Walcha Aero Club Open Day

Residents in the New England region will have the opportunity to get up close to a Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) C-130J Hercules transport aircraft at the Walcha Aero Club Open Day on Saturday, November 3.

Arriving at 8.45am, the Hercules will conduct a flypast before landing and being open to the public until 10.30am before it departs Walcha Airport. Please note this visit is subject to operational availability and weather, and may change at short notice.

The RAAF has a fleet of 12 C-130J Hercules, operated by No. 37 Squadron at RAAF Base Richmond in Sydney’s northwest.

The RAAF’s Hercules fleet are frequent visitors to Walcha, using it to train crews in how to provide airlift support to frontline areas.

Able to lift a payload of up to 20 tonnes or more than 100 passengers, the RAAF’s Hercules are currently deployed to the Middle East in support of Operations in Iraq and Afghanistan.

More recently, RAAF Hercules conducted approximately 60 flights and moved more than 360 tonnes of aid within Indonesia, in response to the earthquake and tsunami that devastated central Sulawesi.

This included carrying tarpaulins, blankets and clean water kits, as well as evacuating 194 internally-displaced people to safety.

Squadron Leader Adrian Willey, Temporary Commanding Officer of No. 37 Squadron, said the support of the Walcha community was essential to Hercules operations.

“We teach pilots and loadmasters to operate the Hercules at RAAF Base Richmond, and then conduct training to regional airfields to consolidate those skills,” Squadron Leader Willey said.

“Despite its size, the Hercules is adept at getting into small, unsurfaced runways, and flying day-time and night-time missions to Walcha means we’re ready for real-world operations.”

“It’s relatively easy for the crews to stay away from built-up areas around Walcha, but we absolutely appreciate the support and understanding of local residents when we train.”

Walcha Aero Club Open Day will run from 8.30am until 3pm at Walcha Airport.

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