Tag Archives: Lockheed YC-130 Hercules

31 August 1955

Lockheed NF-94B (All The World’s Aircraft)

31 August 1955: At 7:42 a.m., Lockheed engineering test pilot Stanley Alexander Beltz departed Air Force Plant 42, at Palmdale, in the high desert of southern California, to perform a series of stall tests of a highly-modified NF-94B interceptor. The test program required three stalls in a “clean” configuration, and three “dirty”: with the landing gear extended and flaps lowered.

The clean stall tests went well. Then, at an altitude of 10,000 feet (3,048 meters), Beltz lowered the landing gear and flaps. Pushing the right rudder pedal put the airplane into a stall. Beltz made a radio call, “Here she goes!”

The Los Angeles Times reported:

Lockheed Test Pilot Dies in Crash of Jet

     Stanley A. Beltz, 44, Lockheed engineering test pilot, was killed yesterday when his F-94B jet crashed into open desert northeast of Lancaster after the plane narrowly missed homes in the area.

     Beltz was acclaimed a hero by residents who said he might have jumped, but apparently elected to stay with his disabled plane until he had safely cleared houses in the sparsely settled mile-long district between the Lancaster Fairgrounds and the scene of the crash.

     The veteran flier died in the flaming wreckage of his two-place interceptor which had been modified for special Air Force test work, probably launching studies on air-to-air missiles.

     Beltz took off from Palmdale at 7:42 a.m. and the jet smashed to earth just 15 minutes later. The pilot rode the ship to his death without triggering his ejection seat for an emergency parachute jump.

Cause Not Determined

“Stanley A. Beltz, 44, test pilot, died yesterday in jet crash.” (Los Angeles Times)

     Cause of the crash could not be determined immediately, although it is believed the Lockheed pilot was being followed by a chase plane at the time.

     There was no disclosure as to the altitude of the F-94B when the emergency occurred nor any of the radio transmissions Beltz may have made before the crash.

     A Lockheed pilot since 1943, Beltz had flown almost every type of ship produced by the company since that time with the exception of the F-90, the F-104 and the vertical riser.

     He was known particularly for his testing of multiengine aircraft built by Lockheed, including the double-deck Constitution, the P2V Navy patrol bomber and the C-130 military turbo-prop transport.

Former Instructor

     Before he joined the Burbank company he was a wartime flight instructor at War Eagle Field, Lancaster, and instrument flight instructor with Western Air Lines and a test pilot for the Glenn L. Martin Co. at Omaha.

     He leaves a sister, Mrs. Victor Sabo of North Hollywood, and a brother, Dr. Daniel Beltz, of Inglewood. His former wife, Mrs. Josephine Beltz, lives in Hollywood.

     The test pilot made his home at 1603 Ave. Q6, Palmdale.

Los Angeles Times, Vol. LXXIV, Thursday, 1 September 1955, Part 2, Page 1 at  Column 5

Bomarc A

Beltz’s aircraft was a modified Lockheed F-94B interceptor, serial number 51-5502. It carried the nose cone,  radar and guidance systems of the F-99 BOMARC, ¹ a nuclear-armed surface-to-air antiaircraft guided missile. The test airplane  was redesignated NF-94B.

Stanley Alexander Beltz was born at LaCrosse, Kansas, 7 May 1911. He was the tenth child of Alexander Beltz, a farmer and immigrant from Russia, and Eva Katherine Simon Beltz, a German immigrant. He had blond hair and blue eyes, was 5 feet, 7 inches (170 centimeters) tall and weighed 175 pounds (79.4 kilograms). In 1935, he worked as a truck driver for Rocky Mountain Lines, Inc. He married Josephine Charlotte Whitney in Kansas, 8 June 1935. They would later divorce.

Josephine and Stanley A. Beltz (sonyachinn/ancestry.com)

In 1936, Beltz went to work at the Lockheed Aircraft Company as a sheet metal fabricator on the company’s twin engine Model 10 Electra. He then learned to fly. Early in World War II, he flew as a civilian flight flight instructor, training military pilots. He was hired as a test pilot for the Glenn L. Martin Co., flying the B-26 Marauder medium bomber. He later returned to Lockheed as a production test pilot. He flew the twin-engine P-38 Lightning.

Stanley A. Beltz with Lockheed P-38L Lightning. (Lockheed Martin)

In 1945, Beltz was promoted to engineering test pilot. He flew the four-engine Constellation airliner, the RV-2 Constitution transport,  and all variants of the PV-2 Neptune patrol bomber. He had flown every Lockheed aircraft except the XF-90, the XFV-1 experimental VTOL, and the F-104 Starfighter. On 23 August 1954, he made the first flight of the turboprop-powered YC-130 Hercules transport. He said, “She’s a real flying machine. I could land it crossways on the runway if I had to.”

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

Bletz was a member of The Anciente and Secret Order of Quiet Birdmen, a fraternal organization of pilots.

Funeral services for Stanley Alexander Beltz were held at Steen’s Chapel, North Hollywood, Tuesday, 6 September 1955, at 10:30 a.m. His remains are interred Glen Haven Memorial Park, Sylmar, California.

(Find a Grave)

Beltz’s girlfriend, Mrs. Phyllis Ann Fratt, a ranching heiress, committed suicide ten days after his death. She had written:

Phyllis Ann Fratt (Arizona Republic)

. . . I was never anything until I fell in love with him. He was a great man. I loved and respected him with all my being and soul. There are one million things locked in my heart that tell how wonderful he was. We had so many beautiful things together. I can’t go on without him.

. . . and. . .

There’s nothing left of me—just an empty shell. My life, love, soul and being went with Stan.

—Phyllis Ann Fratt, 10 September 1955

¹ Boeing Michigan Aeronautical Research Center

© 2022, Bryan R. Swopes

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 67 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