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  • Writer's pictureJohn

C-130 not C-3PO!


Many people in the village may have seen or heard low level flying military aircraft over the skies of Norham. One such frequenter is the Lockheed C-130 Hercules transport aircraft which often take off from bases such as Brize Norton in Oxfordshire rather than from a galaxy far far away. They were first introduced in the late 1950's and their versatile airframe has been used in various roles including gunship, search and rescue and for scientific purposes including weather.

I have seen these amazing planes numerous times and managed to capture these pictures a few months ago with a digital zoom. The plane was only a few hundred feet above ground and they are magnificent to see along with the roar of its four turboprop engines.



Using the crop digital zoom facility it is possible to see the registration number 889 below the cockpit.


For obvious security reasons not all military craft can be tracked, but there are various resources online, for example which offers a free or subscription service to track certain flights. On the day I took the photos the plane had flown from Brize Norton up to the Shetland Isles and returned via Norham. An app is also available for iphone and Android phones.

Apparently on this particular flight day there was also a tip off on social media.

The photo'd plane ZH-889 according to the above is currently in Blythe - USA (Not just down the coast in a similar sounding town) and assume the flight name was not a reference to James Bond.


Other low flying training aircraft which can be seen or heard locally include the Chinook helicopter with its distinct sound and various types of jet fighters.


A recent news article was answering a question that apparently there had been more military flights since lockdown, to which it was answered.

"To be clear, these were all occurring prior to the pandemic. But a lack of civil aviation now makes them stand out more."


A big thankyou to all the servicemen past and present for protecting our nation and assisting where required throughout the world.


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Jan 18, 2021

For those not on social media I have been advised at around 14.18 hrs today (18/1/21) there will be a Hercules flying over.


John a great post and something I have been interested in over the years. We have observed many exercises and enjoy trying to identify the planes. As well as the aircraft you mention we often see the Tucano and Gnat trainers. In busier years in the past we saw Tornados and sometimes the very noisy USAAF F16's. It was once our observation that if it was a clear day on a Monday we would almost always see something and occasionaly what appearred to be a mock dogfight. The most memorable exercise was about 20 years ago when the RAF asked if they could bring inflatable tanks and a mobile radar 'truck' (allegedly Argentinian and recovered from the Falklands) This was…


i hope so. it’s such a thrill to see them


Nov 29, 2020

Glad you like the info/photos. I managed to take them by pure chance. I am not on social media but there was a tip off on Norham Craic that particular day so hopefully there will be next time too.

Kind regards



thank you for your post. i love to see and hear them. the hercules flew very low over our house which is just just outside the village then he seemed to follow the river. it was great to see it. are you able to post on Norham Craic when he’s next coming over please? thank you

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