Photos by Karl and Janna Webber
Can you identify this huge mystery jet which swished low and fast over outlying islands off Kapiti soon after 5.30pm today?
The huge four-jet transport with distinctive upturned wings gave Kapiti Island resident Karl Webber a fright when he looked up from his back garden on Motungarara (Fisherman”s) Island to see the vast plane zooming in very low from the southwest.
He says the aircraft , flying ‘extremely’ quietly and very low then headed along the coast off Waikanae Beach in a northerly direction.
It was not an RNZAF aircraft as none of the large planes flown by our Air Force are anything like the visiting jet.
If you saw the plane, or can identify it, please let us know!
Our aviation correspondent, and readers, soon identified the plane as an American C17 Globemaster, probably flying as low as 500 feet.
And it was pointed out it was probably heading back to Ohakea after taking part in ‘Exercise Southern Katipo’ in the South Island, the largest exercise of its kind to be held in New Zealand for more than 20 years.
The United States Airforce supplied the C17 Globemaster aircraft, and others, for the exercise.
There is a ‘strong air presence’ involved in the exercise, including the NH90 and A190 helicopters – newly entering service with the Royal New Zealand Air Force – and the “the venerable” UH1H helicopters, which were due to be replaced.
It also involves 2200 troops from New Zealand, Australia, Canada, France, Malaysia, Papua New Guinea, Singapore, Tonga, Britain and the United States.
Timaru has been renamed “Mainlandia” for the purpose of the exercise.