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Low-flying military planes could startle some Charlotteans on Saturday

For the last time, a flight of C-130s departs Charlotte Douglas International Airport on a military mission in February, as the venerable air transports wind down their careers with the N.C. Air National Guard. Charlotte's 145th Airlift Wing was activated on the final mission for the transport aircraft in Operation Freedom's Sentinel, supporting troops in Afghanistan. First flown in 1954, the C-130 is regarded as the most flexible transport ever designed and is used for everything from hauling cargo to serving as gunships to fighting forest fires as airbone tankers. Charlotte's C-130 fleet will be replaced after their retirement with C-17 Globemaster III aircraft.
For the last time, a flight of C-130s departs Charlotte Douglas International Airport on a military mission in February, as the venerable air transports wind down their careers with the N.C. Air National Guard. Charlotte's 145th Airlift Wing was activated on the final mission for the transport aircraft in Operation Freedom's Sentinel, supporting troops in Afghanistan. First flown in 1954, the C-130 is regarded as the most flexible transport ever designed and is used for everything from hauling cargo to serving as gunships to fighting forest fires as airbone tankers. Charlotte's C-130 fleet will be replaced after their retirement with C-17 Globemaster III aircraft. jsimmons@charlotteobserver.com

No need to dive into a ditch or call 911 when low-flying military planes suddenly come into view over Charlotte on Saturday.

“The military is not taking over,” joked Capt. Monica Ebert of the North Carolina Air National Guard.

All eight C-130 Hercules planes in the Guard’s 145th Airlift Wing will fly in formation to train and to celebrate the 46-year mission of the C-130 unit.

The planes are scheduled to fly from the Guard base at Charlotte Douglas International Airport at 12:30 p.m. or 12:45 p.m. for a Guard base in Stanly County, where they will conduct a simulated cargo drop, probably pallets of sandbags, Ebert said.

The planes are scheduled to return to Charlotte’s airport at 2:15 p.m.

Because the planes will fly at an altitude of only 1,000 feet, “you’re not going to miss them,” Ebert told the Observer. “You will get lots of calls.”

On a Monday morning last August, a low-altitude flight by four military jets over Bank of America Stadium startled residents and office workers.

The pilots of those planes were “careless and reckless” in flying lower and faster than authorized, according to a preliminary report obtained by the Observer under the Freedom of Information Act.

Joe Marusak: 704-358-5067, @jmarusak

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