16.10.2013 Shani Pomes - iaf.org.il
After theoretical studies and 130 flight hours in the simulator, the founding aerial teams of the Hercules squadron flew the Hercules C-130J for the first time, the latest American version of the Hercules that is due to arrive in Israel next year
Last week, a C-130J Hercules plane took off from its home base in Arkansas. But this time, there were Israeli Air Force aerial team members in the cockpit. The C-130J plane is the American version of the Hercules plane that will serve the IAF starting next year, after unique Israeli systems have been installed.
The Israeli teams that arrived at the Little Rock airbase are part of the founding team of the new Hercules squadron, which will be established in the southern airbase in Nevitim. For them, this is an important step: Over the last few months, they have been staying at the American airbase for the conversion of the Hercules planes prior to their arrival in Israel, and until now they have undergone theoretical instruction and more than 130 flight hours in the simulator. Flying the plane last week was the first step in the last stage of the conversion, at the end of which the soldiers will be trained to aerial team members in the latest plane. "We got excited. Flying after so much time, when we've been looking forward to this, was a wonderful experience", explained Lieutenant Colonel Uri, future commander of the squadron of Hercules planes that will be in Nevitim. "The plane is everything they advertised about it, it's strong. You are concerned that you have so much more power than what you need. You get a lot of data to fly accurately: information of the area and direction of the flight, an amazing feeling. It feels like the regular C-130 Hercules in basic flight, they didn't take that away from the plane. They just improved it a lot".