Saturday, February 18, 2017

Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) Lockheed AP-3C Orion A9-659 at Longreach Airport

On Saturday 18 February, Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) Lockheed AP-3C Orion A9-659 was noted completing airwork at Longreach Airport.  It possibly flew North from RAAF Base Edinburgh in South Australia and was heard to be using the radio callsign "Striker 06".



The "Striker" callsign suggests that it was from 10 Squadron which is based at Edinburgh.

A9-659 continued on to Townsville where local plane spotter Leroy captured these great images above as it was on final approach.

A9-659 was then believed to have departed Townsville for Darwin.

Of interest, also on Saturday 18 February, fellow RAAF Lockheed AP-3C Orion A9-660 which was flying as "Striker 60" was also noted arriving into Townsville from the South but is not believed to have completed airwork while on the way!

All photos taken by Leroy  ©

Friday, February 17, 2017

Deer Jet (China) Gulfstream Aerospace G-V-SP (G550) Bizjet B-8108 Arrives at Hamilton Island Airport

Early on Friday 17 February, Deer Jet (China) Gulfstream Aerospace G-V-SP (G550) bizjet B-8108 arrived into Hamilton Island Airport from Cairns.

Ryan Hales / http://flightaware.com/

It arrived into Cairns earlier in the morning after completing a nearly nine-hour flight from Honolulu, Hawaii.

B-8108 remains parked on Hamo.

Nauru Airlines Boeing B737-300 VH-XNU Federal Government Charter Flight into Gladstone Airport

Making a surprise but most welcome arrival into Gladstone Airport after dark on Thursday 16 February was Nauru Airlines Boeing B737-300 VH-XNU.  It arrived from Brisbane as RON900.



VH-XNU was parked at Gladstone Airport for all of Friday 17 February and finally departed for Darwin long after the sun had set, again flying as RON900.








It is believed that VH-XNU was chartered by the Australian Federal Government to transfer to Darwin 29 illegal Vietnamese fisherman that were intercepted off the coast of Gladstone during this last week.

Nauru Airlines (the trading name of Nauru Air Corporation) and formerly known as 'Our Airline' and 'Air Nauru', is the national airline of the Republic of Nauru.  It currently operates scheduled international services from Nauru to other Pacific Islands and Australia.  Nauru Airlines also operates various charter flights to locations in Australia, Asia, New Zealand, South and Central Pacific.

As Our Airline, the bright and colourful Boeing B737s were a common sight especially at Gladstone Airport during the recent resources boom with the airline operating regular Fly-in Fly-out (FIFO) charter flights from and back to Brisbane.

Presently, Nauru Airlines operates a fleet of six Boeing 737-300 aircraft, each configured in a 130-seat / 2-class layout that service Brisbane (Australia), Majuro (Marshall Islands), Nadi (Fiji), Nauru (Nauru) and Tarawa (Kiribati). A lone Boeing 737-300F is also operated.

Sincere thanks to the local plane spotters for taking the time to capture and send through these great photos of a great visitor to the Port City!

Photos taken by Michael Fleetwood and 'Mick'  ©

Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) Airbus A330-203 / KC-30A (MRTT) A39-004 Calls into Rockhampton Airport Thursday

Late on Thursday 16 February, Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) Airbus A330-203 / KC-30A (MRTT) A39-004 touched down at Rockhampton Airport.


The KC-30 made a rare landing at Rocky after flying North from RAAF Base Amberley via a period of airwork out-to-sea off Brisbane.










A39-004 was heard to be using the radio callsign of "Dragon 07".

After taxiing back to the end of the runway, A39-004 made a spectacular departure back to Amberley - be sure to turn up the sound on the video!

video

Sincere thanks to local plane spotters Trevor H and Kayanne H for taking the time to capture and send through these great photos and video!

Photos and video taken by Trevor Hardsman and Kayanne Hardsman  ©

Thursday, February 16, 2017

New Zealand Registered Kawasaki BK117 B-2 Helicopter ZK-HCX Pops into Rockhampton Airport

On Thursday 16 February, Oceania Aviation (New Zealand) Kawasaki BK117 B-2 helicopter ZK-HCX was spotted arriving into Rockhampton Airport from Bundaberg.



Acording to the fantastic MRC Aviation Blog in New Zealand, ZK-HCX was noted at the Ports of Auckland last Tuesday 7 February in preparation for shipping to Brisbane.  From Brisbane, ZK-HCX is believed to be ferrying North through Queensland to an operator in Papua New Guinea (PNG).






ZK-HCX looked to be staying for the night at Rockhampton Airport and on Friday 17 February, it was planned to continue to Cairns, and then presumably ports further North after that.

Another familiar chopper that was spotted also at Rockhampton Airport on Thursday 16 February was Bell 407 VH-CMI which is based at the Whitsunday Airport at Shute Harbour (WAVE).


Sincere thanks to local plane spotters Trevor H and Kayanne H for taking the time to capture and send through these great photos!

Photos taken by Trevor Hardsman and Kayanne Hardsman  ©

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Aerorescue (AMSA) (Cobham Aviation) Challenger Bizjet VH-XND "Rescue 660" Also at Bundaberg Airport

Another bizjet visitor into Bundaberg Airport later on Wednesday 15 February was Aerorescue (AMSA - Australian Maritime Safety Authority) Cobham Aviation-operated Bombardier Challenger CL-600-2B16 VH-XND.


It originally was on a what appeared to be a planned flight from its Cairns base to Rockhampton Airport, however when it was abeam Mackay, the Challenger was tasked to search for a beacon search near to Bundaberg.

VH-XND was then heard to change and use the radio callsign of "Rescue 660" as it continued South and initially searched around Monduran Airport before expanding the search from there. After nearly two hours, VH-XND reverted back to using its registration as its radio callsign and it flew out over the water to possibly continue its originally planned flight.

VH-XND then landed at Bundaberg Airport for fuel before it later returned to Cairns.

File photo taken by Kayanne Hardsman  ©

Falconair Dassault Aviation Mystere-Falcon 20-F5 Bizjet VH-FAI Spotted at Bundaberg Airport

A nice day of plane spotting at Bundaberg Airport on Wednesday 15 February with local plane spotter Micah S capturing some great photos of Falconair Dassault Aviation Mystere-Falcon 20-F5 bizjet VH-FAI.


The smart little bizjet arrived from its Sydney base.







After some time on the ground, VH-FAI departed to the Gold Coast.

While he was there, Micah also photographed Surveillance Australia / Australian Border Force (ABF) Cobham Aviation-operated Dash-8-200 VH-ZZP.  Its exact movements are not known.



Micah also captured Bell 206B (II) VH-JAQ of Stirling Helicopters (Stirling Consolidated) of Theodore as it landed at Bundaberg Airport.



Finally, its worth noting that the smart little Vanderfield Pilatus PC-12/47 VH-WPH also visited Bundaberg Airport on Wednesday 15 February.  It arrived from its Toowoomba base and later departed to Emerald.

Sincere thanks to Micah for taking the time to capture and send through these great photos of a great bizjet to visit!

All photos taken by Micah S  ©

First Photos of RAAF Boeing P-8A Poseidon Maritime Surveillance Aircraft A47-001 in CQ - Airwork at Rockhampton Airport

On Wednesday 15 February, Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) Boeing P-8A Poseidon Maritime Surveillance Aircraft A47-001 was photographed for the first time in Central Queensland, completing a missed approach at Rockhampton Airport.






The RAAF's first P-8A Poseidon aircraft flew up from RAAF Base Amberley and completed the missed approach as Rocky before heading out to sea where it was believed to have completed "military operations" alongside a Surveillance Australia / Australian Border Force (ABF) Dash-8.  It eventually returned to Amberley to complete more airwork before heading 'home' to its RAAF Base Edinburgh.

It was the Poseidon's second visit to CQ this week - see Blog post below - and on this occasion A47-001 was heard to be using the radio callsign of "Blackcat 13".

Finally, it's also worth mentioning that in-between the excitement of the Poseidon's first visit to CQ, RAAF Beech B350 Super King Air A32-651 was noted completing airwork also at Rockhampton Airport but on Monday 13 February.  It flew South from Townsville and continued to the Sunshine Coast.  It was heard to be using the radio callsign of "Dingo 20".

Sincere thanks to local plane spotter Kayanne H for taking the time to capture and send through these great photos of a great first time visitor to CQ!

All photos taken by Kayanne Hardsman  ©

Monday, February 13, 2017

First RAAF Boeing P-8A Poseidon Maritime Surveillance Aircraft Completes Airwork at Hamilton Island Airport

On Monday 13 February, Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) Boeing P-8A Poseidon Maritime Surveillance Aircraft A47-001 was noted completing a missed approach at Hamilton Island Airport.


The RAAF's first P-8A Poseidon aircraft is pictured arriving into Townsville after completing a flight North from RAAF Base Edinburgh via airwork at Tamworth, the Gold Coast and eventually Hamo.  After a short time on the ground at Townsville, it returned South to RAAF Base Amberley.


A47-001 was heard to be using the radio callsign of "Blackcat 11".

The P-8A is a fundamental element of Australia’s future maritime patrol and response strategy. Together with the MQ-4C Triton Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS), the P-8A aircraft will replace the RAAF's Lockheed AP-3C Orions which are due for withdrawal in 2018-19.

The P-8A Poseidon uses advanced sensors and mission systems, including an advanced multi-role radar, high definition cameras, and an acoustic system with four times the processing capacity of the current AP-3C Orions.

The Government has committed to acquiring a total of 15 P-8A Poseidon aircraft. 12  P-8A Maritime Patrol Aircraft have been approved for acquisition with an additional three aircraft subject to normal Government Defence acquisition approval processes, including the timeframe for delivery.

The first aircraft arrived in Canberra in November 2016, with the remaining 11 aircraft to be delivered by March 2020. Initial Operational Capability (IOC) for the first eight P-8A's is scheduled for the period 2017 - 2020.

Sincere thanks to Townsville plane spotter Leroy for allowing us to share his great photos of this great visitor to Queensland!

All photos taken by Leroy  ©

RAAF Search and Rescue (CHC Helicopters) Sikorsky S-76A VH-LHZ at Gladstone and Mackay Airports

On Monday 13 February, Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) Search and Rescue (SAR) Sikorsky S-76A helicopter VH-LHZ was noted calling into Gladstone Airport from RAAF Base Amberley.  It later departed to Mackay Airport where it took on fuel before continuing to Townsville.

File photo

VH-LHZ - which was heard to be flying as "Choppa 9" - was believed to be flying North to Townsville where it will provide support to elements of the United States Air Force (USAF) that will be participating in a wide range of general flying and tactical exercises in the Townsville Field Training Area (TFTA) over the next week or so.

Of interest, VH-LHZ is owned by Lloyd Helicopters and operated by CHC Helicopters Australia, and is one of a number of choppers used for RAAF Search and Rescue jobs.

UPDATE!  On Tuesday 14 February, three Lockheed Martin F-22A Raptor fighter aircraft of the United States Air Force's 90th Fighter Squadron (90 FS) "The Dicemen" based at Elmendorf in Alaska were noted arriving into Townsville from RAAF Base Tindal.


They were supported by a USAF Boeing C-17A Globemaster III 98-0051 which also flew from Tindal, along with a USAF Boeing KC-135R Stratotanker 63-8018 which flew from Darwin.



The USAF aircraft deployed to the 'top end' had arrived into Australia last week.

Photos taken by David Geck and Leroy  ©