Friday, June 23, 2017

Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) Boeing C-17A Globemaster III A41-210 Pops into Rockhampton Airport

On Friday 23 June, Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) Boeing C-17A Globemaster III A41-210 arrived into Rockhampton Airport touching down from RAAF Base Amberley as "Stallion 32".


It looked to unload some cargo loading equipment which no doubt suggests that more military transport aircraft are expected into Rockhampton Airport in the days before/after and during the upcoming Military Exercise Talisman Sabre 2017 (TS17).





After a short period of the time on the ground, A41-210 departed Rockhampton Airport and returned to Amberley.









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Then, just before this post was written, later on Friday 23 June, fellow RAAF C-17A Globemaster III A41-212 touched down at Rockhampton Airport also from Amberley - interestingly it was heard to use the same radio callsign of "Stallion 32".


After unloading more equipment and other cargo, A41-212 returned to Amberley.

Stay tuned to the CQ Plane Spotting Blog for all the latest news and aircraft and helicopter movements associated with Exercise Talisman Sabre 2017 (TS17).  

Exercise Talisman Sabre is a major Australian and United States military training exercise focused on the planning and conduct of mid-intensity “high end” warfighting. 2017 will be the seventh time the Exercise has been conducted and will involve over 30,000 Australian and US defence personnel.

TS17 will incorporate force preparation activities, Special Forces activities, amphibious landings, parachuting, land force manoeuvre, urban operations, air operations, maritime operations and the coordinated firing of live ammunition and explosive ordnance from small arms, artillery, naval vessels and aircraft.

TS17 is scheduled to take place from late June through to late July 2017. Exercise activities in Shoalwater Bay Training Area will commence from early July.

The Rockhampton Regional Council has also this week announced that the Exercise Talisman Sabre 2017 Open Day will be held on Saturday 8 July at the Rockhampton Showgrounds.  See more about the Open Day here:  https://tinyurl.com/y8xn3dhv

Sincere thanks to local plane spotters Daniel B and Scott H for taking the time to capture and send through these great photos!

Photos and video taken by Scott Harris and Daniel Bishop  ©

Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) B737 Wedgetail A30-001 Missed Approach at Bundaberg Airport

On Friday 23 June, Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) Boeing B737-7ES / E-7A Wedgetail Airborne Early Warning & Control (AEW&C) aircraft A30-001 "Mitchel 13" was noted completing a missed approach at Bundaberg Airport.

A30-001 completes a missed approach at Rockhampton  (File photo)

It seemed to fly up from the South and was seen completing a missed approach at Bundaberg Airport before it was believed to have returned to the South.

Photo taken by 'IAD'  ©

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Trump Aviation / Australian Corporate Jet Centres Cessna 560 Citation Ultra Bizjet VH-WFE Arrives at Biloela / Thangool Airport

On Thursday 22 June, Trump Aviation / Australian Corporate Jet Centres Cessna 560 Citation Ultra VH-WFE was noted arriving into Biloela / Thangool Airport.

VH-WFE at Rockhampton Airport  (File photo)

The sleek little Citation touched down from Bendigo in Victoria.

It looked to position across from Melbourne (Essendon) late on the previous day.

At the time of writing, it appears that VH-WFE will be staying in Bilo overnight and return to Bendigo and the Essendon on Friday 23 June.

Photo taken by 'IAD'  ©

Australian Army NH Industries MRH-90 Multi-Role Helicopter A40-014 Pops into Rockhampton Airport as "Destrier 11"

On Thursday 22 June,  Australian Army NH Industries MRH-90 Multi-Role Helicopter A40-014 was spotted departing Rockhampton Airport.  It looked to arrive from the North a little earlier and was heard to use the radio callsign of "Destrier 11".



A40-014 was captured as it departed Rocky heading to Townsville.

As mentioned below, on Tuesday 20 June, another MRH-90 was noted passing through Rockhampton Airport heading to Brisbane also as "Destrier 11" - we suspected that to be A40-011 but given A40-014 was using the same callsign, we are now a little unsure!

Meanwhile, during the late afternoon also on Thursday 22 June, another Australian Army MRH-90 was noted passing through Rockhampton Airport.  "Destrier 21" heard to touch down at Rocky from the North and after a short time on the ground it departed to Townsville via the Shoalwater Bay Training Area (SWBTA).  This MRH-90 could've been A40-021 but this is not confirmed.

Thanks to local plane spotter Kayanne H for taking the time to capture and send through these great photos!

All photos taken by Kayanne Hardsman  ©

Queensland Government (QGAir) Rescue Bell 412 Helicopter VH-ESD Flys South via Mackay and Gladstone Airports

On Thursday 22 June, Queensland Government (QGAir) Rescue Bell 412 helicopter VH-ESD was noted flying South from its Townsville base to Archerfield via Mackay and Gladstone Airports.

https://www.facebook.com/rescue521queensland/

Sistership and fellow Bell 412EP VH-ESB continues operate as "Rescue 521" on med-evac duties out of Townsville Airport.

As mentioned below, QGAir Rescue (State of Queensland) Agusta AW139 helicopter VH-ESH spent a few days operating out of Townsville Airport in what looked to be a 'fill-in' type roll as both Bells were out-of-service.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Australian Army Tiger ARH Helicopter Spotted at Longreach Airport

On Wednesday 21 June, an unidentified Australian Army Eurocopter (ARH) Tiger Armed Reconnaissance Helicopter was spotted (below) arriving at Longreach Airport.


At the time of writing, we are unaware of the serial number or callsign.

However, later on Wednesday 21 June, another Australian Army Tiger ARH helicopter - possibly the same one - was heard to make an emergency landing at Trepell (McKinlay) Airport - a private airfield operated by BHP Minerals Pty Ltd - located South East of Mount Isa - reportedly with gearbox problems.

Photo taken by 'AC'  ©

Corporate Aviation Bell 429 Helicopter VH-EQP at Gladstone and Hamilton Island Airports

On Wednesday 21 June, Corporate Aviation Bell 429 Helicopter VH-EQP was back in Central Queensland heading North from its Southport base to Hamilton Island via Gladstone Airport.

File photo

It looks to be staying for at least the night.

Meanwhile, after arriving at Hamilton Island Airport two days prior, on Wednesday 21 June, Malaysian-based American-registered Cirrus SR22-G3 N238JG was noted departing Hamilton Island Airport for Hughenden, Mount Isa, Alice Springs and Ayres Rock.

Photo taken by Col  ©

Cessna 525A CitationJet2 Bizjet VH-MOR Visits Hervey Bay and Theodore Airports

On Wednesday 21 June, Brisbane-based Cessna 525A CitationJet2 bizjet VH-MOR was noted arriving into Hervey Bay (Fraser Coast) Airport from its Archerfield base.  After about 30 minutes on the ground, it then departed to the Gold Coast.

File photo

Then, a little later on Wednesday 21 June, VH-MOR departed the Gold Coast for Brisbane before it headed to Theodore Airport.

VH-MOR looks to be spending the night at Theodore and is scheduled to depart back to Brisbane and then Archerfield early on Thursday 22 June.

Queensland Government Hawker 850XP Bizjet VH-SGY Pops into Various CQ Airports This Week

On Tuesday 20 June, the Queensland Government Raytheon Hawker 850XP bizjet VH-SGY was noted arriving into Maryborough Airport.  It touched down from Cairns and Townsville.

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After staying for the night, on Wednesday 21 June, VH-SGY made a pre-dawn departure from Maryborough Airport for Bundaberg.

After a couple of hours on the ground, VH-SGY then departed Bundy for Mackay Airport.  It then flew South to Rockhampton Airport where it looked to be spending the night.

At the time of writing, VH-SGY is scheduled to make a mid-morning departure from Rocky for Gladstone Airport on Thursday 22 June.  It will then return to Brisbane.

Of interest, also on Wednesday 21 June, the Queensland Government (State of Queensland) Raytheon B300 Super King Air VH-SGQ also visited Rockhampton Airport.  It arrived from and later departed back to Brisbane.

Photo taken by 'IAD'  ©

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Mackellar Mining Equipment / Flight Options (Australia) Cessna 560 Citation Ultra Bizjet VH-MMC Pops into Biloela / Thangool Airport

On Tuesday 20 June, Mackellar Mining Equipment / Flight Options (Australia) Cessna 560 Citation Ultra bizjet VH-MMC was noted visiting Biloela / Thangool Airport.

File photo

It arrived from and later departed back to its Sunshine Coast base.

Photo taken by 'AC'  ©

Australian Army MRH-90 Multi-Role Helicopter A40-011 Pops into Rockhampton Airport

On Tuesday 20 June, Australian Army NH Industries MRH-90 Multi-Role Helicopter A40-011 was noted arriving into Rockhampton Airport as "Destrier 11".

File photo

It looked to arrive from the North and later depart to Brisbane.

Photo taken by Kayanne Hardsman  ©

Monday, June 19, 2017

Queensland Police Service (Airwing) Aircraft Call into Mackay Airport

The funeral of Mackay police officer Sergeant Brendan Poustie was held in Mackay on Monday 19 June and as a result, several higher-ranking officers who attended the funeral arrived into Mackay Airport on board a pair of Queensland Police Service (Airwing) aircraft.

File photo

Cessna 560 Citation Ultra bizjet VH-PSU touched down at Mackay Airport from Brisbane.  It later departed to Aurukun and then Cairns where it was to remain overnight.  On Tuesday 20 June, VH-PSU was scheduled to depart Cairns for Gladstone Airport and then Brisbane.

Cessna 208 Caravan VH-PSY also touched down at Mackay Airport, arriving from Mount Isa and Hughenden.  It looked to be staying for the night at Mackay Airport and was scheduled to return to Hughenden and then Mount Isa on Tuesday 20 June.

Meanwhile, also on Monday 19 June, the Queensland Police Service (Airwing) Raytheon B1900D VH-PSK also called into Mackay Airport during a busy day of flying from and back to Cairns which saw it also call into Bundaberg Airport.

Of interest, the Queensland Government (State of Queensland) Raytheon B300 Super King Air VH-SGQ was also noted flying into CQ on Monday 19 June.  It visited Proserpine (Whitsunday Coast) Airport from Brisbane.

VH-SGQ was also noted visiting Hervey Bay (Fraser Coast) Airport on Friday 16 June.

Malaysian-based American-registered Cirrus SR22-G3 N238JG Back in CQ Arriving at Hamilton Island Airport

On Monday 19 June, Malaysian-based American-registered Cirrus SR22-G3 N238JG was noted back in Central Queensland touching down at Hamilton Island Airport.  It arrived directly from the Gold Coast.

N238JG at Emerald Airport in April  (File photo)

N238JG had arrived on the Gold Coast from Emerald Airport back on Thursday 27 April after earlier arriving into Australia from overseas via Darwin via Burketown - see our Blog Post HERE.

At the time, the Cirrus was reportedly being ferried to Australia to allow its owner to use it while they are on a holiday in our great country.  It is usually based in Malaysia and wears an American registration belonging to Hallin Aviation Inc. of Delaware (USA).

UPDATE!  On Wednesday 21 June, N238JG departed Hamilton Island Airport for Hughenden, Mount Isa, Alice Springs and Ayres Rock.

Photo taken by 'AC'  ©

Cirrus (Australia) Cessna 510 Citation Mustang Bizjet VH-SQY Pops into Longreach Airport - Plus More!

Noted popping into Longreach Airport on Monday 19 June was Cirrus (Australia) (ex Singapore Flying College) Cessna 510 Citation Mustang bizjet VH-SQY.  It touched down from its Wagga Wagga (New South Wales) base and later departed to Burketown.

https://www.facebook.com/wagga.airport/

It appears from the Wagga Air Centre Facebook page that VH-SQY is on a closed charter around Australia so it will be interesting to see where it pops up next!

UPDATE!  VH-SQY continued from Burketown to Kununurra (Western Australia) on Tuesday 20 June.

Meanwhile, another Cessna Citation bizjet has popped into parts of CQ on Monday 19 June with the familiar sight of Avcair (Earth Commodities) Cessna 550 Citation Bravo VH-CCJ flying into Gladstone Airport from its Brisbane base before it made its way further North to Mackay Airport where it appears to be staying for the night.

UPDATE!  On Tuesday 20 June, VH-CCJ departed Mackay Airport for Gladstone and then Bundaberg before it returned to Brisbane.

Finally, also on Monday 19 June, a nice corporate turboprop in the form of Pilatus PC-12/45 VH-PID flew into Rockhampton Airport from its Toowoomba base.

UPDATE!  On Wednesday 21 June, VH-PID departed Rockhampton for Hervey Bay (Fraser Coast) Airport before it later returned to its Toowoomba base.

Photo taken by Ben May  ©

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Jetstar Airways A320 VH-VFY with 'Bio Island' Stickers Makes First Visit to CQ at Mackay Airport Saturday

Late on Saturday 17 June, Jetstar Airways Airbus A320(SL) VH-VFY called into Mackay Airport while operating the JST888 scheduled service from Brisbane.  It is the first visit of this aircraft since stickers promoting nutritional supplements and health foods brand 'Bio Island' were added to the aircraft.


It appears that the 'Bio Island' stickers were applied earlier in June.

Bio Island has been dedicated to providing families with nutritional supplements and health foods.  You can find out more on their website:  http://www.bioisland.com.au/  .

VH-VFY returned to Brisbane a little later in the evening as JST889.

Meanwhile, also on Saturday 17 June, Jetstar Airways Airbus A320(SL) VH-VFU - which has also recently been adorned in promotional stickers - was also noted visiting Central Queensland, making two visits to Proserpine (Whitsunday Coast) Airport.  It initially flew into Prosie from Sydney as JST840 before departing to Brisbane as JST837.  VH-VFU then returned to Proserpine as JST836 before departing back to Sydney as JST841.

File photo

VH-VFU wears stickers promoting Choice Hotels new travel blog 'Needabreak.com'.

Sincere thanks to Brisbane plane spotter Simon C for allowing us to share his great photo of VH-VFY arriving into Brisbane Airport on Sunday 18 June.

All photos taken by Simon Coates  ©

Heli Niugini Bell 407 Helicopter P2-HBW Passes Through Central Queensland Airports – AGAIN!

On Sunday 18 June, Heli Niugini Bell 407 helicopter P2-HBW was noted ferrying through Central Queensland, heading back North from the Gold Coast.  It had originally ferried South from Papua New Guinea (PNG) through CQ back in January – see Blog Post HERE.

P2-HBW arrives into Rockhampton Airport in January  (File photo)

On Sunday, P2-HBW called into Hervey Bay (Fraser Coast) Airport along with Rockhampton and Mackay Airports before finishing the day at Townsville.  On Monday 19 June, P2-HBW is scheduled to continue to Cairns and point North before returning to PNG.

Photo taken by 'IAD'  ©

Final Virgin Australia Flight to Touch Down at Rockhampton Airport Sunday - Alliance Airlines Fokkers from Monday!

From Sunday 18 June, local plane spotters will no longer see Virgin Australia coloured aircraft landing at Rockhampton Airport as it appears that the airline has brought forward plans to operate wet-leased Alliance Airlines Fokker F-70 and F-100 jets into the beef capital.

File photo

File photo

It was originally thought (certainly by me) that the airline would only be ceasing flying the ATR 72 turboprop aircraft on their regional Queensland services from July, however the Virgin Australia website suggests that from Monday 19 June, all flights to and from Rockhampton Airport will be operated by Alliance Airlines.


Alliance Airlines Fokker F-100 jet VH-FKJ is currently scheduled to arrive into Rockhampton Airport late on Sunday 18 June on the scheduled VOZ1251 service from Brisbane and remain overnight before returning to the capital early on Monday 19 June as VOZ1230.

VH-FKJ at Rockhampton Airport  (File photo)

The final Virgin Australia aircraft to call into Rockhampton Airport appears to be Boeing B737-800 VH-YFU which is scheduled to operate the VOZ1249/1252 scheduled service from and back to Brisbane on Sunday 18 June.  The final Virgin Australia turboprop flight into Rockhampton Airport will be operated by ATR 72-500 VH-FVU on the VOZ1245/1248 scheduled service from and back to Brisbane also on Sunday 18 June.

VH-YFU  (File photo)

VH-FVU  (File photo)

It has been reported previously that these changes to regional Queensland services have been brought about by Virgin Australia wanting to consolidate its turboprop operations to routes within the ACT, New South Wales and Victoria as it prepares to reduce the number of ATRs in the fleet from 14 to six.  As a result, the airline would end ATR 72 turboprop operations in Queensland.

It has also been reported that all six ATR 72-500s - VH-FVH, VH-FVI, VH-FVL, VH-FVM, VH-FVU and VH-FVX - along with two ATR 72-600s - would be withdrawn from service.  I'm told that VH-FVH could be leaving Australia as early as this week!

VH-FVH operating the first ever Virgin Australia flight to Emerald Airport in 2012  (File photo)

Virgin Australia was reportedly going to withdraw ATR 72 services from Brisbane to Central Queensland destinations including Moranbah, Gladstone, Bundaberg and Rockhampton, as well as to Port Macquarie in New South Wales from July.  ATR 72 services were withdrawn from Emerald Airport in 2016.

The downturn in the resources sector has led to a a drop in demand on a number of these Central Queensland regional routes.

The decision to reduce Virgin’s ATR fleet, as well as its Embraer E-190 regional jet fleet, was first announced in June 2016.

Photos taken by 'IAD'  ©

A Couple of Lighties Also Spotted at Gladstone Airport Over the Weekend

While he was at Gladstone Airport on Saturday 17 June, local plane spotter Michael F captured a couple of photos of two of the many visiting and locally-based light General Aviation (GA) aircraft to pop in and out of the port city over the weekend.

Royal Flying Doctor Service (RFDS) Hawker Beechcraft B200 VH-FDM "FlyDoc478" was spotted parked waiting for its next mission.  It had earlier arrived from Biloela / Thangool Airport and later departed to Bundaberg Airport where it seems to be currently based.


Old Station (at Raglan) based Cessna 182D VH-RDQ was also spotted as it arrived into Gladstone Airport.


Meanwhile, also noted visiting Gladstone Airport also on Saturday 17 June was Air Queensland Piper PA-31-350 Navajo Chieftain VH-XLB which visited from its Redcliffe base.

File photo

UPDATE!  On Monday 19 June, VH-XLB was back in CQ flying into Mackay Airport from Redcliffe.  It later departed to Cairns.

UPDATE!  On Tuesday 20 June, VH-XLB returned to Redcliffe from Cairns, this time calling into Gladstone Airport.

Finally, Brisbane-based Partenavia P.68B VH-IYF was also noted visiting Gladstone Airport on Saturday 17 June also arriving from its Redcliffe base and later departing to Townsville.  

File photo

Then on Sunday 18 June, it returned to Gladstone Airport while returning to Redcliffe from Townsville.

Sincere thanks to Michael for taking the time to capture and send through these great photos!

All photos taken by Michael Fleetwood  ©

RAAF Boeing B737-7DF(BBJ) A36-002 Returns South via Mackay and Gladstone Airports on Saturday

Yet again as expected, on Saturday 17 June, Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) Boeing B737-7DF(BBJ) A36-002 continued what looked to be yet another training flight, returning South from Townsville Airport towards Canberra.  It ventured North on the previous day and again was heard to be flying as "Envoy 61".


A36-002 was initially noted arriving into Mackay Airport for a short time.  From Mackay Airport, A36-002 continued further South to Gladstone Airport where local plane spotter Michael F was on hand to capture a couple of photos as it parked up for a short time.


Eventually, A36-002 departed Gladstone Airport and headed South bound for the Gold Coast.  It then departed and headed further South.

Sincere thanks to Michael for taking the time to capture and send through these great photos of a great visitor to Gladstone Airport!

All photos taken by Michael Fleetwood  ©

New Cessna 208B Grand Caravan VH-XLF Ferries into Bowen Airport for Sky Diving Operations

An interesting arrival noted touching down at Bowen Airport on Saturday 17 June was newly registered Cessna 208B Grand Caravan VH-XLF.  It flew into Bowen directly from Bankstown.

It appears that VH-XLF immediately commenced parachuting operations with the locally-based Airlie Beach Skydivers.

https://www.facebook.com/1300SkydiveAirlieBeach/

Airlie Beach Skydivers (WEBSITE HERE) has an office in Airlie Beach and busses thrill-seekers to Bowen to board their aircraft before jumping out over the beautiful Whitsundays including beach landings!

The company also appears to utilise fellow Cessna 208 Caravan VH-FYC for parachuting operations out of Bowen Airport, along with smaller Cessna 182s VH-COF and VH-RYZ, which appear to operate on a more permanent basis.

Of interest, Cessna 208B VH-XLF was only registered in May this year after arriving into Australia via the Gold Coast and Bankstown in February wearing the American registration marking of N208TL.

UPDATE!  On Tuesday 20 June, VH-XLF departed Bowen for Innisfail.

UPDATE!  On Thursday 22 June, VH-XLF continued North to Cairns.

Saturday, June 17, 2017

Royal New Zealand Air Force (RNZAF) Lockheed C-130H Hercules NZ7005 Touches Down at Rockhampton Airport

Perhaps the first overseas visitor to Central Queensland in association with the forthcoming joint-Military Exercise Talisman Saber 2017 (TS17) touched down at Rockhampton Airport on Saturday 17 June with Royal New Zealand Air Force (RNZAF) Lockheed C-130H Hercules NZ7005 flying in from RNZAF Base Ohakea as "Kiwi 080".






The Herc looked to have brought personnel and equipment from Ohakea - an operational base of the Royal New Zealand Air Force near Palmerston North - to Rocky in support of the New Zealand Defence Force's (NZDF) participation in this year's Exercise.




The RNZAF No.40 Squadron currently operates five Lockheed C-130H Hercules transport aircraft, taking delivery of the first three (NZ7001, NZ7002 & NZ7003) in 1965, followed by a further two (NZ7004 & NZ7005) in 1969.  The aircraft have undergone a modernisation and structural improvement programme to ensure that they last until 2025.





It remains parked on the Southern end of the Rockhampton Airport apron and is expected to depart some time in the morning on Sunday 18 June.

Of interest, it is believed that the Royal New Zealand Navy multi-role vessel, HMNZS Canterbury has docked at Gladstone also on Saturday 17 June.  During the previous Exercise Talisman Sabre in 2015, a pair of Royal New Zealand Air Force (RNZAF) NH90 helicopters were ferried across from New Zealand on board the ship and were based at Rockhampton Airport during a large part of the Exercise.

It will be interesting to see what eventuates in the coming days as preparations for the Exercise ramp up.  New Zealand will again participate in TS17 alongside other countries including Australia, Japan and the United States of America.  TS17 is scheduled to take place from late June through to late July with Exercise activities taking place in the Shoalwater Bay Training Area (SWBTA) from early July.


Sincere thanks once again to local plane spotter 'IAD' for the taking the time to capture and send through these great photos of these great visitors to Rockhampton Airport!

All photos taken by 'IAD'  ©