Big military planes to pass over RAF Wittering

A C-130 Hercules. Photo: Richard Ellis EMN-140526-093313001
A C-130 Hercules. Photo: Richard Ellis EMN-140526-093313001
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Two huge military planes will fly through the skies above RAF Wittering this week during a planned training exercise.

The C-17 Globemaster and C-130 Hercules will fly directly over the historic officers’ mess tomorrow (Friday), making a single pass before climbing away and continuing with their training sorties.

Station commander, Group Captain Damian Alexander said: “It’s been some time since large aircraft came this way, and it is useful for us as the station, and those in the nearby communities, to experience variation in the types of aircraft that will be flying through RAF Wittering in the years ahead.”

C-17 Globemasters are capable of rapid delivery of troops and all types of cargo to bases anywhere in the world. They also have a well established role as an airborne intensive care unit to transfer critically injured patients.

The C-130 Hercules is an instantly recognisable aeroplane; it is the workhorse of the RAF’s air transport fleet and has long been employed for aeromedical evacuation.

The aircraft will be flying planned aeromedical training sorties, but have been tasked by the RAF events team to conduct the flypast to mark the closure of the Ministry of Defence Hospital Unit at Peterborough City Hospital.

Many military medical personnel routinely fly aeromedical missions in the C-17 and C-130, and a formal dinner will be held for them at RAF Wittering later that evening.

Group Captain Alexander added: “The C-17 and C-130 are large and impressive aircraft and are the backbone of the RAF’s transport capability. They will be an unusual sight in the skies above Wittering, but one that I hope people will thoroughly enjoy.”

RAF Wittering’s airfield opened for military business again in April this year; the Globemaster and Hercules will be the largest aircraft to have flown through the station’s airspace since its reopening.

The C-17 and Hercules are expected to arrive this evening. If they are required to fulfil an operational requirement elsewhere, they will be redirected accordingly.

RAF Wittering is being readied to become a home for five training squadrons, who will operate a fleet of Grob tutor aircraft. The squadrons will all have moved in by mid-2015.