Thursday, August 25, 2016

A Couple of Maintenance Issues for Virgin Australia Embraer E-190 Jets at Hervey Bay (Fraser Coast) Airport This Week

There has been a couple of flight cancellations affecting passengers travelling with Virgin Australia to Sydney from Hervey Bay (Fraser Coast) Airport.

A Virgin Australia E-190 at Hervey Bay Airport  (File photo)

On Monday 22 August, Virgin Australia Embraer E-190 VH-ZPH touched down at Hervey Bay as VOZ1555 from Sydney.  The return VOZ1556 service was cancelled due to the aircraft breaking down.  VH-ZPH remained parked at Hervey Bay until after dark on Tuesday 23 August when it positioned empty to Brisbane as VOZ9914.

Then on Wednesday 23 August, Virgin Australia Embraer E-190 VH-ZPQ touched down at Hervey Bay as VOZ1555 from Sydney.  The return VOZ1556 service was also cancelled due to the aircraft breaking down.  VH-ZPT departed for Brisbane empty as VOZ9936 in the early evening of Wednesday 23 August.

Photo taken by Brendan Berry  ©

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

A Few Light GA Aircraft Call into Longreach Airport incl Record-breaking Around-the-World Pilot Lachie Smart in his Cirrus SR22 VH-IBC

As we've been reporting on our Facebook page, 18-year-old Lachlan Smart is in the final stages of a record-breaking solo around-the-world flight in Cirrus SR22 VH-IBC.  On Tuesday 23 August, Lachie piloted VH-IBC into Longreach Airport from Darwin.

He is expected to complete media and other commitments including a meet-and-greet at the Qantas Founders Museum at Longreach on Wednesday 24 August before departing to Bundaberg Airport on Thursday 25 August.

Lachie is expected to touch down in the rum city in VH-IBC at around 12.00pm on Thursday.  He will be giving a presentation of his world record breaking flight at the Hinkler Hall of Aviation in Bundaberg on Friday 26 August at 3.30pm.

Lachie will then head 'home' to the Sunshine Coast early on Saturday 27 August, completing his record-breaking solo circumnavigation of the globe.

Lachie will be 18 years, 7 months and 21 days when he touches down back at the Sunny Coast.  While the record is key to this journey, it was never the motivation for Smart to pack his life into a single engine plane to fly across vast masses of water, stopping in 24 locations and 15 countries along the way.

Read more about this remarkable young man at:

Meanwhile, several light General Aviation (GA) aircraft have also called into Longreach Airport over the last couple of days including Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) Beech B350 Super King Air A32-670 which touched down on Tuesday 23 August from Canberra as "Consort 89".  It looked to depart to Townsville later in the evening before returning to Longreach on Wednesday 24 August and then departing back towards the South-East.

A couple of other Super King Air turboprops in the form of AirServices Australia / Pearl Aviation Hawker Beechcraft B300 VH-FIY and Queensland Government (State of Queensland) Raytheon B300 VH-SGQ also called into Longreach Airport on Tuesday 23 August.

VH-FIY arrived from Brisbane and later departed to Tennant Creek, while VH-SGQ arrived from Toowoomba and stayed for the night.  It departed to Brisbane on Wednesday 24 August.

Also visiting Longreach Airport on Wednesday 24 August were New South Wales based Beech 58 Baron VH-JML which arrived from Charleville, while New South Wales-based Rockwell 685 Commander VH-NJT departed Longreach for Blackall, Charleville, Dubbo and Bankstown.  VH-NJT looked to arrive at Longreach Airport on Monday 22 August.

Seen on the ground at Longreach Airport on Tuesday 23 August was Corporate Air / Vee H Aviation SAAB 340B VH-VEM, while Air Queensland Piper PA-31-350 VH-XLB was also noted visiting Longreach Airport on Tuesday 23 August.  It arrived from Mareeba and later departed to Roma and its Redcliffe base.

Of interest, VH-XLB is pictured above at Gladstone Airport on Sunday 21 August.  It had earlier arrived from Redcliffe and departed to Mackay and Townsville.

On Monday 22 August, Georgetown-based Piper PA-46-500TP Malibu VH-TPM arrived into Longreach Airport from Maungindi.  It later departed to Burketown and Groote Eylandt (Northern Territory).  And locally-based Air Central West Beech 58 Baron VH-TNR departed Longreach Airport for Kingaroy and Roma.

Finally, on Sunday 21 August, and for the second Sunday in-a-row, Hawker Beechcraft C90GTi King Air VH-JJU called into Longreach Airport while flying from Brisbane to its Cloncurry home.

Photos taken by 'AC' and Michael Fleetwood  ©

Some Photos from the Heli-biz Australia (Airlie Beach) Helicopter Safari to Cape York

Recently we received some wonderful photos as the annual Heli-biz Australia Helicopter Safari departed the Whitsunday Airport at Shute Harbour late last week.

This year the group of 30 people and their 11 helicopters are off to Cape York.

To check out more photos from the Safari to this very picturesque part of Australia, keep an eye on the Heli-biz Australia Facebook page -

Safe flying everyone :)

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Royal Australian Navy (RAN) Sikorsky MH-60R Seahawk 'Romeo' Helicopter at Mackay and Bundaberg Airports

A surprise visitor to both Mackay and Bundaberg Airports on Tuesday 23 August in the form of Royal Australian Navy (RAN) Sikorsky MH-60R Seahawk ‘Romeo’ naval combat helicopter N48-008 (Code 908) calling in while on a trip South.

Its exact movements are not known but it was heard using the radio callsign of "Tiger 08".

I believe this is the first time that one of the RAN's newer MH-60R Seahawk 'Romeo' naval combat helicopters have visited Central Queensland.  The MH-60R is the RAN's next generation submarine hunter and anti-surface warfare helicopter and will form a very important part of it's operations for years to come.

The MH-60R is equipped with a highly sophisticated combat systems designed to employ Hellfire air-to-surface missiles and the Mark 54 anti-submarine torpedo. The primary missions of the 'Romeo' helicopter is anti-submarine warfare and anti-surface warfare. Secondary missions include search and rescue, logistics support, personnel transport and medical evacuation.

The MH-60R and its mission systems will replace the fleet’s S-70B-2 Seahawk aircraft.

Monday, August 22, 2016

Preparations at Rockhampton Airport for the Singapore Armed Force's Exercise Wallaby 2016 - 3x Antonov AN-124s - Air New Zealand B787 Dreamliners

Preparations are beginning around Rockhampton Airport for the Singapore Armed Force's Exercise Wallaby 2016, which is scheduled to take place around the Shoalwater Bay Training Area (SWBTA) from Thursday 15 September to Monday 7 November.

As usual, there will be a significant deployment and redeployment of personnel and equipment taking place before, during and after the Exercise through Rockhampton Airport.  This will be highlighted by multiple visits by the giant Antonov AN-124 cargo jet with as many as three inbound flights already being rumoured to be touching down in the first few days of September.

There will also be several heavy jet passenger charter flights with information suggesting that these will be operated by Air New Zealand with Boeing B777-200 and Boeing B787-9 Dreamliner widebody twin-engine jets.

The highly anticipated first ever visit by the Air New Zealand Dreamliner aircraft to Rockhampton Airport will certainly be a highlight.

As we've reported previously, recently released AirServices Australia and Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) documents indicate that Exercise Wallaby 2016 will see the participation of Republic of Singapore Air Force (RSAF) McDonnell Douglas F-15SG Strike Eagle fighter jets.

During the Exercise, it is expected that participating aircraft - including the F-15SGs, as well as Lockheed C-130 Hercules transport aircraft and military helicopters including Boeing CH-47 Chinooks, Boeing AH-64D Apache and Aerospatiale / Eurocopter AS332M Super Puma helicopters - will operate from both Rockhampton Airport and from within the Exercise area.

Stay tuned to the Central Queensland Plane Spotting Blog Facebook Page or Twitter Feed for the latest news and movements associated with Exercise Wallaby 2016.

Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) Beech B350 Super King Airs Around CQ Airports Monday

Following a period out of the air, there were at least three Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) Beech B350 Super King Air turboprops noted flying around various parts of Central Queensland on Monday 22 August.

A32-437 at the Exercise Pitch Black 2016 open day at Darwin Airport

Early in the day A32-346 - flying as "Torch 41" - completed a missed approach at Mackay Airport while flying from Townsville to RAAF Base Amberley.

It was closely followed by A32-372 - flying as "Torch 42" which also flew from Townsville to Amberley by it flew directly not flying via a CQ Airport.

Later on Monday 22 August, A32-437 - flying as "Dingo 10" - was noted completed a missed approach at my local Clermont Aerodrome after flying South from Townsville.  It then flew towards Blackall, but reported extreme icing conditions saw it then fly direct to Longreach Airport where it landed.  After a period of time on the ground at Longreach, A32-437 then returned to Townsville.

UPDATE!  On Tuesday 23 August, A32-437 was again in the air as "Dingo 10" and was noted completing airwork at both Moranbah and Proserpine / Whitsunday Coast Airports while flying from and back to Townsvillle.

The RAAF Super King Air fleet have been progressively returning to service after the type was temporarily suspended from flying in late June due to a chemical contamination concern.  A Department of Defence statement said that “as measurement techniques and test equipment continually improve routine maintenance had detected strontium chromate inside the aircraft’s environmental control system".

Qld Gvt Hawker 850XP VH-SGY at Gladstone and Bundaberg Airports - Plus Police Citation VH-PSU at CQ Airports Again!

On Monday 22 August, the Queensland Government Raytheon Hawker 850XP bizjet VH-SGY looked to operate a training flight up to parts of Central Queensland from its Brisbane base.  It initially completed airwork around Gladstone Airport before heading South to Bundaberg Airport.

File photo

I'm not 100% sure it VH-SGY actually landed at either Gladstone or Bundaberg Airports but flight-tracking website suggests that if it did land, it was only for a very short time at both ports.

VH-SGY then returned to Brisbane from Bundaberg Airport.

Meanwhile, also on Monday 22 August, the Queensland Police Service (Airwing) Cessna 560 Citation Ultra bizjet VH-PSU was back at several Central Queensland Airports operating prisoner transfer flights.

It looked to call into Rockhampton Airport twice, along with Bundaberg Airport, while on a busy day of flying from and back to Cairns.

Photos taken by 'IAD'  ©

A Little Bit More Corporate and Bizjet Action at Hamilton Island Airport

Over the last couple of days there has been yet more corporate aircraft and bizjets coming and going at in the Whitsundays including Hamilton Island Airport.

Early on Monday 22 August, 4JS (of Cairns) / Flight Options (Australia) Cessna 510 Citation Mustang bizjet VH-SQW arrived into Hamilton Island from Mackay Airport.  It had arrived at Mackay Airport from Tamworth, Scone and the Gold Coast late on Sunday 21 August.

Robert Myers /

VH-SQW departed Hamilton Island for Roma Airport and then Sydney.

Also on Monday 22 August, Regional Air Piper PA-31-350 VH-RKD operated two return flights to Hamo from and back to its Mackay Airport base, while SOCATA TBM-850 VH-PVM arrived at Hamo from Bowen Airport.  It later departed directly to its Wagga Wagga (New South Wales) base.

A nice bizjet visitor back on the mainland also on Monday 22 August was Cessna 525A CitationJet2 VH-MOR which popped into the Whitsunday Airport at Shute Harbour.

Photo taken by Lee Holloway  ©

It arrived from and later departed back to its Archerfield base.  There are reports that it is due to return to Shute Harbour later in the week.

Meanwhile, early on Sunday 21 August, Sundyne (Execujet Australia) Cessna 650 Citation VII bizjet VH-SSZ called into Hamilton Island Airport from the Sunshine Coast.  It later departed to Sydney.

Also on Sunday 21 August, Brenzil Dassault Falcon 7X bizjet VH-CRW finally departed Hamo, returning to its Brisbane base.  It had arrived on Hamilton Island from Brisbane last Friday 12 August.

Late on Saturday 20 August, Marcplan Charter Gulfstream G-IV-X (G450) bizjet VH-MBP visited Hamilton Island Airport from parts unknown.  It looked to depart to the Gold Coast.

It's also worth noting that Balmoral Air Dassault Falcon 2000LX bizjet VH-WIO remains parked on Hamo after arriving into Hamo from Bankstown on Friday 19 August.

Meanwhile, the visiting Interair (based at Essendon) Beech B200 King Air VH-ITH departed Hamilton Island Airport for Moree and Bankstown on Saturday 20 August.  It had arrived the previous day and appears to be on a tour of some sore having departed Essendon a couple of weeks ago and calling into several places in the Northern Territory and Far North Queensland.

Sunday, August 21, 2016

An Update on the Virgin Australia Triangular Services Between Gladstone, Rockhampton, Mackay and Townsville Airports

We reported that during last week, Virgin Australia flight schedules indicated that they intended to fly 'triangular' services between Gladstone and Rockhampton Airports from and back to Brisbane, as well as Rockhampton and Mackay Airports also from and back to Brisbane.

It was interesting to note that these extra connections were NOT able to be purchased - for example - on a flight from Brisbane to Rockhampton via Gladstone, the Rockhampton to Gladstone leg was NOT able to be purchased as a flight.

Over the course of last week, we noted the following diversions:

On Monday 15 August Embraer E-190 VH-ZPT operated VOZ1231 BNE-GLT-ROK possibly due to the early VOZ1707/1710 BNE-GLT-BNE services being cancelled.

On Tuesday 16 August Embraer E-190 VH-ZPN operated VOZ621 BNE-ROK-MKY possibly due to the late VOZ1253 BNE-ROK service being cancelled.

On Wednesday 17 August Embraer E-190 VH-ZPI operated VOZ621 BNE-ROK-MKY.

On Thursday 18 August Embraer E-190 VH-ZPQ operated VOZ621 BNE-ROK-MKY possibly due to the late VOZ1253 BNE-ROK service again being cancelled.

On Friday 19 August Boeing B737-800 VH-VOS operated VOZ383 BNE-ROK-TSV possibly due to the late VOZ1253 BNE-ROK service being cancelled yet again.

On Saturday 20 August Embraer E-190 operated VOZ600 MKY-ROK-BNE possibly due to the early VOZ1230 ROK-BNE service being cancelled.

Finally, it was also interesting to note that also on Tuesday 16 August, a larger Boeing B737-800 VH-YFT operated the VOZ1709/1712 service into Gladstone Airport from and back to Brisbane, while, as pictured above, on Saturday 20 August, B737-800 VH-VUF also operated the VOZ1709/1712 service into Gladstone Airport from and back to Brisbane.

Let's see what happens again this week!

All photos taken by 'Mick'  ©

A Busy Week for Vanderfield Pilatus PC-12/47 VH-WPH Visiting Several CQ Airports This Week

We've written posts like this in previous times, and it is time for one again to highlight the busy week that the smart Vanderfield Pilatus PC-12/47 VH-WPH has had with it noted at several Central Queensland Airports over the last week or so.

VH-WPH at Mackay Airport on a previous visit  (File photo)

Starting last Sunday 14 August, VH-WPH called into Mackay, Emerald, Biloela / Thangool and Bundaberg Airports before returning to its Toowoomba base.  Then on Wednesday 17 August, VH-WPH again visited these ports again but in reverse order!

Now on Saturday 20 August, VH-WPH again visited Biloela / Thangool, Emerald, Mackay and Bundaberg Airports from its Toowoomba base before finishing the day at Gympie.

Finally, on Sunday 21 August, VH-WPH returned home to Toowoomba, departing Gympie and again visiting Mackay, Emerald, Biloela / Thangool and Bundaberg Airports.

An interesting week!

Photo taken by 'AC'  ©