Channel 2 Action News gets exclusive look at Georgia Air National Guard plane’s first flight

The Georgia Air National Guard is debuting a brand-new plane and Channel 2 Investigative Reporter Mark Winne got an exclusive look at its first flight.

Winne learned how the new C-130J model is critical to the Georgia Air National Guard’s mission.

Major General Konata Crumbly said that without this plane, there is a “distinct possibility” that they could have been unable to continue doing airlifts in the future.

“You can only have old stuff so long,” Gen. Crumbly said.

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The plane rolled down the runway on Wednesday after rolling off the assembly line at Lockheed Martin across from the Georgia National Guard headquarters.

The new plane will help ensure that the 165th Airlift Wing will keep flying well into the future.

“You either modernize in this business or you become extinct, and we’re excited to modernize,” Major General Thomas Carden said.

Gen. Crumbly says the C-130J replaces the C-130H which has been flying since 1981.

He says the new model can fly further with more cargo and with better defenses to protect its crew.

“It’s 15 feet longer so it can handle more cargo and we’ve increased the avionics on this aircraft such that it can fly in any airspace,” Lockheed Martin Vice President Rod McLean.

“It opens up our world to going more places and doing more things,” pilot Major Julianne Schurr said.

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Gen. Crumbly says they received the planes because of economic factors at their Savannah base, but also because the wing had the best operational readiness of any unit flying the older version until July.

“This is our first C-130J and we have seven more to go,” Lieutenant Colonel Amy Drew said.

Lt. Col. Drew says that those planes should be delivered by 2025.

The Georgia Air National Guard can use the aircraft for humanitarian missions, 21st-century security, search and rescue missions, aerial firefighting, special operations and weather reconnaissance.

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