I was outside today and I heard this loud humming noise above. I look up and I see this:

Here is a closer look:

Any ideas as to what type of aircraft it is?


Possibly a C-17?

This was taken at a different angle but I could see how they might be the same plane.


C-130. Notice the props. C-17 has swept wings as well.


That looks like a C-130 to me. Where are you located? Notice the engines and also the body stlye too slim for a C-17. A C-17 will have a larger swept back wing with a wider base and a T tail. Way to be out and spotting though, nice photo.


At first I thought it was a 747 just glancing at it but I took a few pics then edited them a bit and found that it was not a 747.


there ya go. point proven, C-130


Much like taking tests, your original thought is usually the correct one, and I looked right at this aircraft and thought “C-130” instantly. The more I look at it, that nose and the shape of the wing (along w/ the humming of the props) make it a sure bet.


Wonder where he was going. All I know is that he was headed East.


Yeah good call, I was just ummm… testing you guys. :wink:


interesting to see a C-130 contrail. Per NASA “Contrails only form at very high altitudes (usually above 8 km) where the air is extremely cold (less than -40 degrees C).”; something normally seen above FL 26, but I guess with the massive cold front it could have been below FL 20.


What makes you think that the C-130 pictured wasn’t at that altitude?


C-130 service ceiling is FL330.


The service ceiling of the C130 (according to wiki) is 33,000ft.
Even piston engines make contrails. B-17 service ceiling 35,000.


Do you mean FL260 (26,000 feet) and FL20 (20,000 feet)?




I was not questioning the picture of the C-130 with a contrail, just wondering at what FL it was at, noting -40 degrees C as the expected for a contrail. My understanding is that most training and mission flights are below FL10. I believe the MC-130E Combat Talon is configured for terrain following down to 250 feet. An exception is the WC-130, seen at … 132&page=1
or other models at


Well yes, it was high. Probably the high 20’s. They use the C130 for lots of different things, you don’t think they fly around at 250ft all the time!


Seeing as how the C-130’s main mission is moving people, beans, bullets, and bandaids from A to B, it would only make sense that they complete that mission at a nice high fuel efficient altitude.


the C130 is an intra-theater aircraft.
a interesting issue about the C-130 is Congress continues to budget for more aircraft even though the Air Force does not budget for them. see


Not anymore Dan, they’ve been using the 130 in a force projection role for the war in Iraq for quite some time.

Some of the local drivers have been telling tales of truly butt-numbing flights overseas carrying rats and ammo.

Not bad for an aircraft almost as old as we are! :wink: