MAPS welcomes largest aircraft in its history

Hercules combat cargo aircraft
A four-engine turboprop C-130H Hercules combat cargo aircraft arrived on-loan from the Mansfield-Lahm Air National Guard Base to the Military Aviation Preservation Society Air Museum, Jan. 7. (Submitted photo)

CANTON, Ohio — The new year brings one of the biggest physical loans to the MAPS Air Museum: a C-130H Hercules Air Force combat cargo aircraft.

This is something of a homecoming for the C-130 since MAPS volunteer member Ray Weber has a personal connection to this type of aircraft. Weber, a retired one-star general, flew the first C-130 to Mansfield when the base opened. Now, his son, a two-star general, and his grandson also fly C-130s.

One of the largest aircraft loaned to MAPS joined its historic fellow aircraft Jan. 7. The C-130H “Spirit of Mansfield” — serial number 88-4401 — is more than 97 feet long, with a wingspan of more than 132 feet, and a height of more than 38 feet.

The next largest aircraft at MAPS are the World War II vintage aircraft, a Douglas A-26C-25-DT Invader bomber and a Douglas C-47D-45-DK Skytrain, also known as a “Gooney Bird.”

In general, former military aircraft still in military inventory are loaned to museums rather then donated. The C-130 joins almost 60 other aircraft at the MAPS museum.

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