The workhorse of the Air Force will prove to be a boon to the work force of northern Utah, officials at Hill Air Force Base said Thursday in ceremonies welcoming the C-130 Hercules.

Maintenance for the medium-sized cargo plane has been transferred to Hill from Kelly Air Force Base, Texas, and the first C-130 arrived Tuesday afternoon.Maintenance crews will begin training and familiarization procedures with the new airplane, starting actual depot-level maintenance Oct. 1.

The transfer is a great relief to many civilian workers at Hill because the F-4 Phantom fighter aircraft is being phased out. Maintenance work on the C-130, estimated to run 220,000 man hours annually, will about equal work being lost on the F-4.

Maj. Gen. Robert McCoy, commander of the Ogden Air Logistics Center at Hill, which supports the maintenance work, said the C-130 will provide "good, solid work in years to come" and could eventually add another 200 jobs at Hill.

Boyd Thurgood, deputy director for maintenance of the Hill Directorate of Maintenance, said the C-130 will stabilize Hill's work force as the F-4, which once numbered nearly 4,000 in the Air Force's inventory, is phased out. Forty-one more F-4s are scheduled for retirement next year, he said.

Maintenance crews and supervisors are already being trained at Warner-Robbins Air Force Base, Ga., and at Kelly, Thurgood said. They will return to Hill and begin training the remainder of the crews at home.

They will first service an average of one C-130 every month, which will eventually increase to two per month, he said. Hill crews will be doing routine repair work in addition to preventive maintenance chores on 20 C-130s the first year, doubling that to 40 by 1990.

The first C-130 Hercules was manufactured and introduced into the Air Force inventory in 1956 and there are currently 727 of them in service. While primarily used as cargo carriers, the C-130s have proved versatile, being used as gunships in Southeast Asia, for search and rescue, medical evacuation and as airborne radar platforms.

The plane can carry 42,000 pounds of cargo, loaded through its rear ramp door, ranging from wheeled vehicles to passengers or paratroopers. It holds 92 combat troops or 64 fully-equipped paratroopers and when converted to aeromedical use, carries 74 litter patients and two attendants.

The Hercules can land on short, rough runways or deliver cargo by parachute, either from medium to high altitudes or as low as five to 10 feet off the ground while flying at a slow speed.

The C-130 has a wingspan of 132 feet, is 97 feet long, and tops out at 38 feet off the ground. Its top speed is 386 mph, with a maximum takeoff weight of 155,000 pounds.

Loaded with 25,000 pounds of cargo, it has a range of 2,500 miles, or 5,200 miles with no cargo. It is manned by a crew of five, including two pilots, navigator, flight engineer, and load master.