A fantastic days spotting for aviation enthusiasts and visitors at Rockhampton Airport on Monday 18 July was highlighted by the arrival three Lockheed C-130 Hercules and three Boeing C-17A Globemaster transport aircraft in the evening.
There were as many as six various model Lockheed C-130 Hercules transport aircraft in the air over Shoalwater Bay during the afternoon. They were various Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) and United States Air Force (USAF) models. They were heard flying in from Richmond Air Force Base (near Sydney) using various callsigns such as "Warrior 20" (which was a flight of two RAAF C-130H Hercules), "Trojan 11", "Trojan 12", "Trojan 45", and "Trojan 55".
Most of the "Trojan" aircraft were believed to be USAF Hercules aircraft, with at least Lockheed MC-130H Hercules 84-0476 and 83-1212, and Lockheed MC-130P Hercules 69-5826 all noted in the air.
Most of the aircraft later returned directly to Richmond AFB, but three eventually landed at Rockhampton. Pictured below are A97-006 arriving as "Warrior 22", and A97-007 arriving as "Warrior 20". These aircraft flew up to Shaolwater Bay together.
Just after the sun went down USAF Lockheed MC-130P Hercules 69-5826 arrived as "Trojan 55". It left around 7pm for Richmond.
By far the highlight of the day and night though was the arrival and departure of three USAF Boeing C-17A Globemaster III aircraft. These three Globemasters were all involved in the mass parachute drop the previous day, but this time picked up a load of soldiers each and departed to the North-East.
03-3124 used the callsign "Reach 775"
02-1111 used the callsign "Reach 526"
00-0180 used the callsign "Reach 146"
A small crowd gathered to watch the action, which was also being watched over by several military police officers and police dogs. The last C-17 took-off around 10.30pm making the night one to remember.
Earlier in the day, more helicopter sorties to and from Rockhampton Airport were highlighted by the arrival of two more Australian Army Commonwealth CA-32 (Bell 206B/OH-58A) Kiowa helicopters. The Kiowas arrived from and later departed to the South as “Knights Red”. Pictured below are A17-054 and A17-040.
Royal Australian Navy (RAN) Sikorsky S-70B/SH-60 Seahawk N24-005 also popped in for a visit. The Seahawk also arrived from and later departed to the South as "Tiger 74".
RAN Westland Mk.50A Sea Kings N16-125 "Shark 10" and N16-239 "Shark 21" also operated out of Rockhampton Airport, flying sorties to the North of the Airport.