It appears the damage to a South African Air Force Lockheed Martin C-130BZ Hercules transport that suffered a nose-gear collapse on the evening of January 25 may be more serious than initially thought.
The Hercules (serial 404) was performing a ‘touch-and-go’ at the Waterkloof airbase when the nose undercarriage collapsed, causing the aircraft to come to a sudden stop. The nose of the aircraft was only raised by midday the following Tuesday.
Unconfirmed reports state that one of the tyres separated from the nose-gear axle and caused considerable damage to the underside of the aircraft as it rebounded under the fuselage.
It is not known exactly how serious the damage to the aircraft is, nor the damage caused to the recently resurfaced runway.
The SAAF has to date declined to comment, despite repeated requests.
The SAAF operates eight of the aircraft. Aircraft 404 is one of those originally acquired by the SAAF in 1963.
Pic:Aircraft 404 seen in 2007.