Friday, February 23, 2018

'Incapacitated' Pilot Sees Emergency Landing by First Officer of Pel-Air SAAB 340A Freighter VH-KDK at Mackay Airport

Early on Friday 23 February, Pel-Air SAAB 340A Freighter VH-KDK was approaching Mackay Airport while operating the week-daily cargo flight from Brisbane and Rockhampton as PFY7416/7418.

After being forced to hold to the South of Mackay Airport due to the inclement weather - including rain storms - which was passing through the region, the Pilot of the SAAB suffered a 'medical episode', forcing the First Officer to make an emergency landing at Mackay Airport.  The SAAB came to a stop on the main Runway, closing Mackay Airport for a period of time while the Pilot was evacuated from the aircraft and transported to hospital.

The Queensland Ambulance Service (QAS) confirmed that a single patient, understood to be the pilot of a the SAAB, was transported to Mackay Base Hospital in a stable condition.  It is believed that they were later flown to Brisbane by the Royal Flying Doctor Service (RFDS).

The First Officer was also reportedly later transported to hospital.

VH-KDK was later towed away from the active Runway at Mackay Airport and parked on its 'usual' spot on the main apron where it should remain parked for the weekend - as shown above in the photo taken later on Friday 23 February.

Meanwhile, it wasn't a good couple of days for Pel-Air with fellow SAAB 340A Freighter VH-EKT seemingly breaking down at Rockhampton Airport after arriving from Brisbane early on Thursday 22 February as PFY7416.

As these photos below show, local engineers are working on one of the SAAB's engines and it remains parked on the Southern end of the Rockhampton Airport parking apron.

UPDATE!  On Saturday 24 February, VH-EKT finally departed Rockhampton Airport, re-positioning to Brisbane as PFY9881.

Our thoughts are with those involved with the emergency at Mackay Airport this morning.

Photos taken by 'AC' and Trevor Hardsman  ©

Vanguard Aviation Cessna 525 CitationJet1 Bizjet VH-DAA Spotted at Rockhampton Airport - Plus a Couple of Other Bizjets Around CQ Airports

On Wednesday 21 February, Vanguard Aviation Cessna 525 CitationJet1 bizjet VH-DAA was noted arriving at Biloela / Thangool Airport from its Archerfield base.  After overnighting, on Thursday 22 February, VH-DAA continued up to Rockhampton Airport where local plane spotter 'IAD' photographed it resting on General Aviation (GA) Apron.

On Friday 23 February, VH-DAA returned back to Archerfield.

Meanwhile, over the latter part of this week, a couple of other familiar corporate and medical bizjets were also noted popping into various CQ Airports.

On Friday 23 February, McDermott Aviation Group / Machjet International Cessna S550 Citation SII bizjet VH-JLU flew North from its Sunshine Coast base and completed airwork at Gladstone Airport.  After a period of time and completing several missed approaches, VH-JLU returned to the Sunny Coast.

Also on Friday 23 February, both LifeFlight (Aeromed) LearJet 45 bizjets VH-VVI and VH-CXJ were both noted at CQ Airports.  It appears that VH-VVI possibly completed a training flight from Brisbane to Bundaberg Airport and back, while in the afternoon, VH-CXJ looked to call into Mackay Airport from Brisbane on a medical evacuation flight as "Ambulance 452".  It later departed to Townsville.

Finally, back on Tuesday 20 February, Balmoral Air Dassault Falcon 2000LX bizjet VH-WIO visited Hamilton Island Airport once again.  As usual, it arrived from and later departed back to its Bankstown base.

Photo taken by 'IAD'  ©

Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) Boeing C-17A Globemaster III A41-210 Missed Approach at Emerald and Rockhampton Airports

On Friday 23 February, Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) Boeing C-17A Globemaster III A41-210 was heard to complete airwork at both Emerald and Rockhampton Airports. 

It had earlier departed Townsville - where it arrived yesterday - and flew towards Emerald where it completed airwork, including at least one missed approach at Emerald Airport.

From Emerald, A41-210 - which was flying as "Stallion 44" - flew West towards Rockhampton where it also completed airwork, including a missed approach at Rockhampton Airport.

A41-210 then departed back down to RAAF Base Amberley.

Meanwhile, the run of RAAF Beech B350 Super King Air turboprops to visit CQ Airports has continued.  On Thursday 22 February, A32-439, flying as "Dingo 15", departed Amberley and completed aerial survey work around Roma before landing at Roma Airport for fuel.  It then returned to Amberley.

While also on Thursday 22 February, A32-651, as "Beaufort 15", called into Longreach Airport for fuel while flying from RAAF Base East Sale in Victoria to RAAF Base Tindal in the Northern Territory.  On Friday 23 February, A32-651, again as "Beaufort 15", returned to Longreach Airport from Tindal before it continued to Newcastle (Williamtown).

Sincere thanks to local plane spotter Kayanne H who was at the right place at the right time at Rocky and who sent through these great photos!

All photos taken by Kayanne Hardsman  ©

Thursday, February 22, 2018

Alliance Airlines Fokker F-100 VH-FGB in Special "Sir Charles Kingsford-Smith" livery Makes First Visit to CQ at Rockhampton Airport

On Thursday 22 February, recently delivered Alliance Airlines Fokker F-100 VH-FGB made its first visit to Central Queesland and was spotted arriving into Rockhampton Airport operating on behalf of Virgin Australia as UTY1245/8 from and back to Brisbane.

The Fokker is adorned in a very attractive livery celebrating the 90th anniversary of the first trans-Pacific crossing completed in 1928 by four aviators including Sir Charles Kingsford-Smith in his Fokker F.VIIb/3m Trimotor named "Southern Cross".

VH-FGB was delivered into Brisbane from Norwich in England in January and has been operating in recent days on Fly-in Fly-out (FIFO) charter flights out of Brisbane, Townsville and Cairns.

Of interest, a commemorative beer labelled Smithy’s FGB (Fokkin’ Good Beer) has also been launched and will be available on all Alliance Airlines flights.

At the time of writing, VH-FGB has returned to Rockhampton Airport and looks to be staying for the night.  It should depart back to Brisbane early on Friday 23 February.

Sincere thanks to local plane spotters Daniel B and 'IAD' for taking the time to capture and send through these great photos of a great first-time visitor to CQ!

Photos taken by Daniel Bishop and 'IAD'  ©

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Final Virgin Australia Embraer E-190 VH-ZPH Departs Australia - For Good?

On Wednesday 21 February, Virgin Australia Embraer E-190 VH-ZPH was noted departing Brisbane Airport for Apia (Tonga) as VOZ9901.  It is reported that it will continue to Honolulu (Hawaii), Van Nuys (California) and Nashville (Tennessee) in the coming days for post-lease maintenance.

It has also been reported (including by us!) that VH-ZPH may eventually ferry back from Nashville to the Philippines where it could possibly be prepared to return to Australia later this year and operate for JetGo Australia Airlines.  Former Virgin Australia E-190 VH-ZPT departed Australia for Darwin and Clark International Airport at Manilla in late January in preparation for some future delivery back to Australia for JetGo where it will launch the airlines planned International services between Brisbane and Karratha in Western Australia and onward to Singapore.

Meanwhile, VH-ZPH is the final Virgin Australia E-190 jet to be withdrawn from the fleet and be transferred to other operators or storage.  It follows VH-ZPD, VH-ZPF, VH-ZPE, VH-ZPG, VH-ZPJ, VH-ZPL, VH-ZPB, VH-ZPA, VH-ZPM, VH-ZPI ,VH-ZPC, VH-ZPQ, VH-ZPK, VH-ZPR, VH-ZPN, VH-ZPO and VH-ZPT which have all departed Australia since February 2016.

As reported several times, Virgin Australia announced its decision to phase out the E-190 from service in June 2016 as part of plans to rationalise the airline group’s fleet to help cut costs. Other changes include the withdrawal for some of its ATR 72 turboprop fleet and the transition of low-cost carrier subsidiary Tigerair from an all-Airbus A320 operator to the Boeing B737.

VH-ZPH was the eighth of eleven new aircraft ordered by Virgin Blue in November 2006. It entered the Australian register in July 2008 and was delivered to the airline in August 2008.  VH-ZPH was noted wearing the name 'Hastings Highness' and was configured to seat 6 Business Class and 92 Economy Class passengers.

VH-ZPH operated its first revenue flight for Virgin Blue on Monday 25 August 2008 when it operated as DJ1231 from Brisbane to Rockhampton Airport.

With Virgin Blue being renamed and re-branded as Virgin Australia Airlines in May 2011, VH-ZPH returned from maintenance and re-painting in Alverca do Ribatejo, Portugal in April 2014.  It looked to take up the name 'Honeymoon Cove'.

As we posted on our Facebook page, VH-ZPH operated its final revenue service for Virgin Australia on Saturday 3 February when it operated as VOZ1102/1105 from Brisbane to Newcastle (Williamtown) Airport.  A 'hangar party' was then held during the afternoon following VH-ZPH's final touch down back at Brisbane.

Of interest, it appears that VH-ZPH's final flight into Central Queensland was on Sunday 28 January when it operated into Mackay Airport and back from Brisbane as VOZ607/610.

VH-ZPH departs Mackay Airport some time ago  (File photo)

Sincere thanks to Brisbane-based plane spotters Dylan H and Dom for allowing us to share their great photos from the historic final touch down by Virgin's final Embraer E-190 jet.

Photos taken by Dylan Hardie, Dom and 'AC'  ©