GILFORD — With the advent of summer residents of the Lakes Region can expect to see more military aircraft flying in and out of the Laconia Airport as national guard units in the northeast use the relatively uncongested air space for training missions.
Last weekend a pair of Black Hawk helicopters and a C-130 "Hercules", a four-engine turboprop transport aircraft, landed at the airfield. John Leahy of SkyBright, which is one of two companies providing aviation services at the airport, said that the helicopters came and left the same day while the C-130, which is capable of fueling the Black Hawks, spent the night at the field before leaving the next day. Leahy said that military personnel practice instrument approaches and support training exercises, sometimes conducted in a military fly zone in the White Mountains, and use the airport rather than add to the air traffic at busier airports.
Leahy said that earlier this summer Black Hawk helicopters based in Concord refueled at Laconia Airport while ferrying water to fight a brush fire in the Ossipee Mountains.
The C-130 is 98 feet long and has a wingspan of 132 feet. Empty, it weighs 75,800 pounds and can carry again as much weight in cargo. The plane is said to 3,586 feet of runway to take off at full weight. The Laconia Airport runway(s) is nearly 6,000 feet long.
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