Thursday, September 21, 2017

Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) Lockheed C-130J-30 Hercules A97-448 Touch and Go at Rockhampton Airport as "Mentor 01"

On Thursday 21 September, Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) Lockheed C-130J-30 Hercules A97-448 was spotted completing airwork at Rockhampton Airport including a touch and go on Rocky's Runway 33.  It was heard to use the radio callsign of "Mentor 01".

It appeared to fly down from Townsville before turning inbound to Rockhampton around Gladstone.  After departing Rocky, A97-448 returned to Townsville.

However, later on Thursday 21 September, A97-448 "Mentor 01" returned to Rockhampton Airport and completed another touch and go.  On this occasion, after departing Rocky, it continued South to its home base at RAAF Base Richmond.

There are reports that A97-448 "Mentor 01" also completed airwork around Mackay Airport late on Wednesday 20 September.

Of interest, A97-448 recently became the final of 12 RAAF C-130J Hercules that were repainted into the current two-tone dark grey scheme as shown in these photos.  The C-130J was first introduced into RAAF service in 1999 featuring a light grey camouflage scheme. The current two-tone dark grey scheme was introduced in 2007, reflecting the aircraft’s shifting focus to tactical airlift operations.

The 12 C-130Js are flown by 37 Squadron out of RAAF Base Richmond.

Another item of interest is that A97-448 is one of the first of the RAAF C-130J Hercules to be fitted with a satellite communications (SATCOM) system.

Defence Image  ©

Satellite Communications (SATCOM) equipment is spreading across the RAAF’s Hercules transport aircraft under Air Force’s Plan Jericho.  SATCOM will deliver the C-130J with a broadband network capability, allowing voice calls as well as exchanging data on secure networks, from anywhere across the globe.  This will allow crews and passengers alike to arrive at their destination with live information about their mission.

Finally, it's worth noting that over this week, a couple of RAAF Beech B350 Super King Air turboprops have also been noted completing airwork at various CQ Airports.  On Monday 18 September, A32-339 "Hudson 09" completed a missed approach at Rockhampton Airport while flying from the Sunshine Coast.  While on Thursday 21 September, A32-346 "Torch 31" was noted departing Longreach Airport for Townsville.  And an unidentified RAAF King Air "Dingo 44" visited Winton from Townsville before returning some time later.

Sincere thanks to local plane spotter Scott H who was at the right place at the right to capture these great photos!

Photos taken by Scott Harris  ©

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