The wider Central West community may notice training by a Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) C-130J Hercules and aircrew at Bathurst Airport on Wednesday, February 28.
The training is anticipated to take place between 4pm and midnight, and will involve the Hercules landing and taking off from Bathurst Airport, as well as operating on the ground with its engines running for an extended period.
The Hercules is from No. 37 Squadron at RAAF Base Richmond in Sydney’s northwest, and is used as a transport for supporting Defence operations in Australia and around the globe.
Wing Commander Matt Cooper, Commanding Officer of No. 37 Squadron, said the training in Bathurst on Wednesday would reflect the conditions experienced by aircrew on operations.
“We need to be able to work away from our home bases, deliver people and supplies where they’re needed the most, and get out safely,” Wing Commander Cooper said.
“Bathurst Airport is a short flying distance for us from RAAF Base Richmond, and its proximity to Richmond and other regional airfields makes it ideally suited for our training.”
Each Hercules is powered by four turboprop engines, and its rugged design allows it to land and take off from dirt airstrips, and unload cargo with little support infrastructure.
The Hercules can carry more than 100 passengers, up to 20 tonnes of cargo, or 97 stretcher patients during Aeromedical Evacuation missions. The C-130J is the latest in a line of different Hercules models that have been operated by the RAAF since December 1958.
“We’ve used the Hercules to support Defence deployments as well as the wider civil community following natural disasters, including disaster relief following cyclones and floods in Australia,” Wing Commander Cooper said.
“During times of need, the arrival of a Hercules means ‘help is here’, but we couldn’t fulfil our mission without the understanding of local communities when we train.”