A pair of Royal Australian Air Force C-130J Hercules transport aircraft entered Paradise this morning, buzzing Kiama – CONTACT’s home town.
The aircraft conducted low-level flying training this morning around the Blue Mountains, south coast and Sydney Harbour – snapped at the Kiama Lighthouse by CONTACT editor Brian Hartigan.
Taking off from RAAF Base Richmond in Sydney’s north west at 8am, the Hercules flew past the Three Sisters in the Blue Mountains, then south via the Warragamba reservoir to Goulburn, through Kangaroo Valley south of Nowra, via Kiama, then abeam Wollongong and up the coast, through Sydney Heads, overhead Sydney Harbour and back to RAAF Base Richmond by 9.30am.
During the sortie, the Hercules operated as low as 75m above ground and sea.
The RAAF said such flights allowed aircrew to maintain skills, with the Hercules being a key Defence asset to sustain personnel on operations.
A fleet of 12 Hercules is operated by No. 37 Squadron, with two of the aircraft continuously deployed to the Middle East.
The low-flying sortie coincided with a change of command for 37SQN, from Wing Commander Darren Goldie to Wing Commander Matt Cooper.
“My first flying tour was with 37SQN, so it has been the fulfilment of a long-held dream to come back and command this squadron,” Wing Commander Goldie said.