07 September 2007
The Royal Air Force’s (RAF) C-130 Hercules has been commenced unusual training exercises this week on the coast of South Wales.
While most planes will never land on a sandy beach, the RAF sees it as imperiative to train pilots in all landing scenarios. Hercules crews may be deployed to operational theatres where there might not always be a conventional, runway.
In order to land an aircraft on a surface such as a beach, the strip itself must be hard enough for the aircraft to land. Tactical air controllers use a penetrometer (a device used to calculate ground hardness) to gauge if the landing area can sustain the weight of a Hercules and also to check that there are no other hazards such as debris on the ground.
An RAF spokesmen stated that this type of training will make flying a challenge for both pilots and ground crews and extend their skills in an uncommon area of aircraft landing.
The training will continue for the next three to four months.