Minnesota Air National Guard upgrades C-130 fleet

The Minnesota Air National Guard showed off upgrades to its fleet of C-130H aircraft on Wednesday.

The transport plane arrived at MSP airport after receiving propeller upgrades in Waco, Texas.

The aircraft is the first in Minnesota’s fleet of eight C-130s to upgrade from the “legacy” four-blade propellers to the new and improved eight-blade props.

The new propellers will reduce the amount of regular maintenance required to operate the planes and as 133rd Airlift Wing Commander Col. James Cleet says, make the aircraft “more efficient in every way”.

Lt. Col. Pete Ament, who was a pilot on the return flight to MSP, said that the new props make flying in the plane “a lot less fatiguing” for crews due to reduced vibration.

The Air Guard says that Minnesota aviators have accrued more than 213,000 flight hours in the aircraft since the 133rd Airlift Wing started flying the C-130 in 1971.

The current aircraft used by the 133rd arrived in Minnesota in 1996, and this upgrade is part of the Air Guard’s effort to modernize its fleet.

The next step in upgrading the C-130s is to install new engines and eventually a “glass cockpit” modification.

The C-130 is used to transport equipment, make medical evacuations, and drop airborne troops in addition to other missions.