AC-130 Spectre (aka Spooky / Stinger II / Ghostrider)
by Mars-Bound_Hokie
uploaded 2024-05-12
stock+DLC aircraft
#usa #c130 #gunship #lockheed #hercules

The AC-130 Spectre on display in the SPH.

  • I included the aka in the craft name so people who know the AC-130 under one of its other names can find it. I chose Spectre as the primary name - and the reason why the engines have four blades each - since that was the model that ended up in the National Museum of the United States Air Force in Dayton, OH. However, as of April 2024, only the Ghostrider is still in service.
  • To mimic and make use of the real-life AC-130’s long nose, I included a probe core with Kerbnet access and a fuel tank on the cockpit nose.
  • For the guns, I started with just simple I-beams mounted on the left side pointed down. However, I later decided to add some fireworks at the ends to include a little functionality. YOU ONLY GET EIGHT SHOTS.
  • At the end of the first test cruise, the rear landing gear would not deploy since it was stowed. Though I was able to make a soft landing, how the interior and part of the exterior turned out suggests that I not try that again. So, I removed one of the rear landing gear sets and moved the other set further outward so that it doesn’t rest inside the cargo bay. The next few takeoff tests proved that move to be successful.
  • At first, I took the engines from AceGecko’s C-130 replica and replacing the blades with ducted ones and modifying the engines for more power. I could not make the blades go as far away from the engine mounting points as s/he did, so I tried simply borrowing his/her engines instead. However, they were shaky and blades were flying everywhere while they were running. So, I used my own design; the NCS adapter mounted on the front of the engine, the small nose cone on the front of the adapter, and the ducted blades mounted on all four sides of the nose cone. That arrangement did not eliminate the shaking completely, but it helped a lot.
  • For this large plane’s engines, I kept the motor size and output at 100% BUT I set the main throttle torque limit to 1%. I left the RPM limit at the maximum of 460.

I keep mentioning the engine setup in case someone reading this has a better idea on how to optimize aircraft performance as well as fuel efficiency.

Interior of the AC-130, taken from the cockpit entrance. Here you see two gunner seats - one near the front, and the other near the back - and the other two seats manning the sensors and targeting systems. Behind the desk light is a SEQ-3C conformal storage unit for extra cargo.

The AC-130 Spectre flying around the KSC, performing a nighttime urban warfare drill. More specifically, its task is to destroy a target - in this case, an armored car - converging on the VAB while leaving everything else alone. Such precise targeting is crucial when attempting to minimize (if not negate) collateral damage.

The AC-130 flying over Kerbin after settling at a cruising altitude.

Real-life Counterpart Performance Stats

(AC-130A Spectre)

Maximum Speed: 380 mph (170 m/s)

  • Cruise Speed: 335 mph (150 m/s)

Service Ceiling: 33,000 feet (10.1 km)
Range: 2,500 miles (4,023 km)

Source: Museum of Aviation (GA) Website

Another picture of the AC-130 on a test cruise.

  • It is not intended for high-altitude operations, as being closer to the target to increase gunner accuracy would require flying lower. However, being able to go over mountains doesn’t hurt - especially if they’re in the way of the battlefield.


  • Type: SPH
  • Class: aircraft
  • Part Count: 157
  • Pure Stock
  • KSP: 1.12.5


The Lockheed AC-130 is a C-130 Hercules converted to a gunship used for long-endurance attacks against ground targets. Due to its large size and low operating altitudes, it was an easy target and therefore usually carried out close air support missions at night. Such roles included supporting ground troops, escorting convoys, urban operations, air-interdiction missions, and facility defense. The AC-130 has an unpressurized cabin with its weaponry mounted to fire from the port side (left facing forward) of the fuselage, which meant that the gunship had to fly in a large circle around its target if it wanted more time to destroy it. Unlike other modern military fixed-wing aircraft, the AC-130 relied on visual targeting thanks to its various sensors, navigation, fire-control systems, and infrared and low-light television systems.
The AC-130 gunship first saw action in the Vietnam War, and as of April 2024 it is still in service. Several variants were designed and released – like the Spectre, Spooky, and Stinger II, for instance – but only the AC-130J Ghostrider is currently active.

A stock aircraft called AC-130 Spectre (aka Spooky / Stinger II / Ghostrider). Built with 157 of the finest parts, its root part is mk3Cockpit.Shuttle.

Built in the SPH in KSP version 1.12.5.

An AC-130 low on fuel flying over Kerbin’s north polar region.



Propeller Controls

  • H: Translate forward (increase blade angle)
  • N: Translate backward (decrease blade angle)

Takeoff Instructions

  1. Make sure your cargo doors are shut.
  2. Engage the brakes and turn on SAS.
  3. Full throttle.
  4. Disengage brakes.
  5. Press and hold H (translate forward). It increases the propeller blade deploy angle - hence your speed. Stop at 25 degrees for now.
  6. Retract gear when airborne.
  7. Turn to your desired heading after gaining some altitude, then begin ascent.

Follow the Ascent Instructions before starting cruise.
If you notice a little bit of shaking in the engines and/or the propellers, don’t worry. The major shaking should be taken care of by now.

  • Of course, if that is not the case, please let me know.

Ascent Instructions

  1. Begin ascent at 66% throttle starting at 20 m/s vertical speed and a blade angle of 30 degrees. Increase blade angle at 5-degree increments until reaching 40 degrees. Vertical speed should stay between 15 and 25 m/s.
  2. Stop at 7.5 km altitude and cruise at 30% throttle. You should start at 200 m/s velocity after settling.
  3. Once your velocity reaches approximately 210 m/s, increase throttle to 66% again and climb to 8 km altitude at a vertical speed of 15 m/s.

  4. After reaching 8 km altitude, reduce throttle to 30% and resume your cruise. You should expect to start at 205 m/s when settled.

Check the RECOMMENDED CRUISE stats for what you should expect to end up with after completing this procedure.

  • DON’T try to go for 8.5 km.

While the AC-130 is making its landing over the north pole, it fired some rounds.


Altitude: 8 km (~26.2k ft; Class Alpha airspace)
Velocity: 205 m/s (~459 mph)

  • Will fluctuate between 205 and 210 m/s over time.

Blade Deployment Angle: 40 degrees
Recommended Throttle:

  • Ascent to altitude: 2/3 (66%)
  • Cruise: 30%


820 km before immediate landing necessary.

  • This plane glided for almost 40 km afterwards before touchdown in the latest test flight.

The rear landing gear was stuck, but the front gear could extend fine and the plane was gliding rather slowly. So, while the pilot was forced to make a (mostly) belly landing, minimal damage was expected to both the outside of the aircraft and the inside. After the plane came to a complete stop, the in-flight mechanic noted that nobody sustained any obvious injuries and began assessing the damage to the interior.

  • The cargo racks came loose and parts of the right-side rear landing gear flew inside during the crash-landing.

Post-crash assessment of the exterior. The starboard (right) side of the plane sustained the most damage, with the most obvious sign being that the right-side landing gear is completely detached.

  • After the aircraft and crew were recovered, the design was edited to bring the landing gear further outward so that it wouldn’t be stowed. In other words, this problem should not happen again.

Landing Advice

After you land the plane, (unless you’re all done with it) press and hold N to return the blade angles back to 0 before taking off again.

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