A 76,000-pound Lockheed C-130 “Hercules” took to the air Thursday morning at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, but the plane can’t fly.


A massive crane was used to raise the decommissioned C-130 from its pedestal at Heritage Park on JBER.


“It’s the only one of its size and kind in the state,” said Alaska Crane operations manager Luke Hough. “This was easy lifting. We still have about 100,000 pounds of counter weight we did not put on.”


For Tech Sgt. Brandon Litton, the event was the result of a lot of planning.


“We did a lot of prep work, a lot of research, a lot of looking back at the old paperwork when they put it on the pedestal,” said Litton.


C-130 pilot Maj. Kirby Chicon says the plane has been the workhorse of the military since the 1960s. The one moved Thursday flew its last mission in 2004 after logging almost 27,000 hours in the sky.


“I like it because it goes back to a paint job from the Vietnam era, kinda takes us back to history, what we used to do versus the missions we have now,” said Chicon.


A static C-130 Hercules at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska's Heritage Park is prepared to be transported to Hangar 21 for refurbishment by the 3rd Maintenance Squadron, Thursday, Feb. 25, 2016. Air Force heritage aircraft are inspected annually and required to receive restorative maintenance every 10-15 years.

A static C-130 Hercules at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska’s Heritage Park is prepared to be transported to Hangar 21 for refurbishment by the 3rd Maintenance Squadron, Thursday, Feb. 25, 2016. / U.S. Air Force photo/Justin Connaher


That Vietnam era paint job is why the plane is being moved.


“It’s going to actually get painted combat gray to represent the Wing, so it’s no longer going to be camouflage or anything like that,” said Litton.


After two decades on display at Heritage Park, the C130 needs a touch up so it looks more like today’s model, still flying.


“At Heritage Park we’ve got a bunch of different fighters that were flown here at Elmendorf and this is the only transport that we have here which is, from my perspective, actually pretty cool,” said Chicon.


The new paint job and restoration is a way to preserve a piece of United States Air Force history.


“A long time down the road the C-130 will probably be replaced by something different so it gives us a snapshot of the past,” said Litton.


Saturday, the airmen will move power lines and fencing to they can tow the plane to a hangar where it will be repainted. It will then be returned to Heritage Park for display.


The full restoration is expected to take around one month.


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