Aircraft Comparison By

C130 vs 747

Whether you’re an aviation enthusiast or a casual observer, these two planes have made a great appearance. But C130 vs 747, what sets them apart?

Aircraft: Lockheed Martin C-130J Super Hercules Boeing 747-8 Freighter
Lockheed Martin C 130J Super Hercules 07 4636
Cathay Pacific Cargo 747 8F taking off
Country: United States United States
Manufactured: from: 1996 to: Present from: 2008 to: Present
ICAO: C130 B748
Price: $75.5 million $419.2 million
Avionics: Lockheed C-130X AMP Avionics Rockwell Collins
Engine: 4x Rolls-Royce AE 2100D3 4x General Electric GEnx-2B67
Engine Type: Turboprop Turbofan
Power: 4,700 horsepower 66,500 pound-force
Max Cruise Speed: 365 knots
676 Km/h
530 knots
982 Km/h
Approach Speed (Vref): 120 knots 145 knots
Travel Range: 2,390 Nautical Miles
4,426 Kilometers
4,390 Nautical Miles
8,130 Kilometers
Fuel Economy: 0.22 nautical mile / gallon
0.108 kilometres / litre
0.08 nautical mile / gallon
0.039 kilometres / litre
Service Ceiling: 33,000 feet 43,000 feet
Rate of Climb: 1830 feet / minute
9.30metre / second
2500 feet / minute
12.70metre / second
Take Off Distance: 1573 metre
5,160.70 feet
3292 metre
10,800.39 feet
Landing Distance: 792 metre
2,598.39 feet
2134 metre
7,001.23 feet
Max Take Off Weight: 79,365 Kg
174,968 lbs
447,696 Kg
986,991 lbs
Max Landing Weight: 58,957 Kg
129,977 lbs
346,091 Kg
762,992 lbs
Max Payload: 21,500 Kg
47,399 lbs
132,630 Kg
292,396 lbs
Fuel Tank Capacity: 9,680 gallon
36,643 litre
59,734 gallon
226,117 litre
Baggage Volume: 170 m3
6,003 ft3
859 m3
30,335 ft3
Seats - Economy: 92 seats 2 seats
Seats - Business Class: - -
Seats - First Class: - -
Cabin Height: 2.74 metre
8.99 feet
2.39 metre
7.84 feet
Cabin Width: 3.12 metre
10.24 feet
6.1 metre
20.01 feet
Cabin Length: 16.9 metre
55.45 feet
63.25 metre
207.51 feet
Exterior Length: 34.37 metre
112.76 feet
76.24 metre
250.13 feet
Tail Height: 11.84 metre - 38.84 feet 19.56 metre - 64.17 feet
Fuselage Diameter: 4.32 metre
14.17 feet
6.5 metre
21.33 feet
Wing Span / Rotor Diameter: 40.4 metre
132.54 feet
68.4 metre
224.41 feet
Wing Tips: No Winglets Raked Wingtips
More Info: Lockheed Martin C-130J Super Hercules Boeing 747-8 Freighter
Data presented is for entertainment purposes and should not be used operationally.

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About the Lockheed C-130 Hercules

The Lockheed C-130 Hercules is a four-engine turboprop military transport aircraft. First used in the 1950s, it has become an invaluable part of military operations worldwide.

Why was it developed and built?

The Lockheed C-130 Hercules was developed and built to meet the US Air Force’s need for a tactical transport aircraft capable of operating in remote areas. Starting with the Lockheed AC-130, successive versions of the aircraft have seen improvements in performance and payload capabilities, allowing it to be used for various missions.

What purpose does it serve?

The Lockheed C-130 Hercules has been used for various purposes, including transporting personnel and cargo, search and rescue operations, medical evacuation missions, and even aerial refueling. Its rugged design has enabled it to operate in a variety of environments.

About the Boeing 747

The Boeing 747 is a wide-body commercial jetliner developed and built by Boeing. The first of its kind, the Boeing 747 was introduced in 1970 and was an instant success.

Why was it developed and built?

Looking back at aviation history, it was clear that commercial jets needed a larger capacity to meet the demand for air travel. As a result, Boeing set out to develop the Boeing 747.

What purpose does it serve?

The Boeing 747 is a long-haul, wide-body aircraft for comfortable passenger travel. It has been used in various roles, such as cargo transporting, VIP transport, and military transport. 

It has also been used as a research aircraft, with some versions featuring a large cargo door to allow for oversized payloads.

How are the Lockheed C-130 Hercules and Boeing 747 different?

When it comes to aircraft, few are as iconic as the Boeing 747 and the Lockheed C-130 Hercules. Let’s look at notable differences between these two behemoths of flight.

Size Matter

When comparing the two aircraft, size is one of the most obvious differences. The Boeing 747 is a massive plane, measuring almost twice as long and three times as wide as the Hercules.


Another major difference between these two aircraft is their speed capabilities. The Boeing 747 has a maximum cruising speed of .855 Mach (approximately 933 km/h), whereas the Lockheed C-130 Hercules can reach speeds of close to 541 km/h. This speed discrepancy makes sense given the size difference; with more power comes greater speed capability.

Engine Type

Not surprisingly, engine type is another key difference between these two planes. Boeing utilizes four turbofan engines, while its rival relies on four turboprop engines.

Turbofan engines are designed to maximize fuel efficiency, which translates into longer range and more time spent in flight; this explains why commercial jets such as those operated by major airlines tend to use this type of engine.

On the other hand, turboprop engines provide more power than their counterparts but are less fuel efficient, so they don’t typically make long journeys; this is why they’re used for shorter flights, such as those between small towns or cities within a country or region.

Flight Ceiling

Aircraft have different ceilings depending on their design and purpose; this refers to how high airplanes can fly about sea level before running out of altitude and descending back down towards earth again.

The Lockheed C-130 Hercules has a significantly lower ceiling, 33,000 feet, compared with 43000 feet for its competitor—a result of no doubt of its smaller size and less powerful engines/design features.

How are the Lockheed C-130 Hercules and Boeing 747 Similar?

Both the Lockheed C-130 Hercules and the Boeing 747 are renowned transport airmen with aircraft nicknames to match. Here’s how they compare:

  • Both airplanes hold the title of being a “workhorse” for their respective companies and can be found in numerous versions all around the world.
  • Not only do they both share a long-time history in aviation, but their design allows them to carry heavy payloads over greater distances than most other aircraft models of their kind.
  • In design, these two aircraft have several similarities. They each feature multiple engines and boast wings over a hundred feet in length.
  • The Lockheed C-130 Hercules has served as an impressive cargo carrier since its debut in 1956 and continues to provide vital support to modern-day military operations.
  • In contrast, the Boeing 747, first introduced in 1969, has been an iconic passenger jet since it hit the skies four decades ago.

Because their airframes are so versatile, they can easily be modified according to various needs, whether refueling missions or transporting passengers – opening up possible applications across a broad spectrum of segments within aviation.

What’s better about the Lockheed C-130 Hercules?

The Lockheed C-130 Hercules is an incredibly versatile plane that can be adapted to meet various needs.

  • It is known for being incredibly reliable, easy to maintain, and withstand harsh conditions.
  • Its four turboprop engines allow the Hercules to take off and land in short-distance airfields – even on unpaved surfaces – while also having impressive range and speed.
  • Its cargo compartment can carry more than 42,000 lbs of personnel or cargo, making it perfect for military or commercial applications.

What’s better about the Boeing 747?

The Boeing 747 has become an iconic symbol of air travel since its launch in 1959, and for a good reason.

  • It’s one of the most efficient planes in the sky, offering increased comfort for passengers and greater fuel economy for airlines.
  • On a long international flight, its wide advanced-technology wings help to provide smooth and stable cruising conditions, even during turbulence.
  • Its four powerful engines make it one of the most robust aircraft around.
  • Last but not least, its impressive range capabilities have allowed many airlines to increase their route network beyond what they had previously been able to achieve.

For all these reasons, it is clear why the Boeing 747 continues to be celebrated as an industry leader by both passengers and airline companies alike.


The Lockheed C-130 Hercules and Boeing 747 might look similar from afar. Still, upon closer inspection, we find that quite a few differences set them apart!

About the Author

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With a passion for aviation, as well as surfing and scanning the web, Rocco is in his element analyzing aircraft data and the differences and similarities between aircraft.