Farewell flyover over Tamworth and Walcha for mighty Hercules

Tamworth and Walcha get their last look at a flying Hercules this afternoon as the old air transport carrier does a farewell flight before being retired fromservice on November 30.
Nanjing Night Net

The RAAF C-130H aircraft, pictured left, is including the two stretches of northern skies for sentimental and historic reasons as they complete a commemorative tour across NSW.

The Hercules, first delivered to the Richmond RAAF base in 1978, are being superseded by the latest generation C-130J which is now in service and from 2015 by smaller Spartan battlefield airlifters.

According to historian Warren Newman, Tamworth and Walcha have old links, not so much to the Hercules itself but to the tradition of airtraining.

For Tamworth, that legacy goes back to 1940 when a wartime flying training school was set up at the Taminda aerodrome site. That first camp saw officers and enlisted men in air force training but it later grew to up to 40 instructors and 200 students.

Among one of those original students was squadron leader Basil Brown, one of the original forefathers of the homegrown East West Airlines and instrumental inTamworth’s impressiveaviation history.

The BAE flight training academy which has been based at the Tamworth Regional Airport for 12 years has also seen former Hercules pilots serve as instructors.

As one of the best airports in regional NSW, Tamworth has also seen plenty of flypasts, flyovers and mercy missions, including flood relief in years gone by, from Hercules carriers ferrying cargo andpeople.

Its runway has beena flying stop, too, for other RAAF planes, notablyjet training andrunway touch-and-go manoeuvres.

Walcha provides another chapter in the history story. According to an RAAF spokesman, the workhorse airplane has used the Walcha airstrip for a range of exercises, notably in 2005, when they attracted plenty of attention from locals for their low flying flights over the town.

The farewell flights should occur about 4.30pm today overTamworth and about10 to 15 minutes laterover Walcha.

C-130H Hercules.

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