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RNZAF carrying out low-flying around Manawatū, Rangitikei & Whanganui

The Royal New Zealand Air Force (RNZAF) will be bringing a tactical flying exercise to the lower North Island from 5 – 8 July 2021.

05 July, 2021

The exercise is a C-130 Hercules training activity used by No. 40 Squadron to consolidate skills learnt at RNZAF Base Auckland. It provides crews with a range of flying training, including over unfamiliar and challenging terrain and coordinating pallet drops into drop zones.

It tests the crew’s proficiency in tactical flying and dropping loads so they’re ready to assist in resupply, humanitarian aid and disaster relief or search and rescue operations whenever required by the New Zealand Government. 

The squadron will be working alongside the New Zealand Army’s 5th Movements Company, which will be constructing and preparing the loads, and 10th Transport Company, which will recover the loads once they have been delivered to the drop zones.

In order for the New Zealand Defence Force to maintain its readiness to deploy it needs to undertake training in land, air and sea environments. Being able to exercise in various environments ensures our personnel are highly trained and able to support domestic, regional and global security situations.

Detachment Commander Squadron Leader Rob Attrill said the flights would be conducted out of RNZAF Base Ohakea and involve some low-level flying around northern Manawatu, Rangitikei and Whanganui.

Members of the public may see the aircraft flying lower than they normally would.

“An important part of our training is being able to ensure our crews can operate effectively away from our home base at Whenuapai in Auckland, so we run this exercise annually to hone their skills and keep their skills proficient,” Squadron Leader Attrill said.

“The exercise supports airborne operations and further prepares us for overseas-based exercises with our partners, and ultimately operations in support of New Zealand interests.”

The skills have been used in real-life scenarios, including in a deployment in December 2019 on a US Air Force-led Operation Christmas Drop out of Guam. There a C-130 crew delivered pallet loads of goods via airdrops to people living on remote islands and atolls in the Pacific.