03/31/2012. This is the seventeenth production Model 182-44-03 C-130A-LM built by Lockheed at Marietta, Georgia for the USAF under s/n 54-1631. The first of 204 production C-130As was flown on April 7, 1955, and deliveries to the USAF began the following year. First unit to take delivery was the 463rd TCW (Troop Carrier Wing) of the 18th Air Force, TAC (Tactical Air Command), at Ardmore AFB, Oklahoma, and at a delivery ceremony on December 9, 1956, four C-130As arrived together.
54-1631 was assigned to the 61st TCS (Troop Carrier Squadron) in July 1957, subsequently in 1962 to the 18th TCS, August 1964 to the 314th TCW, May 1967 to the 4442nd CCTW (Combat Crew Training Wing), and November 1969 to the 433rd TAW (Tactical Airlift Wing). In November 1971 it was transferred to the South Vietnam AF, but returned to the USAF at the end of the Vietnam War in 1975.
In January 1976 was assigned to the 327th TAS (Tactical Airlift Squadron), subsequently in July 1976 to the 143rd TAS, and in December 1979 to the 105th TAS. The first 27 C-130As were built without a nose radome (also known as a 'Roman nose'), and in January 1988, 54-1631 was the last to receive one. In June 1989 the USAF withdrew it from use, and the same year it appeared on the civil register.
On October 2, 1989 it was registered as N117TG to T&G Aviation. T&G Aviation was founded by Sergio Tomassoni and William 'Woody' Grantham at Buckeye, Arizona in 1975, starting aerial firefighting operations, and it moved to Chandler, Arizona in 1978. Subsequently it received a permit to operate adhoc cargo contracts. In October 1989 the company was renamed International Air Response Inc. and it moved to Coolidge, also in Arizona.
N117TG was converted to a tanker at Chico, California in 1993 and flown as tanker number 81 and in 1994 it was leased to the SÚcuritÚ Civile of France for a season. Renumbered tanker number 31 by 2001, it was leased to the Ministerio de Medio Ambiente of Spain in 2002. Between 2006 and 2010 it was stored. On March 1, 2010 the oldest flying C-130 received a new CofA and bearing MSRC (Marine Spill Response Corporation) markings it was used in the cleanup operation of the BP oil spill disaster, as seen in these additional photos: 1 2 (site files).