Aviation buffs in Whangārei are in for a treat this weekend with an Australian Air Force Super Hercules due to land at Onerahi airport.
Airport manager Mike Chubb said the Lockheed Martin C-130J Super Hercules was the same aircraft type the RNZAF was buying to upgrade its 50-year-old Hercules fleet.
The Australian aircraft had been touring New Zealand for the past week with Onerahi its penultimate stop before it headed to Whenuapai then back across the Tasman.
It was due to land in Onerahi at 10am on Sunday and take off an hour later.
While the Hercules was far bigger than the aircraft that normally land in Whangārei, the 1100m runway was more than adequate.
Chubb said the visit was likely to spark interest.
A visit by a rare World War II de Havilland Mosquito in2013 drew an estimated 1000 people despite just one day's notice.
Chubb said Hercules aircraft used to land at Onerahi once a month to pick up banknotes printed at the nearby "money factory".
Past visits by Australian Hercules aircraft have included touch-and-go landing exercises in which the wheels contact the ground briefly before the aircraft takes off again.
A C-130J Super Hercules has a wingspan of 40 metres and weighs 34 tonnes. The aircraft is designed to operate from short or unprepared airstrips.
In 2020 the New Zealand government signed a $1.5 billion deal for five new C-130J-30 Super Hercules planes. The current C-130H fleet dates back as far as 1965.
The aircraft is used in disaster relief, search and rescue, and military transport operations, as well as supplying New Zealand's research base in Antarctica.
One RNZAF Hercules flew to the UK last week to help deliver military aid donated to Ukraine. It will not fly to Ukraine but to key distribution centres around Europe.
■ An earlier version of this story stated incorrectly that the Super Hercules was due to visit on Saturday. The Advocate apologises for the error.