Farewell after 47 years to the Hercules aircraft, a legend of the armed forces

Publication: Monday, January 4, 2021 2:57 PM

Hercules is already a legend, he has lived through great humanitarian missions and tragedies that are difficult to forget. This is how José Ramón García, lieutenant-colonel and pilot, said he was “very impressed” by the image of the Indonesian tsunami: “Crossing the devastated area, you could see the scale of the disaster with the naked eye. “.

But he also saw stories almost from a story, like bringing the Odyssey treasure to Spain. “The Odyssey mission was historic because we were going in search of treasure and it was a nice feeling taking this trip. It’s something that is part of history, ”explains Jesús García, second lieutenant and flight engineer.

The images of the transfer of an Ebola patient are also part of the story. García remembers that they were not admitted to “any country”, so they had to “bring him directly”.

In some of these missions, the maintenance of the aircraft was very complicated. “Changing a drink in Kyrgyzstan in mid-January with a maximum temperature of minus 20 degrees is quite a special situation,” says Gregorio Rubí, commander and head of maintenance.

However, it experienced one of the biggest scares at the base itself in 1988. “We collided with a fighter in flight and it took six and a half meters of wing,” says García, a piece exposed to the base itself.

During these 47 years, the cabins of the Hercules have carried one million passengers and 155,000 tonnes of cargo. But the most important is their motto because they are ready anytime, anything and anywhere.

Its great capacity is to be able to land almost anywhere, and even to drop the load in flight: “In the war in Iraq, the vehicles had to be lowered while moving, while going down the ramp”, remembers Miriam Longares, first corporal. and load supervisor. The Hercules has become much more than a plane, it can now be visited in the museum.

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