A massive C1-30 military transport plane could be seen circling above the Mining City Tuesday, but once on the ground, the 44-year-old plane came was taxied to Butte Aviation where it was quickly refueled.
The C1-30 is from Patrick Air Force Base in Coco Beach, Florida. Its mission is to transport pararescue teams to Southwest Montana for high altitude, cold weather training.
"Some classroom training, spend the night and do their stuff. Pararescue men are basically Seals, Delta or Green Berets, but they’re also field trauma surgeons," combat search and rescue pilot Tookie Key said.
The training is being held at an undisclosed site and will run about a week and a half and then it's back to Florida.
The C1-30 military transport plane used to be used for hurricane chasing. Pilots would fly the aircraft into the eye of the storm and equipment used to track the hurricane would be dropped from a hole. Even though a newer model has since replaced the C1-30 for that job, the aircraft still serves an important role.
"The mission we have is to primarily refuel helicopters and take pararescue men. And when we do search patterns, we can drop them out of the airplane or insert them in fields day or night," Key said.