NZ Air Force wins Hercules accuracy drop competition against Aussies, Canadians

Kate Nicol-Williams
Source: 1News

New Zealand's Air Force members have taken out the Hercules drop competition, against teams from Australia and Canada.

It's the final exercise in a week-long training between the three countries held at Ohakea Air Force base.

It's the first time the Bullseye trophy is being kept on home turf since the early 1990's.

"Word out is we nailed the timings today," Flight Lieutenant Alastair Brown of the RNZAF said.

The Kiwis won comfortably with 55 points in total, dropping their loads on targets at Waioru and Raumai the quickest and most accurately.

The New Zealand Hercules flew just 500m above ground-level and travelled at speeds of up to 400 kilometres an hour.

Maximum points were given for arriving at the target within five seconds of the time given and for dropping the 450kg supply load within 10 metres of the target.

No points were given if a crew was 30 seconds out of the time they were aiming for or landed their supplies 100m outside the target.

Canada came second overall, with the slowest and least-accurate mission carried out by the second Australian team to take to the sky in their Hercules.

That team scored just five points.

The New Zealand team had the added challenge of having to cross-check calculations from a computer in the cockpit, as the 53-year-old Hercules is largely an analogue system.

Australia and Canada only have two crew in the cockpit, compared to the five staff up front in the Kiwi team today, as their aircraft are digitalised.

The Canadian team's pilot Jed Martin previously said he believed the reigning-champions would be taking the trophy back home with them.

Flight Leiutenant Terry from the Australian team previously said the Australians needed to do well this year as they had performed poorly in Canada, and had been receiving emails from the Kiwis teasing them about it.

"The Kiwi guys have devised a marking system and it's Kiwis marking us on the ground so not biased at all," he joked.

The competition re-started last year after a hiatus between 2002 and 2017 while crew were busy with deployments. 

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