Hercules Belly Lands at Labuan

RMAF personnel working to move the Hercules from the Labuan airport runway last night. TUDM photo

SHAH ALAM: A Hercules from the 20th Squadron on a temporary detachment to the Labuan airbase, belly landed at the runway, yesterday. The aircraft M30-14 landed on its belly as it could not lower its starboard rear landing gear likely to a technical fault.

RMAF personnel working to move the Hercules from the Labuan airport runway last night. TUDM photo

From New Straits Times

The Defence Ministry, in a statement, said the pilot of the military transport aircraft, C130 Hercules, was forced to land without tyres at 5.15pm, after circling for six hours to burn off fuel.

“The military aircraft was unable to land normally at the airport in Labuan due to its malfunction landing gear.

“The aircraft made the emergency landing after circling the airspace for six hours. It has landed safely.”

The pilot and crew on board were unhurt.

M30-14 after the belly landing yesterday,

The Hercules had just took off for a training flight to Kuching when the landing gear failure was detected. The aircraft was on a temporary detachment to Labuan likely to ensure that 14th Squadron had enough aircraft to complete its operational tasking. As you are aware the squadron will have extra tasking for Eks Paradise 4/2017 which starts on Nov 14 and ends on Nov 26.

There is no word yet whether the Hercules fleet have been grounded pending investigation following the emergency landing of tail number 14.

M30-14 landing at Subang after taking part in the 2017 Merdeka flypast

There is also no word yet whether tail number 14 could be repaired though from the pictures the damage is minimal. Tail number 14 is among the five white tail H30 variant Hercules purchased in 1993, delivered in 1995 from Lockheed Martin.

A close up of the 14 cockpit as she taxied at Subang airport for the 2017 Merdeka parade.

The Hercules safety record in RMAF service has been exemplary so far with only a single aircraft written off. Tail number 03 was written off after it skidded from the runway while landing at Sibu airport on Aug. 25.1990.

*edited to add new information regarding the flight.

— Malaysian Defence

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About Marhalim Abas 2149 Articles
Shah Alam


  1. Looks like she escaped relatively unschathed. Good job to the crews to bring back the airplane in 1 piece. As the damage is relatively minor, this would be repaired and put back into service. Airod has repaired and put back into service hercules with even worse damage than this before.

    BTW the last hercules buy by TUDM, was it 5 or 6 aircrafts? Right now we have 14 hercules, 1st batch of 6 in 1976, the 3 maritime patrol C-130H-MP (camar) in 1979/80 and the new batch of C-130H-30 long body white tails. The tail number run up till M30-16 (there is strangely no M30-13)

    There is one H30 bought in 1991. In 1995 we bought five more H30s, the white tails,

  2. Can’t see any wrinkles on the fuselage skin which is one of the indicators for damaged fuselage so I presume the Herky’s is repairable and will be probably flying again in a year or two.Thumbs up to the crews for bringing back the bird and themselves in one piece and It will be interesting to see whether the Herky will be repaired in situ or back at Airod.

    Airod got a facility at Labuan AB so they can fix it the airframe there. They don’t have an engine shop there though so those must be send back to Airod facility at Subang

  3. AIf my memory did not fail me, there was another crash whereby the plane caught fire upon landing n was a total write off

    I think you’re referring to the Hercules that skidded off the runway at the Sibu airport which I mentioned in the story. Probably that’s what happened to the aircraft. Anyhow I knew of only one other Hercules incident which was not reported. I was at Airod around 2003-2006 I cannot remember exactly, where I ran into a Hercules though I cannot remember what tail number. I asked whether the aircraft was undergoing scheduled maintenance. I was told it came in after a heavy landing at an airfield. They initially thought it was only a minor damage but checks showed it suffered serious damage that it needed some work on it before it could be flown to Subang for major repairs

  4. @ marhalim

    The airframe you mentioned is one of the C-130H-MPs, skidded in kuching and landed in a ditch. It was badly broken just behind the cockpit. Airod repaired the aircraft back into service, and later used this experience to repair another crashed hercules (ex Tunisian AF Hercules. BTW is it still in airod waiting for a buyer to be found?)

    I don’t think it’s the Kuching one as the incident happened at an airbase in the peninsula. There are two Hercules waiting for a buyer at Airod, one is probably the Tunisian one and the other the one which was salvaged from a desert in Libya. They completed that one just before the troubles in Libya. If I remember correctly there was also another Hercules which had its front end replaced after it hit a hangar after it jumped the chocks while undergoing engine checks.

  5. If I’m not mistaken the C-130 which jumped the chocks was a PC-130H under the control of a technician to manouvre the aircraft on ground for maintenance. The cockpit section was badly damaged from the impact with the hangar wall. Airod grafted a ‘new’ cockpit section onto the fuselage of the PC-130H. The replacement cockpit section was probably obtained from a mothballed C-130 from the US.

    Subsequent to the incident, the RMAF disallowed technicians ( including from the MRO service providers ) to manouvre on ground a powered aircraft. Only type rated pilot is allowed to do so.

  6. Afaik the tunisian ones were sold to philippines

    rmaf can prolly absorb the unsold hercs into its fleet.

  7. So the C-130H-MP is the one hitting the hangar, i think i might have confused the sibu crash as the kuching one? So I stand corrected on that one.

    The tunisian one was supposed to be sold to the philippines, but they bought ex USMC/US Navy C-130T instead.

  8. Alex,

    Doubt if there’s any interest on the part of the RMAF to absorb anymore Charlies from anywhere. We have enough airframes. It’s not as if the fleet constantly has to maintain a high tempo.

    On the Charlie that skidded in Sarawak, a single person on board was killed.

    Yes if I recall correctly she was a nurse. The Hercules was carrying personnel from Istana Negara to support the visit of the then Agong to Sibu

  9. I think buying old aircraft, overhaul it and sell it to another country is a good business strategy for airod

    I mean, some of them are either mothballed or even being dumped into sea


    But not many countries or more importantly its leaders are interested in buying used aircraft

  10. Kalau philipine tidak jadi beli charlie di airod jadi sekarang ada dua charlie yang boleh dibeli di airod?kenapa tudm tak beli je dua charlie tu untuk tambahan fleet logistic?

    One is a former wreck and I am pretty sure the air force are not keen on buying new transport aircraft

  11. Afaik Denel is making good money in buying old/disused Mi-8 (since african countries generally dump them before D checks or even C checks), overhaul them before selling them back to other african countries or non government agencies (UN, private security, oil and gas companies, logistics/private transport companies, etc)

    Some of these Mi-8s have Puma stuff retrofitted in them

  12. Plenty of countries in asia uses secondhand (even thirdhand) C-130 in their arsenal.

    Philippines, indonesia, bangladesh, pakistan,bahrain, sri lanka… not to mention that these hercs are older variants (B and E models)

    So yes, I think many countries are interested in buying used aircraft including C-130

  13. On paper buying used air frames and selling them after upgrades sounds logical but it’s not as easy as it sounds. Not only must it meet the cliient’s budget but it almost must have Uncle Sam approval. In many cases, getting pre owned examples from U.S. stocks will be cheaper and more practical rather than getting one from a third party. In the case of the Libyan C-130, if it’s indeed still at AIROD, there will be legal issues to be sorted out before it can be sold.

    As for the RMAF I seriously doubt it has a need for more C-130s. With 14 C-130s, 4 A400Ms and 6 CN-235s, the one thing we’re NOT short of are transports ….. Especially given that we have no global commitments in the form of training or troop deployments to support. Sure, now and again there might be a need to send a transport to ferry stuff for MALBATT in Lebanon but it wont be often. A lot of the needed stuff is sourced locally and the heavy stuff, like replacement Condors, are sea lifted.

  14. @ dundun

    Hey, even japan recently bought a few used hercules from USA.

    Others like turkey bought some from saudi.

  15. @ dundun

    Hey, even japan recently bought a few used hercules from USA.

    Others like turkey bought some from saudi.

  16. Saw in the newspaper the M30-14 is already on it’s feet.Didn’t see much damage,so after reskinning i guess it will be flying again in no time.

  17. 1990…Sibu airport the old one, runway was short compared to the current Sibu airport. Take off for MAS fokker F50 used up full length of the runway. Now part of its runway and former Kem Lapangan Terbang becomes private college.

  18. Guess it is a happy ending without anyone trialed for responsibility. Typical.

    African air asset usually gets mismanaged and sold as junk for quick personal cash. These are non civil reg, cannot be sold to OnG. Only as white tale to mil contractors, whom in turn work for UN or African govs. And therefore can install whatever the cowboys thinks its cool.

    Leaders don’t buy them, contractors do. But since anti- terrorism is at its all time low, demand is not there. Plus Airod is really not hiring the best sales out there.

    You made it sound too hard. No, its pretty straight forward to sell non lethal assets like the C130s to any party under the export white list. Worst case you make it airworthy and fly it back to the owner. Send men over there for disassemble and bring your man to the buyers side for reassemble. Hands clean, no biggy.

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