C-130 Airlift in Vietnam
Our load to Quang Tri was mostly mail--letters, packages, and such. As the forklift driver unloaded one pallet he backed up and turned so fast that he slung the pallet off onto the ramp upside down. Then attempting to right it he pushed it along the ramp upside down until the loadmaster told him to stop. Topmost on the pallet were a couple of stereo speakers somebody'd ordered from PACEX. Some poor grunt at Quang Tri has been waiting for months for a pile of kindling.
Our upload at TSN turned out to be just a 4-member USO show and their escort officer. It was kinda neat to chat with the'em--one guy was from SF, one girl was from Petaluma and was a student at UC Santa Barbara. Another girl was a speech teacher from Kansas City! At Bien Hoa we picked up another 50 pax and pressed on for Quang Tri.If you touch down too slow in a strong crosswind you may lose control of the airplane. But if you touch down too fast on a short field you will be unable to stop before you go off the far end of the runway!
And then the fun began. When we arrived at Quang Tri the tower was calling some serious crosswinds--20 knots gusting to 40 knots!
We loitered over the water a few minutes figuring up our landing data. I calculated that with a 26-knot crosswind at 80 degrees to the runway I could increase the touchdown speed by 8 knots and still stop before the end.We took just two passengers out of Quang Tri. We waited for one because it was his only chance to get out of Quang Tri that day. See the passenger manifest.
We had the tower call out the winds continuously on final approach and it worked out quite well. I even made a pretty good touchdown. But that was the most demanding landing I've made lately and certainly the toughest crosswind I've seen.
Once we were on the ground, tower advised us that only one other fixed-wing airplane had made it in all day!