This is a C-130 and not a P-3, right?

From today’s MSN news. It was reported as the latter; one of the Australian planes searching for MH370.

Nope, thats a P-3 Orion.

The easiest way to tell is that the C-130 has its wings above the fuselage, while that one has its wings below.

Gawk. Been looking at pics of military planes since I was a kid. How can my knowledge fail me now?

IIRC Australia has had both types out searching at times so I could see how the news could mess things up.

That angle’s not a particularly forgiving one; you pretty much have to know the high-wing/low-wing difference.

Also, while both planes use the same engines, the P-3’s inlets are above the wing not below like the C-130s.

Is that to stop spray being ingested while flying low over the ocean?

No, the P-3 was derived from the old Lockheed 188 Electra, which also had its inlets above the wing.

The original YP-3A was based upon the Lockheed, however, the P-3 itself has an entirely different engine, the Allison T-56, the same engine as the C-130.


Do I remember correctly that the Electra had some early wing problems? That they were actually too stiff?

Electras had a problem where the engine vibrations excited a resonant frequency of the wing and the outboard wing broke off, with catastrophic results. They finally stiffened the engine mounts and that did the trick. Wikipedia has a good article.

That picture also clears up the question of “Who wears short shorts?”

It’s an easy mistake to make.
A P-3 looks for survivors in the water.
A C-130 gunship makes sure there aren’t any.


I am not an aircraft designer, but I would say that, in terms of aircraft design, this is quite a serious flaw.

Nope sorry. The P-3 looks for survivors. The C-130 pushes life rafts off the rear loading ramp which land on the people in the water ensuring no survivors.

I’m gonna go out on a limb and say its a P-3.

If by “inlets” you mean the engine fairings then it would be to give enough propellor clearance from the ground.

It is a P-3. The C-130 is high wing and the cockpit glass is totally different. Here is a pic of a front view of a Herc. Same engines, and depending on which version of Herc, same props. Canada has a slightly different version of the P-3 that includes the ASW suite from the S-3 Viking that they call the Aurora.
Aus and Can use P-3 and C-130 for maritime SAR missions among other things.

“…you sunk my gun-ship!” :smiley: