Why were huge military planes flying over the Piedmont today?

We received several calls and emails today about low-flying military planes over the Piedmont around lunchtime.

According to the Fort Bragg Public Affairs Office, the 440th Airlift Wing conducted an ‘elephant walk’ and airborne operation on Thursday. The exercise was a joint exercise with Fort Bragg and Pope Air Field.

Eight C-130’s dropped a static line and HALO (high altitude low opening) paratroopers onto the Pope Field flightline in a rare airborne operation, the office said.

Prior to take-off, the C-130’s conducted an ‘elephant walk’ around the flightline, which includes the Piedmont.

An elephant walk is a procession of a unit’s aircraft on the airfield right before takeoff, often before a minimum interval takeoff.

The exercise is not related to Robin Sage exercises that are expected to continue across the Piedmont through April 22.

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