Bathurst is no stranger to 37SQN’s C-130J Hercules – and now it has a permanent reminder on its roadmap.
Construction of new roads around Bathurst Airport led the Council to name a street after a frequent RAAF visitor, according to Mayor Graeme Hanger.
“We’ve named one of the streets on the airport Hercules Close, (where) we’ve got a dozen new hangars going in,” Mayor Hanger said.
Unveiled in February, Hercules Close was given a firsthand inspection by 37SQN when it flew a C-130J Hercules to Bathurst on March 30, 2019.
In return, 37SQN gave Bathurst locals a closer look at their Hercules, as well as hosting Wiradjuri elders and Australian Air Force Cadets (AAFC).
Hercules Close is adjacent to the AAFC National Aviation Centre facility at Bathurst Airport, and will be the address for a new AAFC hangar.
“We’re happy to have the Hercules here as part of council’s ongoing development plan,” Mayor Hanger said.
“We’ve had a very long association with the Air Force, and that was a natural progression - we’ve got other names in store as we (expand) down to the highway.”
That includes plans for ‘Spartan Place’ in recognition of 35SQN’s fleet of C-27J Spartans.
Bringing a Hercules to Bathurst on March 30 was a return to familiar ground for 37SQN’s Chief Instructor, SQNLDR Adrian Willey.
“I’ve got some very personal connections to Bathurst, I learned to fly here as an Air Force Cadet,” SQNLDR Willey said.
“When I was 16 years old I was flying at this very airport in a glider, learning basic flying skills which I still use today.”
“The ongoing support from Bathurst Airport and Bathurst Council is excellent, it’s a huge enabler for the Australian Air Force Cadets and for the Air Force in general.”
Visiting Bathurst not only allowed 37SQN to thank the local community for its support, but also reinforce the importance of Central New South Wales to the RAAF.
Bathurst is little more than 110 kilometres – or 30 minutes flying time by Hercules – from RAAF Base Richmond, and wide rural expanses provide excellent training airspace for crews.
“We utilise (the airspace) in so many different ways – it’s got good terrain good variability of weather but most importantly we use unsealed airstrips at regional airports like Bathurst,” SQNLDR Willey said.
The skills practiced on these training missions prepare the crews for missions in the immediate region and even further abroad in the Middle East.
“Out here we’re primarily conducting day and night low level flying, which takes us to around 100 meters above the ground.” SQNLDR Willey said.
“We’re also conducting air-land (operations) into unsealed airstrips to simulate onload and offload or evacuation of personnel.”