Eight-Blade Prop Eyed for C-130 Arctic Operations

Air Force officials are evaluating a new eight-bladed propeller on a C-130H3 aircraft at Edwards, AFB, Calif. The NP 2000 propeller holds the promise of improving the C-130’s performance during takeoff and climb-out. USAF officials are specifically targeting this upgrade for the New York Air National Guard’s ski-equipped LC-130s that support the US scientific research mission in Antarctica. “Right now, they use these jet-assisted takeoff bottles” to get up to speed in the required distance, said C-130 flight commander Maj. C.B. Cain. The propeller blades’ scimitar shape simultaneously reduces drag, while increasing thrust, potentially eliminating the need for JATO. Edwards’ 418th Test Squadron on Oct. 28 successfully completed maximum-power takeoff, landing, and minimum-velocity handling tests, with promising results. Navy E-2 Hawkeyes already use the NP 2000, which represents the next iteration in technology beyond the C-130J’s six-bladed design. (Edwards report by Kenji Thuloweit)