Spartan’s star turn

Daneka HillNorth West Telegraph
Squadron Leader Mark Seery and Squardron Leader Robert Crawford with the C27J Spartan they pilot.
Camera IconSquadron Leader Mark Seery and Squardron Leader Robert Crawford with the C27J Spartan they pilot. Credit: North West Telegraph/Hill, Daneka Hill

One of the newest planes in the Royal Australian Air Force made a brief landing in Port Hedland while carrying out operations in the Pilbara.

The Queensland-based C27J Spartan flew commanding officers from the Pilbara Regiment to various regional locations including dirt airstrips at Jigalong and Yandeyarra as well as Port Hedland and Newman.

Squadron Leader Mark Seery and Squardron Leader Robert Crawford with the C27J Spartan they pilot.
Camera IconSquadron Leader Mark Seery and Squardron Leader Robert Crawford with the C27J Spartan they pilot. Credit: Daneka Hill

It was a rare opportunity for officers to visit their various teams and check on operations and helped cut drive times down from hours to minutes.

The aircraft is suited to remote areas because of its ability to land on small, rough airstrips and go longer distances than similar purpose aircraft such as the Hercules.

Sqn-Leader pilot Mark Seery said the it was slim enough to land on roads. “We land on dirt, sand, gravel, clay and even coral,” he said.

Recently the aircraft and its team were in the Solomon Islands supporting the election process by transporting security personnel, ballot papers and boxes into remote communities.

“These planes are into and out of airfields that other aircraft can’t get in and out of,” Sqn-Leader Seery said.

A combination of tyres, strong brakes, reverse speed and high wings with large flaps allows the C27 Spartan to approach at speeds slower than other aircraft.

A RAAF C27J Spartan which has been flying around the Pilbara recently.
Camera IconA RAAF C27J Spartan which has been flying around the Pilbara recently. Credit: Daneka Hill

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