09 July 2009

In 1965 seven US oil companies were prospecting Alaska's North Slope for oil and found that getting drilling equipment to the area was near impossible- there were no roads to the North Slope and the only way would have been to barge the equipment in via the Arctic Ocean but that could only take place for a few weeks each summer.

The problem was solved by Alaska Airlines who "wet-leased" the civilian Lockheed L-100 Hercules demonstrator from Lockheed for one month. In what became known as the "Thirty Day Miracle" the sole Hercules transported over 2 million pounds of equipment and cargo to dirt strips in the North Slope. Richfield Oil subsequently struck oil at Prudhoe Bay and that set off the great Alaskan oil rush.

Source: Herk: Hero of the Skies, by Joseph Earl Dabney, Copple House Books, 1979, p237-241.

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