C-130 ‘Herky-bird’ buzzes skies

A Connecticut Air National Guard C-130 Hercules — affectionately nicknamed the “Herky-bird” by pilots — flew dizzyingly close overhead on Tuesday, April 24, to the concern of at least one resident.

“I was in my car, in my driveway, when it flew over my house the first time. It was so

startling that I jumped out to see what was happening,” said resident Mendy Andressen.

“It started banking — but it was a really sharp turn. I was worried it was coming down. When it completed its turn and started heading back toward town, it flew right over the tops of the trees in my yard. Even my dog hit the deck! My neighbor also saw it.”

She said she felt as if she could have reached up and touched it.

Training mission

A public affairs officer for the National Guard said the airplane flight — at around 2:10 p.m. — was part of a training exercise in the Ridgefield and Danbury area.

“The training is a requirement to ensure our pilots and crew members remain certified to conduct their assigned duties,” said Maj. Mike Petersen of the Connecticut National Guard on Thursday, April 26.  

He said the aircraft stayed at an altitude of at least 1,000 feet throughout the training mission, and that the flight crew remained in contact with local flight authorities.

The four-engine turboprop plane is a common workhorse for the military, used for everything from weather reconnaissance to mid-air refueling. Specially modified versions fitted with skis even deliver packages to Americans working on the Antarctic continent.

Danbury airspace

According to town Emergency Management Director Dick Aarons, most of area in town north of the Cass Gilbert fountain is part of the Danbury Municipal Airport airspace.

“Connecticut National Guardsmen conduct a diverse variety of training to ensure we remain always ready and always there to respond when needed. Low-altitude flight training is one of the many different disciplines our pilots remain well versed on in the event a response or mission requires flying in such conditions,” Petersen said, when asked about the reason for the flight.

Members of the Guard live and work in nearly every one of Connecticut’s towns and “we take great pride in the support we receive from the community,” he said.