THE C-27 Spartan military transport aircraft, crewed by the 35 Squadron, has dropped ration packs across the Top End as part of Exercise Pitch Black.

The sites at Delamere and Batchelor are being used by Defence personnel for training during the three-week exercise.

35 Squadron Pilot Officer Katherine Mitchell is the only woman among the 25 C-27 Spartan pilots.

She spent 2-and-a-half years training before she was allowed to co-pilot the aircraft.

“Being one of the newest co-pilots on board, my role has been mainly in tactics and planning,” she said.

“So we spend a lot of time working out what the mission is they want us to fly and then working out our planning.”

While it is Pilot Officer Mitchell’s first exercise, it is also the first time the C-27 Spartan has been involved in Exercise Pitch Black.

“There is just so much to learn not only for myself but for our unit, which hasn’t participated in an exercise this big before — this is the debut of the Spartan at an exercise like Pitch Black,” she said.