EFTM has spent the day with the Australian RAAF on a training exercise with six C130J Hercules aircraft.
The RAAF did this training exercise today in preparation for a display occurring on March 21st. The display on March 21st is to symbolise the end of Operation Slipper ran in Afghanistan.
“The flypasts on 21 March will recognise Australia’s military contribution to the International Security Assistance Force mission in Afghanistan,” Wing Commander Goldie said.
“For many veterans of Operation Slipper, the C-130 holds special significance as being the aircraft that carried them to Afghanistan, sustained them during their deployment, and returned them home.”
The C130 has been used all through the Operation and on the 21st will play a large role in the parade. Today we had the chance to be part of the training exercise and it was a seriously amazing experience.
In the morning we met for a briefing with members of the RAAF before boarding our C130J which would be our home for the next four hours. This was not luxury at all. My seat was more of a bench and the in-flight entertainment was not provided on a screen. Surprisingly though the take-off was very smooth and quite quick.
It didn’t take long for other passengers to get up and walk around the large cargo area once we were in the air. It was our first chance to find a porthole or small window to look out from. The flight at times was quite low and provided fantastic views over country NSW. The main difference to a regular though was that when I looked out the window most times I could see at least one other Hercules in our group of six.
We ventured to the cockpit area which thankfully was air-conditioned and provided the best flight view I’ve ever experienced. The training exercises began and those who were walking around the cargo area needed to sit or really hold on. These planes can really manoeuvre around and at speed too, I can see why they have been serving our country for so long. The problem with the training exercise when you’re a passenger is that in the cargo area there is a lot of movement and not a lot of windows so motion sickness came into play. I’d be lying if I said it didn’t effect me, there were sick bags available and almost everyone onboard used at least one. This stuff is tough!
The flight took us to Canberra and past Lake Burley Griffin and then back to the Richmond airbase. It was hot, sometimes sickening, but always amazing. This was a real day in the life experience of the RAAF and the training they are going through. When you’re disturbed by the sound of military aircraft flying over your house, just remember that these guys and girls are only doing it because it helps them serve our country better.
The event on the 21st of March is a very special time for Australia and if you can make it into Sydney for the day then it will be worth it.
The event will feature a parade down George St but make sure you remember to get close to the harbour so that you can catch these six C130 aircraft carrying out some fantastic low passes and manoeuvres.
They carried our troops, our cargo and even our fallen heroes. A lot of history is in these planes and a lot of memories and experiences among the squad that served. It was an honour to be part of this training exercise.