Friday, June 30, 2017

Exercise Talisman Saber 2017 - Many Photos and Video as US Army Apache and Blackhawk Helicopters Fly Through CQ Airports to Townsville

What a day!  What a sight!  As we mentioned on our Facebook page, earlier in the week, 13 helicopters of the United States Army (US Army) arrived on and were subsequently unloaded from a ship at Gladstone Port.


It is believed that during the previous couple of days, rotor blades were re-attached and test flights were conducted in preparation for them to position to Townsville where it is believed they will complete pre-exercise training with Australian and other US military assets.

On Friday 30 June, all 13 choppers departed to the Gladstone Port for Townsville in two flights.

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The first flight departed mid-morning and consisted of four Boeing AH-64 Apache and two Sikorsky UH-60 Blackhawk helicopters.  They flew from Gladstone to overhead Rockhampton before they continued and landed at Mackay Airport.  The flight of six choppers were heard to use the radio callsign of "Pegasus".






Around an hour later, the second flight departed and consisted of the seven remaining Sikorsky UH-60 Blackhawk helicopters.  They flew in a spectacular formation direct to Rockhampton where they landed for and refuelled at Rockhampton Airport.


The seven Blackhawks were heard to use radio callsign of "Stampede" and landed in two groups - of four then three.










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All seven Blackhawks then departed Rocky in formation and also headed for Mackay Airport where they landed and joined the first flight of six choppers on the ground on the Western General Aviation Apron - what sure would have been a spectacular sight of all 13 choppers back on the ground at once!

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All 13 US Army helicopters then departed and continued to Townsville.  Local photographer Ian H captured some of the choppers arriving into North Queensland.




















I believe the four Boeing AH-64 Apache helicopters are of the Air Cavalry Reconnaissance Squadron (2nd Squadron) of the 25th Infantry Division Combat Aviation Brigade, stationed at Wheeler Army Airfield, Hawaii.

I believe the nine Sikorsky Blackhawk helicopters are UH-60s of the 25th Infantry Division Combat Aviation Brigade - 2nd Battalion, 25th Aviation Regiment "Diamond Head" and HH-60Ms of the 25th Infantry Division Combat Aviation Brigade - 3rd Battalion, 25th Aviation Regiment "Hammerhead".

I hope you enjoyed reading this post!

My sincere thanks to all the local plane spotters and aviation and military enthusiasts - and the just plain curious! - who all contributed information, photos and videos of this great day for CQ Aviation!

Please feel free at any time to share your photos and videos either on our Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/cqplanespotting/) or send them in an email to:  cqplanespotting@yahoo.com

Photos and videos taken by Michael Fleetwood, Trevor Hardsman, Kayanne Hardsman, Kevin Patroni, Daniel Bishop and Ian Hitchcock  ©

Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) Canadair Challenger 604 Bizjet A37-001 Pops into Rockhampton Airport

Early on Friday 30 June, Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) Canadair CL-600-2B16 Challenger 604 bizjet A37-001 was noted visiting Rockhampton Airport.  It looked to arrive from Dubbo in New South Wales, flying as "Regent 40".

A37-001 departs Rockhampton Airport on a previous visit  (File photo)

After a short time on the ground, A37-001 departed Rocky for Canberra.

Photo taken by Kayanne Hardsman  ©

Cessna 525A CitationJet2 Bizjet VH-MOR Pops into Hervey Bay (Fraser Coast) Airport

Another bizjet passing through CQ on Friday 30 June was Brisbane-based Cessna 525A CitationJet2 bizjet VH-MOR.

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It was noted arriving into Hervey Bay (Fraser Coast) Airport from Cairns before it was quickly away again departing to Archerfield.

Of interest, VH-MOR had departed Hamilton Island Airport for Cairns last Sunday 25 June.

Queensland Government Raytheon Hawker 850XP Bizjet VH-SGY Pops into Bundaberg Airport

Making a pre-dawn arrival into Bundaberg Airport from Brisbane on Friday 30 June was the Queensland Government (State of Queensland) Airwing Raytheon Hawker 850XP bizjet VH-SGY.

VH-SGY at Bundy on a previous visit  (File photo)

Shortly before lunch time, VH-SGY returned to the capital.

Meanwhile, also visiting Bundaberg Airport on Friday 30 June was the familiar sight of Vanderfield Pilatus PC-12/47 VH-WPH.  It flew in from Gympie and departed for its Toowoomba base just after sunset.  It was the end of a busy couple of days of flying for VH-WPH which also saw it visit Roma, Mackay, Biloela / Thangool and Emerald amongst other places.

Finally, another interesting visitor to Bundaberg Airport during the early part of the week was Bontrail (Strahman Farms) Cessna 208 Caravan VH-SJJ.  It arrived from its Toowoomba base via Archerfield on Monday 26 June and departed back to those locations on Tuesday 27 June.

Photo taken by Micah S  ©

Thursday, June 29, 2017

United States Navy (USN) Lockheed KC-130T Hercules 164106 (RU-106) (VR-55) Arrives into Rockhampton Airport

With 'Phase 0' of Joint Military Exercise Talisman Saber 2017 (TS17) underway around Rockhampton and the nearby Shoalwater Bay Training Area (SWBTA), the familiarisation flights and pre-exercise work continued as United States Navy (USN) Lockheed KC-130T Hercules (L-382) 164106 touched down at Rockhampton Airport from Townsville late on Thursday 29 June .






The Hercules - serial 164106 - coded RU-106 - of the VR-55 Fleet Logistics Support Squadron 55 - is pictured parked on the Southern end of the Rockhampton Airport parking apron soon after arriving from Townsville as "Convoy 7966".  It looked to be being prepared to stay for at least the night.


Of interest, the Fleet Logistics Support Squadron 55 (VR-55) 'Minutemen' is a US Navy C-130T squadron that provides a 24-hour logistical support to US Naval forces deployed throughout the world.  VR-55 has 275 Full Time Support (FTS) personnel and Selected Reservists (SELRES), including 35 pilots.  The squadron is located at Naval Air Station Point Mugu which is North of Los Angeles in the USA.

Sincere 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  ©

Royal Australian Navy (RAN) NH Industries MRH-90 Multi-Role Helicopter A40-030 Calls Into Rockhampton Airport

On Thursday 29 June, Royal Australian Navy (RAN) marked NH Industries MRH-90 Multi-Role Helicopter A40-030 was spotted visiting Rockhampton Airport.  It had earlier arrived from the South using the Australian Army radio callsign of "Destrier 30".


After a short while on the ground, A40-030 departed Rocky heading further North to Townsville.


Sincere 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  ©

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Silver Linings Aviation Cessna 680 Citation Sovereign Bizjet VH-ZEK Departs Hamilton Island Airport

After arriving at the start of the week, the visiting Silver Linings Aviation Cessna 680 Citation Sovereign bizjet VH-ZEK departed Hamilton Island Airport on Wednesday 28 June for Cairns and then Darwin.

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It had arrived on Monday 26 June.

Meanwhile, on the lighter side of aircraft movements in and out of Hamo on Wednesday 28 June, Regional Air Gippsaero GA-8 Airvan VH-OHN operated a return flight from and back to Mackay Airport.  While Amateur-built Van's RV-10 VH-XTE arrived into Hamilton Island Airport from Longreach and New South Wales-based Cirrus SR22T VH-CPK arrived from Bankstown via Roma.

At the time of writing, Hawker Beechcraft G58 Baron VH-EZD was expected to arrive at Hamo directly from its Monto base on Thursday 29 June.

Finally, while not confirmed, the visiting Pegasus Leasing (USA) Gulfstream Aerospace G-V-SP (G550) bizjet N523AC which arrived into Hamilton Island Airport from Townsville on Tuesday 27 June is believed to be still parked on Hamo.

Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) Boeing C-17A Globemaster III A41-210 Makes Another Visit to Rockhampton Airport

On Wednesday 28 June, the preparations for joint Military Exercise Talisman Saber 2017 (TS17) continued in CQ with Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) Boeing C-17A Globemaster III A41-210 touching down at Rockhampton Airport as "Stallion 37" directly from RAAF Base Tindal in the Northern Territory.












After unloading some pieces of equipment, A41-210 was noted departing to RAAF Base Amberley again as "Stallion 37".

Of interest, A41-210 is one of eight C-17A Globemaster transport aircraft that are flown by the RAAF's No. 36 Squadron - the RAAF's strategic transport squadron.  No. 36 Squadron is responsible for strategic air transport in Australia and overseas, conducting missions as part of military operations and humanitarian efforts.  It is located at RAAF Base Amberley, and is controlled by No. 86 Wing, which is part of Air Mobility Group.


Sincere thanks to local plane spotters Kayanne H and Trevor H who were on hand to capture these great photos!

Photos taken by Kayanne Hardsman and Trevor Hardsman  ©