The C130 Hercules aircraft is known as "The Samaritan of the Skies" because of its ability to deliver fuel supplies to war zones, acting as a flying gas tanker to military helicopter, make airdrops of food, water and medical supplies to countries suffering humanitarian crises and rescue troops and civilians from hostile territories. The C130 also has the capability to land on comparatively short strips of rough dirt or, when equipped with skis and Teflon-coated runners, ice and snow.
An important feature that has ensured the C130's continued use since the Vietnam war was the addition of four turboprop engines that provide sufficient power to pressurize the plane's entire fuselage, including the cargo compartment, enabling it to fly at higher altitudes and transport more people. The plane can carry up to 128 passengers, and the freight bay can transport up to 82 stretchers.
In addition to acting as emergency field hospitals in war zones, C130s have acted as flying hospitals during a number of humanitarian crises, such as the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans, the Japanese tsunami and Haiti's 2010 earthquake.
Specially-equipped C130s have been used to fight fires on the United States, dropping fire retardant on hillsides and mountainous areas to support firefighters on the ground.