hercules, 53-3397, takes of from the Lockheed Air Terminal, Burbank, California, 23 August 1954. (Lockheed Martin)

23 August 1954: The first of two Lockheed YC-130 Hercules four-engine transport prototypes, 53-3397, made its first flight from the Lockheed Air Terminal at Burbank, California, to Edwards Air Force Base. The flight crew consisted of test pilots Stanley Beltz and Roy Wimmer, with Jack G. Real (a future Lockheed vice president) and Dick Stanton as flight engineers. From a standing start, the YC-130 was airborne in 855 feet (261 meters), The flight lasted 1 hour, 1 minute.

The C-130 was designed as a basic tactical transport, capable of carrying 72 soldiers or 64 paratroopers. All production aircraft have been built at Lockheed Martin’s Marietta, Georgia, plant.

Lockheed YC-130 53-3397 during its first flight, 23 August 1954. (Lockheed Martin)

The first production model, the C-130A Hercules, was 97.8 feet (29.81 meters) long with a wingspan of 132.6 feet (40.42 meters), and height of 38.1 feet (11.61 meters). Total wing area was 1,745.5 square feet (162.16 square meters). The transport’s empty weight was 59,164 pounds (26,836 kilograms) and takeoff weight, 122,245 pounds (55,449 kilograms).

The C 130 has a rear loading ramp for vehicles, and there is a large cargo door on the left side of the fuselage, forward of the wing, The transport’s cargo compartment volume is 3,708 cubic feet (105.0 cubic meters). It could carry 35,000 pounds (15,876 kilograms) of cargo.

Lockheed YC-130 53-3397 during its first flight, 23 August 1954. (Lockheed Martin)

The C-130A was equipped with four Allison T56-A-1A turboshaft engines, driving three-bladed propellers. The engines produced 3,094 shaft horsepower at 13,820 r.p.m. (continuous), and 3,460 horsepower, Military Power (30-minute limit) or Takeoff ( 5-minute limit).

The C-130A had a cruise speed of 286 knots (329 miles per hour/530 kilometers per hour) and maximum speed of 326 knots (375 miles per hour/604 kilometers per hour) at 24,200 feet (7,376 meters). Its range with a 35,000 pound ( kilogram) payload was 1,835 nautical miles (2,112 statute miles/3,398 kilometers). The initial rate of climb at Sea Level was 4,320 feet per minute (21.95 meters per second). The combat ceiling was 38,700 feet (11,796 meters).

Lockheed YC-130 Hercules prototype, 53-3397. (SDA&SM)
Lockheed C-130A-LM Hercules 55-031, circa 1957. The radome has been added and the tip of the vertical fin squared off. (U.S. Air Force)

In addition to its basic role as a transport, the C-130 has also been used as an aerial tanker, a command-and-control aircraft, weather reconnaissance, search and rescue and tactical gunship. It has even been used as a bomber, carrying huge “Daisy Cutters” to clear large areas of jungle for use as helicopter landing zones, or, more recently, the Massive Ordnance Air Blast “mother of all bombs.” The aircraft has been so versatile that it has served in every type of mission. Over 40 variants have been built by Lockheed, including civilian transports. It is in service worldwide.

The latest version is the Lockheed C-130J Hercules. After 69 years, the C-130 is still in production, longer than any other aircraft type.

YC-130 53-3397 was scrapped at Indianapolis in 1962.

Lockheed C-130J Hercules transports under construction at Lockheed's Marietta, Georgia plant. (Lockheed Martin)
Lockheed C-130J Hercules transports under construction at Lockheed Martin’s Marietta, Georgia plant. (Lockheed Martin)

© 2018, Bryan R. Swopes

23 August 1938

Gwinn Aircar NX1271. (Wright State University)

23 August 1938: Frank Monroe Hawks had given up air racing and speed record attempts. As vice president of the Gwinn Aircar Co., Inc., he was demonstrating the company’s Model I prototypes to potential investors and customers.

At about 5:00 p.m., Tuesday afternoon, Hawks landed the airplane on the polo field at the E.F. Rogers estate, near East Aurora, New York. He offered to take J. Hazard Campbell for a flight.

Mr. Rogers later said, “Commander Hawks landed on our field about 5 p.m., and offered to take myself or any of our guests for a ride. Campbell climbed in first.

“The plane lifted in the air and Hawks tilted it 50 feet above the ground to enable it to pass between two tall trees. As he passed out of sight it looked as though he had not been able to gain sufficient altitude and was trying to bring the plane down.

“Just as he disappeared we heard a loud crash and a flash of flame from behind the trees and we knew he had struck the electric wires and telephone poles.

“Myself and members of the family ran to the plane and found Hawks inside the burning machine on the seat. His clothes were on fire so we stripped him and pulled him away.

“Campbell was thrown from the plane and pinned under a crumpled and burning wing.”

George Scheneckenburger of E. Aurora was also quoted, “The wheels of the ship appeared to have stripped electric wires from poles, plunging the craft into the field. We examined the wreckage, what little there was, and found one of the fire extinguishers had blown up and another one had not been used. The flames ate everything but the bare skeleton of the plane.”

Pottstown Mercury, Vol. 7, No. 284, Wednesday 24 August 1938, at Page 1, Columns 2 and 3; and Page 3, Column 6

Los Angeles Times, Vol. LVII, Wednesday 24 August 1938, at Page 3, Columns 3–6

Hawks and Campbell were taken to a hospital in Buffalo, New York. They were extensively injured and had suffered third-degree burns. Both men died within hours.

The first prototype Gwinn Model I Aircar, serial number 501, NX1271. (Niagara Aerospace Museum)
3-view drawing of Gwinn Aircar. (L’Aérophile, October 1937, Page 223)

Frank Hawks’ airplane was the second of two Gwinn Model I Aircars, NX16921, serial number 502. The airplane’s Civil Aviation Authority certificate had been issued only the previous week, 16 August 1938.

The Gwinn Aircar had been designed by Joseph Marr Gwinn, Jr., a graduate of Tulane University. Gwinn was World War I pilot and former engineer for Reuben Fleet’s Consolidated Aircraft Corporation of Buffalo, New York.

Gwinn had designed his airplane to be simple to fly. Its flight controls were intentionally similar to the controls of an automobile, with a steering wheel that controlled the ailerons and elevators, a foot pedal throttle, operated by the pilot/driver’s right foot. A pedal to the right of the “steering column” operated the brakes, while one to the left (in the position of a car’s clutch pedal) operated the wing flaps. Control movement was limited. The airplane was reportedly “impossible” to stall.

Jersey cow.

The Aircar has been described as “stubby”, or “squat,” and other words perhaps less complementary. A noteworthy contemporary aeronautical publication said that the Gwinn Aircar, “resembled a Jersey cow in appearance.”

The Aircar was a two-place, single-engine, single-bay strut-braced biplane, with fixed tricycle landing gear. A French aeronautical publication, L’Aérophile, gave the Aircar’s length as 4.95 meters (16.24 feet), and its wingspan as 7.315 meters (23.999 feet). The total wing area was 15.70 square meters (168.99 square feet). The airplane’s empty weight was 225 kilograms (496.0 pounds), and its maximum gross weight was 725 kilograms (1,598.35 pounds).

Both wings had significant dihedral, with that of the lower being greater. The lower wing was staggered significantly behind the upper. Both wings used the NACA 4418 airfoil.

The first prototype Gwinn Model I Aircar, serial number 501, NX1271. (Unattributed)

The Aircar’s engine was produced by Pobjoy Airmotors and Aircraft, Ltd., Rochester, Kent, United Kingdom. It was an air-cooled, normally-aspirated 2.836 liter (173.056 cubic inch displacement) Pobjoy Niagara Mark II seven-cylinder radial engine with a compression ration of 6:1. The Mark II was rated at 84 horsepower at 3,200 r.p.m. at Sea Level, and a maximum 90 horsepower at 3,500 r.p.m. The engine required a minimum 73-octane gasoline. It turned a two- or four-bladed fixed pitch propeller through a 0.39:1 gear reduction. The Neptune Mark II weighed 145 pounds (65.8 kilograms).

Some sources state that both Gwinn Aircars were re-engined with the redesigned Pobjoy Niagara Mark V. The Mark V had the cylinder bore diameter increased, giving a displacement of 3.138 liters (191.503 cubic inches), and the compression ratio raised to 8:1. This required a change to 80-octane gasoline. The new engine was rated at 125 horsepower at 4,000 r.p.m. at Sea Level. The cruising power was 100 horsepower at 3,700 r.p.m., and it produced a maximum of 130 horsepower at 4,400 r.p.m. The propeller gear reduction ratio was increased to 0.468:1. The Niagara Mark V weighed 175 pounds (79.4 kilograms).

Gwinn Aircar NC1271, 1937 National Air Races. (Unattributed)

When equipped with the Niagara Mark II engine, the Aircar had a cruising speed of 175 kilometers per hour (109 miles per hour), and maximum speed of 193 kilometers per hour (120 miles per hour). Its range was 800 kilometers (497 miles). With the Niagara Mark V, the cruising speed increased to 198 kilometers per hour (123 miles per hour), and the maximum to 220 kilometers per hour (137 miles per hour). The airplane’s range decreased to 655 kilometers (407 miles).

After NX16921 was destroyed, Gwinn gave up on the idea. He took the first prototype to San Diego, California, when he rejoined Conslidated. As of 16 April 1945, NX1271 was registered to him at an address in Dearborn, Michigan. The registration was cancelled 12 July 1948.

Frank Monroe Hawks, 1932 (Edward Steichen)

Francis Monroe Hawks was born at Marshalltown, Iowa, 28 March 1897. He was the son of Charles Monroe Hawks, a barber, and Ida Mae Woodruff Hawks. He attended Long Beach Polytechnic High School, Long Beach, California, graduating in 1916. The school’s principal described him as the finest Shakespeare reader the school ever had. Hawks studied briefly at the University of Southern California, in Los Angeles.

Frank Hawks enlisted as a flying cadet, Air Service, United States Army, at Love Field, Dallas, Texas, 6 April 1917. After being commissioned as a second lieutenant, he was assigned as a flight instructor until March 1919. He rose to the rank of Captain. Released from active duty, Hawks retained his commission as a reserve officer. Hawks transferred to the U.S. Naval Reserve with the rank of Lieutenant Commander, with date of rank 27 May 1932.

Hawks’ flying had made him a popular public figure. He starred in a series of Hollywood movies as “The Mysterious Pilot.”

Poster advertising Episode 5 of the movie serial, “The Mysterious Pilot.” (Columbia Pictures)
The Los Angeles Times reported, “This fire-scorched photograph of Commander Frank Hawks was recovered yesterday from his burned airplane.”

On 28 December 1920, Miss Amelia Earhart took her first ride in an airplane at Long Beach Airport in California. The ten-minute flight began her life-long involvement in aviation. The airplane’s pilot was Frank Monroe Hawks.

Francis M. Hawks married Miss Newell Lane at Lewiston, Montana, 7 August 1918. They had a daughter, Dolly (Polly?) but later divorced. He next married Mrs. Edith Bowie Fouts at St. John’s Church, Houston, Texas, 26 October 1926.

Frank Hawks set over 200 speed records. He flew a series of airplanes sponsored by Texaco, including the Travel Air Type R “Mystery Ship.”

Frank Hawks’ remains were cremated and interred at Redding Ridge Cemetery, Redding, Connecticut.

Frank Monroe Hawks with the Texaco 13 Travel-Air Mystery Ship at East Boston Airport, 1930. (Courtesy of the Boston Public Library, Leslie Jones Collection)


Joseph Hazard Campbell (commonly known as J. Hazard Campbell) was born at Providence, Rhode Island, 23 September 1900. He was a stock broker and “socialite.” He was the second child of Frederic T. Campbell, a bill collector, and Mary Hoxsie Liscomb. Campbell married Miss Marjorie Millard Knox in Paris, France, 7 June 1927. They had a daughter, Gracia. Mrs. Campbell was an heiress to the F.W. Woolworth stores.


Joseph Marr Gwinn, Jr., was born at Joplin, Missouri, 16 October 1897. He was the son of Joseph Mar Gwinn, a school teacher, and Ellis Gwinn.

J.M. Gwinn Jr., 1917

Gwinn attended Tulane University, New Orleans, Louisiana, as a member of the Class of 1917. he studied mechanical and electrical engineering.  During his senior year, he was an Officer of Instruction in Mathematics. Gwinn was a member of the Delta Sigma Phi fraternity (ΔΣΦ), the Mandolin and Guitar Club, the Tulane Quartette. He was Secretary of the Engineering Society, Class Treasurer, and competed with the Technology Track Team.

Joseph Marr Gwinn, Jr., married Miss Mildred Curran in New York, 5 October 1920. They would have two children.

Gwinn was employed as an aeronautical engineer for the Consolidated Aircraft Company of Buffalo, New York. When, the company relocated to San Diego, California, he remained in Buffalo to work on his Aircar design, but rejoined the company, now the Consolidated-Vultee Aircraft Corporation.

Following World War II, Gwinn became chief engineer of Garwood Industries in Dearborn, Michigan.

Joseph Marr Gwinn, Jr., died in Dearborn, in July 1965.

© 2018, Bryan R. Swopes

23 August 1937

Captain Carl J. Crane, Captain George V. Holloman and Mr. Raymond K. Stout with the C-14B, 31-381. (United States Air Force 090176-F-1234K-007)

23 August 1937: The first completely automatic landing of an airplane took place at Patterson Field, near Dayton, Ohio. With Captain George Vernon Holloman in the cockpit, and Captain Carl Joseph Crane and Mr. Raymond K. Stout in the cabin, a Fokker Y1C-14B, Army serial number 31-381, departed Wright Field then automatically intercepted a series of four radio beacons, initiated a descent, and landed at nearby Patterson Field and braked to a stop, all without any input from the pilot.

The two military officers were each awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross and the Mackay Trophy.

14 October 1938. Secretary of War Harry Hines Woodring (left) pins gold medal on Carl J. Crane (center) and George V. Holloman (right). “War Secretary presents Army Flyers with Mackay Trophy. Washington, D.C. Oct. 14.” (Library of Congress)

The President of the United States of America, authorized by Act of Congress, July 2, 1926, takes pleasure in presenting the Distinguished Flying Cross to Captain (Air Corps) George V. Holloman, U.S. Army Air Corps, for extraordinary achievement while participating in aerial flights in connection with the design and development of the airplane automatic landing system which made possible the first complete automatic airplane landing in history. Over the period of two years during which this system was under development, Captain Holloman, with utter disregard of his personal safety, performed virtually all of the great amount of flight testing which was required for the numerous items of equipment which go to make up the complete automatic landing assembly, and when finally on 23 August 1937, the first experimental automatic landing flights were made, he was in the cockpit of the airplane used for this purpose. The engineering skill, judgment, and resourcefulness displayed by Captain Holloman, and his courage in performing hundreds of test flights with highly experimental equipment, contributed largely to the ultimate successful development of the automatic landing system.

General Orders: War Department: American Decorations, 1940 (Supplement IV-1940)

Action Date: August 23, 1937

Service: Army Air Forces

Rank: Captain

A contemporary aviation publication stated:

After two years of research and preparation daring pilots and engineers of the Army Air Corps in 1937 began to make automatic “blind” landings without any control from the occupants of the airplane or observers on the surface. On Monday, August 23, a day when the air was bumpy and the wind decidedly adverse, a big Army plane swung over the horizon near Wright Field, at Dayton, O., and glided straight down on the runway, rolling a few yards and then coming to a stop as if it had been at all times in the hands of an expert pilot. But nobody had anything to do with this landing; There were three men in the Army’s cargo plane, and they were the three experts who had developed the apparatus. Like true scientists they had gone up and come down on this test to see for themselves just how their creation would work. . . .

The AIRCRAFT YEAR BOOK FOR 1938, Howard Mingos, Editor, Aeronautical Chamber of Commerce of America, Inc., New York, 1938, Chapter II at Pages 43–50

Diagram from Patent Application No. US358438A

The automatic landing system used a barometric altimeter, a radio compass and Sperry Autopilot. The pilot would fly the airplane to a predetermined altitude at a distance greater than 20 miles (32 kilometers) from the airfield. When the system was activated, the airplane automatically maintained this altitude and turned toward the outermost beacon. (Turns of up to 180° were demonstrated.)

As the airplane passed over each of the three outer beacons, the radio compass frequency would change to that of the next successive beacon, and the airplane homed in on it. Coupled with the altimeter, the system prevented the airplane from descending below the minimum altitude until it had passed the innermost beacon.

When passing over the innermost beacon, the engine was automatically throttled back to begin a controlled descent. It then set the throttle to maintain a preset rate of descent and glide slope angle until ground contact was made. Switches in the landing gear signaled the system to bring the engine to idle and apply the brakes.

During testing all of the landings were made with a crosswind.

Y1C-14B (U.S. Air Force 097014-F-1234K-035)

The Fokker Y1C-14B was a variant of the F-14 commercial transport. It was a single-engine parasol-wing monoplane with conventional fixed landing gear. The airplane was flown by a single pilot in an open cockpit and could carry up to six passengers in its enclosed cabin. It was 43 feet, 3 inches (13.183 meters) long, with a wingspan of 59 feet, 0 inches (17,983 meters) and height of 12 feet, 0 inches (3.658 meters). The airplane’s maximum takeoff weight was 7,341 pounds (3,330 kilograms).

Fokker Y1C-14B 31-381, Wright Field. (United States Air Force 050406-F-1234P-036)

The Y1C-14B differed from the C-14A with the installation of an air-cooled, 1,690.537-cubic-inch-displacement (27.703 liters) Pratt & Whitney R-1690-5 nine-cylinder radial engine. This engine was direct-drive and had a compression ratio of 5:1. Burning 73-octane gasoline, it was rated at 525 horsepower at 1,900 r.p.m. at Sea Level. The R-1690-5 was 3 feet, 8.78 inches (1.137 meters) long, 4 feet, 6.43 inches (1.383 meters) in diameter and weighed 850 pounds (386 kilograms). This engine was sold commercially as the Pratt & Whitney Hornet A2.

Y1C-14B (U.S. Air Force 097014-F-1234K-036)

The Y1C-14B had a cruise speed of 133 miles per hour (214 kilometers per hour) and maximum speed of 150 miles per hour (241 kilometers per hour). The service ceiling was 14,300 feet (4,359 meters). Its range was 675 miles (1,086 kilometers).

Atlantic Aircraft Y1C-14B (U.S. Air Force 097014-F-1234K-037)

© 2019, Bryan R. Swopes