We had a unique visit in St. Croix today from the 109th Airlift Wing (109 AW) in this Lockheed LC-130 Hercules. Yes, those are retractable skis!
LC-130 Hercules, a.k.a. Skibird
The LC-130 Hercules is a four-engine turboprop modified with wheel-ski gear in support of Arctic and Antarctic operations. Similar to how an aircraft with pontoons is called a seaplane, the LC-130 is called a skibird. The 109 AW is the only unit in the world to fly these aircraft. Learn more about the LC-130 from the 109 AW LC-130 Fact Sheet.
109th Airlift Wing
109 AW is a unit of the New York Air National Guard stationed at Stratton Air National Guard Base in Schenectady, New York. The Wing supports both state and federal missions. State responsibilities include assistance with emergencies, like hurricane response.
When activated to federal service, the Wing is gained by the United States Air Force Air Mobility Command. Missions include polar airlift, aeromedical evacuation, aerial port, and field hospital contingencies. The 109 AW fleet also flies for the National Science Foundation United States Antarctic Program, supporting a wide range of scientific research on climate change, global warming, ozone depletion, earth history, astronomy and environmental change.
Read a history of 109 AW.