Today, in south-east Scotland, I saw a plane that looked a bit like a Hercules but had four pods on each wing. I'm pretty sure that three of them were propeller engines and the end one was something else. They all looked a similar size. Height was lowish but not very low and it did not show up on flightradar24. I could not discern colour. I didn't get much of a look as I rushed in to get binoculars and it was well past and banking to the right when I got out again.

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    $\begingroup$ It would help if you told us where you saw this, what time/date, and any other location details that you remember. The color of the aircraft may help too. $\endgroup$
    – Ron Beyer
    Commented Jul 16, 2019 at 15:34
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    $\begingroup$ Six engines, or 6-bladed props? Some C-130 variants have two pods under each wing; inboard pods are fuel tanks, and external pods are for helo refueling. I can't think of any modern Western plane with six engines these days. Maybe something Russian or Chinese? Modern Herks do have 6-bladed props, though. $\endgroup$
    – Ralph J
    Commented Jul 16, 2019 at 15:38
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    $\begingroup$ The only thing that really comes to mind is a Convair B-36, but those are distinctly pusher props. The aircraft itself is pretty massive compared to a C-130, though. $\endgroup$
    – 0xdd
    Commented Jul 16, 2019 at 15:40
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    $\begingroup$ @0xdd I don't think there's even one flying B-36 left, anyway. $\endgroup$
    – Zeiss Ikon
    Commented Jul 16, 2019 at 15:56
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    $\begingroup$ Likely this: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lockheed_AC-130#/media/… or one of the other derivatives that have additional pods outside the last set of engines, which includes refueling units. Better image: militaryfactory.com/aircraft/detail.asp?aircraft_id=1217 $\endgroup$ Commented Jul 16, 2019 at 18:23

2 Answers 2


You've probably seen a tanker variant of the C-130, like this KC-130J:

Lockheed KC-130J "Hercules" Source: https://www.thedrive.com/the-war-zone

On each wing there is an extra fuel tank and the pod containing the air-refueling hose.

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    $\begingroup$ I probably have - years ago - probably last century, I saw something similar fly over whilst refuelling two helicopters. I am looking back through the mists of time but as far as I can recall there were two helicopters involved and one of them docked as they passed over. It was a sight worth seeing. $\endgroup$
    – Grimstead
    Commented Jul 17, 2019 at 16:38

It’s most likely a C-130. There’s pictures of four-podded Herculeses online, but so far I haven’t found one with usage rights that allow posting here.


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