It was a day of Hercules transport aircraft at Rockhampton Airport on Friday 7 July. Here is a summary of what was described as the 'herc-a-thon'!
Late on Thursday 6 July, Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) Lockheed C-130J-30 Hercules A97-440 touched down from the South as "Trojan 2". It stayed for the night and departed Rockhampton Airport early on Friday 7 July for RAAF Base Williamtown.
UPDATE! I've since discovered that A97-440 "Trojan 2" then flew into Mackay Airport from Williamtown also on Friday 7 July delivering equipment to support the deployment of a pair Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) Pilatus PC-9/A trainer aircraft to Mackay during joint Military Exercise Talisman Saber 2017 (TS17). It appears that the two PC-9s - which are flown by the RAAFs 4 Squadron based at Williamtown - will arrive into Mackay Airport on Saturday 8 July.
A short time later on Friday 7 July, fellow RAAF Lockheed C-130J-30 Hercules A97-464 flew into the Shoalwater Bay Training Area (SWBTA) from the South as "Trojan 3". A short time later, it flew into Rockhampton Airport where local plane spotter Kayanne H was on hand to capture a couple of great photos as it was parked adjacent to the two USAF Hercs as described below.
A97-464 is also pictured as it departed to RAAF Base Richmond.
Meanwhile, also arriving at Rockhampton Airport late on Thursday 6 July was United States Air Force (USAF) Special Operations Squadron Lockheed MC-130J Hercules 13-5777 which touched down at Rockhampton Airport from the North as "Spock 43". It remained overnight and was still parked on the Northern military hardstand alongside fellow USAF MC-130J 12-5761 which arrived last weekend as "Spock 42" and seems to based at Rocky.
In fact, during the course of Friday 7 July, 12-5761 "Spock 42" departed Rockhampton Airport for the North before it was photographed returning to Rocky and parking on Gate 6 on the Southern end of the parking apron.
It departed a short time later for the South.
Then after the sun went down on Friday 7 July, the third of the United States Air Force (USAF) Special Operations Squadron Lockheed MC-130J Hercules aircraft which have deployed to Australia for joint Military Exercise Talisman Saber 2017 (TS17) also popped into Rockhampton Airport. The MC-130J 13-5775 flying as "Spock 41" flew North from RAAF Base Richmond and completed a parachute drop in the Shoalwater Bay Training Area (SWBTA) before it called into Rockhampton Airport. It departed back towards the South a short time later.
Around the same time in the early evening on Friday 7 July, Royal New Zealand Air Force (RNZAF) Lockheed C-130H Hercules NZ7005 was also seen flying North from RAAF Base Richmond into the Shoalwater Bay Training Area (SWBTA) where it too completed a parachute drop. After that, NZ7005 also called into Rockhampton Airport for a short period of time before it was noted returning to the South.
Interestingly, the RNZAF Herc was using heard using the radio callsign of "Jackal 10" - a new one for us!
One other Herc was also heard flying into Shoalwater Bay after the sun went down on Friday 7 July with RAAF C-130J-30 A97-465 also flying up from Richmond as "Mambo 20". It is unclear if it landed or returned South.
Finally, back during the early afternoon on Friday 7 July, United States Marine Corps (USMC) Lockheed KC-130J Hercules of the Marine Aerial Refueller Transport Squadron 152 (VMGR-152) “Sumos” arrived into Rockhampton Airport from the North as "Sumo 88".
"Sumo 88" was later heard departing for the South.
Sincere thanks to local plane spotters 'IAD', Kayanne H and Daniel B for their help with information photos contained in this Blog post!
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Photos taken by 'IAD', Kayanne Hardsman and Daniel Bishop ©