Hercules in runway excursion at AFB Ysterplaat


A South African Air Force (SAAF) C-130BZ Hercules ended up off the runway after landing at Air Force Base (AFB) Ysterplaat on Sunday morning (5 July).

The 28 Squadron aircraft, believed to be serial 405, had just landed in a northerly direction at the Cape Town airbase and was turning around at the end of the runway in order to taxi to the apron. During the turn, the nose wheel went off the runway, its main wheels creating furrows parallel to the runway.

Rain during the previous few days resulted in the ground becoming soft and the wheels sank into the soil.

Luckily, the cargo aircraft was not damaged.

Two Rosenbauer fire engines were used to pull the aircraft back onto the runway. It was reported that the aircraft subsequently took off from AFB Ysterplaat at 18h00 for its return flight to AFB Waterkloof. It was carrying PT6 engines for the C-47TPs at Ysterplaat’s 35 Squadron.

After 57 years in service, 2020 is turning into a torrid year for the Hercules in the SAAF. Hercules 403 ran off a wet runway in the DRC in January this year, causing it to catch fire, resulting in the aircraft being the first Hercules to be written off in SAAF service due to an accident.

Then in April, whilst Denel was readying Hercules 405 for service back into the SAAF after major servicing, the nose wheel retracted during engine start-up, resulting in the nose of the aircraft settling onto the ground. It appeared that no damage was caused as the aircraft re-entered service a short time later.

Operated by 28 Squadron, the SAAF currently only has the budget to keep one C-130 Hercules operational at any time. The aircraft is in high demand, supporting Operation Notlela, the SANDF mission in support of Government efforts to curb the spread of COVID-19. The aircraft also supports the South African National Defence Force contingent in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) serving with the UN Stabilisation Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO).