Saturday, February 4, 2017

New Seair Pacific Aircraft Call into Lady Elliot Island and Fraser Coast Airports - Cessna 208 Caravan VH-LWA & BN-2 Islander VH-ZOU

Over the last few weeks it has been interesting to note the usual daily flights of 3-4 light aircraft in and out of Lady Elliot Island Airstrip - which are operated by Gold Coast-based Seair Pacific / Istlecote - have been highlighted by at least two new aircraft registrations.

During January I noted that Pilatus Britten-Norman BN2B-26 VH-ZOU has joined the Seair fleet.

VH-ZOU operating flights at Townsville Airport in 2013  (Photo taken by Dave  ©)

While last week, I noted that former West Australia-based Cessna 208 Caravan VH-LWA called into Bundaberg Airport while flying from the South-East corner of Queensland to Lady Elliot Island.

VH-LWA at Adelaide in October 2016  (Tony Haynes / https://www.flickr.com/)

These join the existing Seair Pacific / Istlecote fleet of Cessna 208 Caravan and DHC-6 Twin Otter aircraft which make the daily trek from the Gold Coast to Brisbane or Redcliffe and then onto Lady Elliot Island - often with a side trip in and out of Bundaberg or Hervey Bay (Fraser Coast) Airports.

VH-BVS at Bundaberg Airport in 2016  (Phototaken by Micah S  ©)

These aircraft also operate regular Fly-in Fly-out (FIFO) charter flights to Theodore several times a week plus weekly FIFO charter flights from the Fraser Coast region to Wanella Station near Coppabella.

Of interest, it was noted late in 2016 that Seair ha retired its last Britten-Norman BN2A Islander VH-RUT out of service.  It was noted arriving into Archerfield in late December reportedly for parting out and scrapping.

Meanwhile, it appears that fellow Islanders VH-MBF and VH-MBK were also removed from service with Seair Pacific but earlier in the year.

VH-RUT has had an interesting history since its arrival into Australia in the 1970's,  It has reportedly amassed approximately 14,000 hours and seen service with many operators over the years, right up and down the East coast of Australia and in Tasmania.  It's final colour scheme and titles reflect the work it has just completed with Seair Pacific, transferring guests to the Lady Elliot Island Resort.

VH-RUT at Hervey Bay Airport in 2015  (Photo taken by Brendan Berry  ©)

Most fascinating is where it possibly received its registration markings.  Among many of its arduous assignments, VH-RUT operated out of Pakenham in Victoria dropping skydivers in the middle of winter consistently sloshing around in the muddy 'ruts' which were a hallmark of this airfield!

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