Last Time Flying the Hercules

Members of the New York Air National Guard’s 107th Airlift Wing at Niagara Falls Air Reserve Station flew the unit’s final mission at the controls of a C-130 transport before converting to their new mission: operating MQ-9 remotely piloted aircraft. “We are transitioning from the C-130, which we’ve been flying since 2008 and have become comfortable with, having deployed with it to Iraq and Afghanistan,” said Col. John Higgins, the wing’s commander, in an Oct. 1 unit release. “However, we look to the future with excitement as we take on the MQ-9 mission,” he said. The flight took place on Sept. 25. It ended the Air Guard unit’s seven-year association operating the C-130s at Niagara Falls together with Air Force Reserve Command’s 914th Airlift Wing. Members of the 107th AW are now training as RPA pilots, sensor operators, intelligence coordinators, and communications specialists. The unit is expected to be fully operational in the RPA mission by 2017. The Reservists of the 914th AW will continue to fly the C-130s.