How to Land a 35-Ton, 4-Engine Military Cargo Aircraft Inside of a Soccer Stadium

Dec 26 2011

After a failed helicopter rescue mission during a 1980 hostage crisis in Iran, US government had to come up with another way of airlifting injured people along with a handful of Delta Force. The only problem was safely landing something large enough to carry 52 people, inside of a soccer stadium and then airlifting everyone to a nearby air carrier.

The Mission

After a failed operation codenamed "Operation Eagle Claw" initiated by Jimmy Carter that resulted in 8 killed, 4 wounded, 1 helicopter and 1 transport aircraft destroyed, as well as 5 helicopters abandoned/captured, US government had to come up with a new top secret operation to rescue 52 American hostages that were held captive at the U.S. Embassy in Tehran, Iran.

Back in 1980, US military didn't have anything effective enough to be able to carry a large payload and have a short take-off/landing capabilities, so they have decided to retrofit 3 of the C-130s with rocket engines that would cut down the 1,400 ft (427 m) takeoff/landing distance to a mere 492 ft (150 m) of that of the Shahid Shiroudi Stadium.

Check out some photos and a video of these rocket launchers.


This video shows the early stage testing of the rocket upgrades on the C-130

Operation Timeline in Photos:

Take off from an airbase in US

On the way to Iran refuel 5+ times

Land C-130 inside of Amjadien soccer stadium

Airlift 52 people (injured + Delta Force)

Land on a nearby air carrier

Below is the photo of one of the 3 C-130s that was retrofitted with rockets

Thankfully this mission was never initiated due to Jimmy Carter re-election loss to Ronald Reagan, which put an end to this crisis. All 52 hostages were safely released after being held in captivity for 444 days.

This is What US Would Use Today to Complete the Above Mission

Since then, US military has developed another aircraft that is capable of carrying large payloads and have a vertical takeoff/landing capabilities. Find out more about V-22 Osprey.

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Categories: Aviation, Military, Society

Tags: aircraft, c-130, hercules, iran, rescue mission, rockets


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