A Herculean Training Exercise A Herculean Training Exercise A Herculean Training Exercise In about two weeks, the Hercules C-130J plane will land at Nevatim airbase and preparations for its arrival are already underway. Just a moment before it arrives, the “Elephants” squadron, which will operate the advanced transport plane, held a training exercise in which it practiced sorties from beginning to end

Shani Pomes

The Hercules C-130J is set to land in Israel in just a few days but the “Elephants” squadron has already begun training: this week, the squadron practiced sorties at all stages.”We practiced things like flight planning, aircrew boarding and briefing”, explains Captain Ofer, an aircrew member in the squadron who led the training. “The goal of the simulation is to avoid wasting time until the moment the plane lands and to prepare as thoroughly as possible for the plane. We hope to be as ready, effective and safe as possible”.

The simulation was attended by everyone in the squadron: from the operations staff to the loading inspectors to the aircrew members and even the technical branch, which prepared the plane. The Hercules C-130J will replace its sister plane, the Hercules C-130H, which until recently was part of the squadron.

Unlike other training exercises, in which the aircrews practice complex scenarios, on the last day of the simulation, the aircrews practiced routine missions in the squadron. “The idea behind the simulation today is not to deal with activities that require aerial risk management. We learned this in the U.S. for four months”, says Captain Ofer with a smile on his face. “Most of the simulation is a routine work exercise and an exercise on responding to unplanned events. Thanks to the simulation, we are discovering things that we wouldn’t have known otherwise”.

Closer Than Ever

Lately, preparations for the landing of the C-130J have intensified and the expectations can certainly be felt in the corridors of the “Elephants” squadron. Next week, an additional simulation will be held, which will complete last week’s training exercise. “This simulation makes the arrival of the Hercules C-130J more tangible”, he adds. “We deal more with routine work preparations than with fighting. It’s a very busy time right now and we need to make decisions and commit. There is a feeling in the squadron that the Hercules C-130J is set to land here tomorrow, which makes the work much more efficient”.