As retirement parties go, this one was spectacular.

A massive C-130E Hercules aircraft flew from Trenton to Ottawa, doing a raucous flyby before landing at the Rockliffe Airport. Then it taxied to the nearby Canada Aviation and Space Museum where hundreds of dignitaries, aviation buffs, and schoolchildren were waiting.

After over 50 years of RCAF service and 50,000 hours in the air, the iconic plane is “retiring” to a life as a feature exhibit at the museum. It was the last and longest-serving E-model Hercules in Canada. The military continues to fly newer versions of the Hercules.

Designed in the 1950’s, the C-130 is a workhorse among transport planes. It weighs 75,000 pounds empty, but can take off at twice that weight. In Canada they’ve been used for everything from troop and equipment transport to delivering humanitarian aid to search and rescue operations. “The most successful air transport aircraft ever built,” says Lt. Gen. Michael Hood, Commander of the RCAF. “It’s sturdy. It’s like a Mack truck. It can get into short airfields.”

The museum is hoping to make its newest acquisition as interactive as possible, giving people a chance to learn about a plane that has played an important role in Canadian aviation military history. “It will become a cornerstone of our collection, absolutely,” says Alex Benay, President and CEO, Canada Science and Technology Museums Corporation. “Almost instantaneously, frankly.”