RC-130A 57-0520 OR N138FF or N119TG

57-0520 stars in Nvidia Commercial

Click to view video


For those who may have missed it (I am one of you), below is a link to the Fast and the Furious 7 trailer.

International Air Response's C-130 N119TG, USAF RC-130A 57-0520, is looking good for her age(58) but I do have to say, she is getting a little wide in the middle.


Over a 10 day period in Oct of 2013, we dropped two sets of the actual cars used in the film. Obviously after all the principal shooting and stunt driving was finished since not all of them were roadworthy after arriving on the DZ. Especially the one of the Camaros that they had us drop without a parachute. It didn't stand very tall after it got to the ground.

Rigging and dropping were interesting propositions, especially when the max airspeed at "Green Light" had to be 102 KIAS to avoid leaving the camera chopper in the dust. Be interesting to see how much of the airdrop film winds up staying in. I love the "widebody" interiors.

I'll do a detailed writeup of the rigging, loading, and drops after the film comes out in April (if nobody else in the cast kills themselves before then).

Major Companies involved and major services provided were:

International Air Response: C-130A N119TG (ex-RC-130A 57-0520), flight crew, maint. support, rigging facility, K-Loader, DZ and recovery support.

Big Sky Aviation International: Project Management, load and suspension engineering, rigging and airdrop of vehicles, flight crew loadmasters

BRS Aerospace: Parachutes and engineering support

Universal Studios: Film Crew and Special Effects (SFX) team

Here is a extended video of making of the car air drop in the movie Fast and furious 7


Although you'll see a C-17 in the actual film, this was done from N119TG. The rest of the shots were done in a mockup (notice the two wide line of cars), against a green screen with the cars hanging from a crane, and lots of computer magic. This was the first revenue job for N119TG after its rebirth from the almost dead.

The sharper eyed will notice that we deployed a drogue just as the cars left the ramp. In the movie it shows the cars free falling several thousand feet before the main chute deploys. They asked if we could do that, and of course the answer was "yes, maybe" but there's no way of knowing whether the car will be right side up when the main chute deploys. So, we had to stabilize them right side up for that 7,000 foot descent to main chute opening. They did a really nice job of making all that look seamless in the film and it will fool all but the most discerning loadmasters.

Considering how much film we shot, almost none of the actual footage made it into the finished product. Left on the cutting room floor again! Story of my life in the movies.

And, oh yeah, as usual the Herk guys did all the work and the C-17 dudes get all the glory! Art imitates life!!

John Limbach

Big Sky Aviation

Thanks to Dale Peckman and Terry Gust


Thanks to John Redmond for this 1964 photo

AFRES 57-0520 Somewhere, somewhen between 1964-1967(no "0" before serial)

More Recently in Santa Rosa, CA


Click Thumbnails for larger images

29 AUG 2012

After years of rumors that 57-0520 was to be scrapped, I'm pleased to report that after more than a year of hard work and flight prep, it's just about in shape for a ferry flight from Coolidge, AZ (P08) to its home at Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport(KIWA) for painting and installation of avionics and the A/A32H-4A Cargo Handling System (Dual Rails), etc. It now has the FAA registration N119TG.


For the past 20 years or more, it's been the property of International Air Response (IAR), Chandler, AZ, and has been pretty much derelict. With increasing work available in oil spill dispersal spraying, IAR made the decision to make another aircraft flight ready, looked over the back lot and decided that Tanker 88, 57-0520 was in the best shape. i.e., had a good center wing box. The rest of the boneyard fleet (N133HP, N131FF, and N131HP) contributed parts, including two outer wings from N131HP (56-0534).

One of the major tasks was removing the built-in fire retardant tank and rebuilding the underfloor structure, then fairing over the drop doors on the belly. Of course after 20+ years of sitting in the AZ sun, all the wiring and hydraulics had to be ripped out and replaced.

I was walking around in it today and it's really close to flight ready. There are two more floor panels to be reinstalled. All four engines have been run but one had to be removed and has not yet been replaced. I'm attaching some pictures I took today and a few from a year or so ago for contrast.

57-0520 will join IAR's other ex-RC-130A 57-0512 (N118TG) whose resurrection 10 years ago has already been documented on your website and two other non-RCs, N117TG and N121TG in the airdrop/spray fleet. Check out their doings at www.internationalairresponse.com .

Let me know if you have any questions. I'll send more pictures once its finished.



John F. Limbach

Big Sky Aviation International

2226 Virginia Lane

Billings, MT 59102 USA

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