Why RAF Hercules plane was spotted flying low in Sunderland, soaring over Roker and Seaburn
With Sunderland International Airshow cancelled, military aircraft are no longer a common sight in city skies.
However, the RAF Hercules made a return to Roker and Seaburn this morning, March 20, when it was seen flying low across the seafront just past 11am.
The fly-past caused quite a stir with dog walkers and visitors as it rumbled past Roker lighthouse and along Seaburn.
Pat McCardle captured these great shots of the quad-propeller aircraft soaring past the landmark lighthouse, while local photographer Helen Little, of Helen Russell Photography, managed to get some video footage of the scene.
An RAF spokesperson has confirmed the aircraft which overflew the Sunderland seafront area was an RAF C-130 Hercules from XXIV Sqn callsign JUDGEMENT 140.
The aircraft, based at Royal Air Force Brize Norton, was undertaking a routine training sortie which included elements of low-flying training.
The majestic Hercules is the RAF’s primary tactical transport aircraft and in its current C.Mk 4 and C.Mk 5 versions of the C-130J-30 and C-130J, respectively, has been the backbone of UK operational tactical mobility tasks since it was brought into service in 1999.
It is frequently employed to operate into countries or regions where there is a threat to aircraft; its performance, tactics and defensive systems make it the ideal platform for such tasks.
Last October, many were left disappointed when Council bosses said they have no plans to run the world-famous Sunderland Airshow in the future – citing the global climate crisis as a key factor in their decision.