Certainly a nice surprise visitor - albeit briefly - into Rockhampton Airport also on Friday 5 July was United States Air Force (USAF) Special Operations Squadron Lockheed MC-130J Hercules transport aircraft 14-5793. It was heard to be using the radio callsign of "Pyro 12".
The MC-130J looked to fly down from Townsville via airwork at Mackay Airport before it completed a touch-and-go onto Runway 15 at Rockhampton Airport. It then departed to Williamson Airfield within the Shoalwater Bay Training Area (SWBTA) before returning to Townsville.
Of interest, two USAF MC-130J aircraft have been deployed to Townsville in the lead up to joint Military Exercise Talisman Sabre 2019 (TS19) kicking off next week. The other MC-130J has been identified as 13-5775 and is a familiar airframe having spent time at Rockhampton Airport during Ex Talisman Saber 2017 (TS17).
Designated as a MC-130J Commando II, these Hercs are believed to be flown by the 17th Special Operations Squadron (17 SOS) which is part of the 353rd Special Operations Group at Kadena Air Base in Japan.
Sincere thanks to local plane spotters 'IAD' and Kayanne H for taking the time to capture and send through these great photos!
Photos taken by 'IAD' and Kayanne Hardsman ©