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Hercules Returns Home

8 January 2005

Hercules Returns Home

One of the RNZAF C-130 Hercules, which has been flying relief operations in tsunami-affected areas, will today leave Indonesia.

The Hercules will fly to Darwin today and is due to arrive at RNZAF Base Whenuapai tomorrow night.

Once back in New Zealand the Hercules and crew will continue with planned tasking, including supporting NZDF personnel rotations to Afghanistan.

Chief of the Defence Force, Air Marshal Bruce Ferguson says he’s extremely proud of the work done by the two C-130 Hercules, the Boeing 757 and their crews.

“The decision was made to send two C-130s to area. These aircraft were carrying defects at the time, however they were still able to fly valuable humanitarian aid in to Banda Ache,” he said

“To date the two C-130s have flown 75 hours on task. This is not a bad effort and should take precedent over the two relatively minor faults that have been repaired.”

“Those criticising should look at what the crews have done to keep the aircraft flying.”

“I’m immensely proud of the way my young men and women have come together. I called them in at short notice, many came back from leave and they were all willing to deploy overseas and take part in the relief effort.”

“The Government has approved an upgrade project, which will effectively restore the aircraft to virtually new condition. Many nations around the world are watching what we doing with our C-130s as all nations who fly the aircraft face similar problems to us.”

“These young men and women they fly these aircraft should be praised and not criticised. They are proud of what they are doing - we all should be.”

The C-130 Hercules remaining in Jakarta will continue flying humanitarian aid to affected areas.

An RNZAF Boeing 757 will also continue flying relief missions.

ENDS

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