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Bonus Aircraft Announced For Wings Over Wairarapa: A (RAAF) C-130J Hercules

Royal Australian Air Force C-130J Hercules A97-442 aircraft from No. 37 Squadron takes off from RAAF Base Amberley, loaded with Personal Protective Equipment destined for Indonesia. Credit: CPL Jesse Kane.

A Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) C-130J Hercules will make return trips across the Tasman for this year’s Wings Over Wairarapa air show in New Zealand.

The RAAF Hercules will participate in the flying display practice day on Friday, February 26; and the air display on Saturday, February 27.

On both days, the RAAF Hercules will conduct an ‘initial and pitch’ before the crowds at Hood Aerodrome on North Island, before approaching the runway for a full-stop landing.

The RAAF crew will then reverse their Hercules back along the runway, and then take off for the return flight to Australia.

To ensure quarantine safety for CoVID-19, the crew will not exit the aircraft on the ground before return to Australia unless in an emergency.

Squadron Leader John Ayers, Temporary Commanding Officer of No. 37 Squadron, said the Hercules crew would make a 4,600-kilometre round-trip on each day from RAAF Base Richmond, in Sydney’s northwest.

“The runway at Hood is only 1200 metres long, so our appearance at Wairarapa will demonstrate our reach and operational flexibility when supporting our regional neighbours,” Squadron Leader Ayers said.

“We often conduct long-range search and rescue missions in the Pacific, or fly aeromedical evacuation missions for injured people.

“We also have extensive experience with delivering aid to Pacific communities affected by natural disasters, and evacuating people out of danger.”

The RAAF C-130J is the same model that will soon be introduced into Royal New Zealand Air Force service as a replacement for its C-130H Hercules.

The two Air Forces have a long history of working together and the RAAF support to the Wings Over Wairarapa Air Show is another example of our strong relationship.

In recent years, RAAF Hercules have integrated with the New Zealand responses to evacuate injured patients following the White Island Volcano disaster, as well as delivering Urban Search and Rescue Teams following the 2011 Christchurch Earthquake.

This year’s Wings Over Wairarapa will be held shortly before the centenary of the Royal Australian Air Force on March 31.

“The show has a strong emphasis on historic aviation, and our C-130J proudly represents six decades of operations by different generations of RAAF Hercules crews,” Squadron Leader Ayers said.

“The air show will also feature historic aircraft similar to those operated by the RAAF, including a P-40 Kittyhawk, Supermarine Spitfire Mk. IX, and P-51 Mustang.”

“The Anson and Tiger Moth at Wings Over Wairarapa are also representative of aircraft that trained thousands of RAAF aircrew during the Second World War.”

Information about the RAAF C-130J Hercules is available from https://www.airforce.gov.au/technology/aircraft/air-mobility/c-130j-hercules. More information about Wings Over Wairarapa and its flying display program is available from https://www.wings.org.nz.

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