Friday, June 22, 2018

Ex Hamel 2018 - Friday's Movements at Rockhampton Airport incl RAAF Alenia C-27J Spartan A34-010 "Wallaby 03" Arriving And Many Helicopters

As Exercise Hamel 2018 continues in the nearby Shoalwater Bay Training Area (SWBTA), Rockhampton Airport again saw many movements in and out again on Friday 22 June.

Early in the morning, Australian Army NH Industries MRH-90 Multi-Role Helicopter A40-034 "Warhorse 11" popped in from Shoalwater Bay and back.  It also completed a flight in and out during the later afternoon.

A40-034  (File photo)

Fellow Army MRH-90 A40-012 "Saxon 42" arrived into Rockhampton Airport from Oakey.  After collecting passengers, it departed to Shoalwater Bay.  A40-012 later returned to Rocky and then departed back to Oakey.

And an unidentified Army MRH-90 flying as "Kraken 31" also visited Rockhampton Airport from Shoalwater Bay.  While in the evening, another unidentified Army MRH-90 flying as "Dustoff 31" came into Rockhampton Airport on a medical evacuation flight from Shoalwater Bay.

Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) movements on Friday 22 June were highlighted by a pair of Boeing EA-18G Growlers as "Wolf 11" and "Wolf 12" flying overhead Rocky from and back to RAAF Base Amberley to and from the Shoalwater Bay Training Area.

RAAF Boeing P-8A Poseidon Maritime Surveillance Aircraft A47-007 was back in the skies over CQ, heard flying in and out of Shoalwater Bay from and back to Townsville (where it appears to be  based) this time flying as "Blackcat 53".  While an unidentified RAAF Lockheed AP-3C Orion flying as "Striker 64" was heard to depart Shoalwater Bay for RAAF Base Edinburgh in South Australia.

Finally, after the sun went down, RAAF Alenia C-27J Spartan transport aircraft A34-010 arrived into Rockhampton Airport from RAAF Base Amberley as "Wallaby 03".  This is the Spartan's first visit to CQ.

And the three Air Affairs Australia Learjets based at Hervey Bay (Fraser Coast) Airport were in the air again and completed airwork in Shoalwater Bay before eventually returning to Hervey Bay.  It appears again that  Learjet 35A VH-ESM was "Shadow 11" while fellow Learjet 35A VH-SLE and Learjet 36 VH-SLJ flew into formation as "Bosun".

Photo taken by 'IAD'  ©

Thursday, June 21, 2018

RAAF Search and Rescue (CHC Helicopters) Sikorsky S-76A VH-HRP "Choppa 22" Pops into Mackay and Gladstone Airports

On Thursday 21 June, Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) Search and Rescue (SAR) Sikorsky S-76A helicopter VH-HRP was noted flying South from Townsville via Mackay and Gladstone Airports.  It was heard to be using the radio callsign of "Choppa 22".


It was spotted on the ground at Gladstone Airport and later departing to Toowoomba where it looked to be spending the night.





On Friday 22 June, VH-HRP "Choppa 22" was due to continue to Armidale and then RAAF Base Williamtown (Newcastle).

VH-HRP "Choppa 22" has been in Townsville in recent weeks where it participated in the RAAF's Exercise High Sierra - the final training exercise for pilots graduating from Number 2 Operational Conversion Unit. No. 2OCU Squadron which operates out of Williamtown.

File photo

The Exercise finished this week and featured a mass departure of RAAF McDonnell Douglas F/A-18A/B Classic Hornet and British Aerospace (BAe) Hawk 127 jet aircraft from Townsville earlier on Thursday 21 June.  They were heard refuelling with RAAF Airbus A330-203 / KC-30A (MRTT) A39-005 "Dragon 38" over inland Central Queensland as they flew South to Williamtown.

Photos taken by Col B and 'Shinpow16'  ©

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Ex Hamel 2018 - Four United States Marine Corps (USMC) MV-22B Osprey Arrive into Townsville for Operations in Shoalwater Bay

On Wednesday 20 June, the unmissable sight and sound of four United States Marine Corps (USMC) Bell Boeing MV-22B Osprey tilt-rotor aircraft filled the skies of North Queensland as they arrived into Townsville Airport from Darwin via a fuel stop at Mount Isa.




The four Osrpeys are believed to have arrived in Townsville to partipate in the joint Military Exercise Hamel 2018 which is currently underway within the Shoalwater Bay Training Area.  While at Townsville, it appears that they will be based with the Army's 5th Aviation Regiment parked alongside their MRH-90 and CH-47F Chinook helicopters.

While their serials are yet to be confirmed, the four Osprey tilt-rotor aircraft are of the Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron 268 (VMM-268) "Red Dragons" which have been deployed to Darwin recently as a part of the 7th Marine Rotational Force Darwin.  This year, eight of the aircraft arrived in Darwin via ship before being flown the short distance to RAAF Base Darwin.


It is believed that the deployment from Darwin to Townsville was supported by a pair of USMC Lockheed KC-130J Hercules refuelling aircraft - 166763 "Sumo 55" and 169227 "Sumo 63".

We hope to be able to bring the awesome news that an Osprey will head to Rockhampton Airport in coming days, however, I feel this will be unlikely as it appears that most operations during Exercise Hamel 2018 are taking place at the Samuel Hill Airfield within the Shoalwater Bay Training Area.

UPDATE!  On Thursday 21 June, two Ospreys were noted flying from Townsville into the Shoalwater Bay Training Area and back to Townsville.

UPDATE!  On Friday 22 June, three Ospreys were noted flying from Townsville into the Shoalwater Bay Training Area and back to Townsville.  They then departed back to Darwin, again via a refuelling stop at Mount Isa, and again with USMC KC-130J Hercules 166763 "Sumo 55" in support.

Sincere thanks to the Townsville plane spotters for their help preparing this post!

All photos taken by 'Shinpow16'  ©

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Ex Hamel 2018 - RAAF Alenia C-27J Spartan Transport Aircraft A34-005 "Wallaby 05" Returns to Rockhampton Airport

During the afternoon on Tuesday 19 June, Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) Alenia C-27J Spartan transport aircraft A34-005 was noted flying into Rockhampton Airport from RAAF Base Amberley as "Wallaby 05".

File photo

File photo

It is interesting to note that earlier in the day, A34-005 "Wallaby 05" was joined by fellow RAAF C-27J A34-009 as "Wallaby 09", along with Sytraders Pty Ltd Casa 212-400 turboprop VH-VHB as "Snowbird 4", which was completing parachute work for the Australian Army, operating low level down South-West of Warwick.

As we reported below, on Monday 18 June, a trio of Air Affairs Australia Learjets touched down at Hervey Bay (Fraser Coast) Airport from their Nowra base in New South Wales.  On Tuesday 19 June, they all took to the air and completed airwork in Shoalwater Bay before eventually returning to Hervey Bay.

File photo

It is believed that  Learjet 35A VH-ESM was again "Shadow 11" while fellow Learjet 35A VH-SLE and Learjet 36 VH-SLJ flew into formation as "Bosun".

Finally, RAAF Airbus A330-203 / KC-30A Multi Role Tanker Transport (MRTT) A39-005 "Dragon 31" came up from RAAF Base Amberley and operated refuelling exercises within the Shoalwater Bay Training Area with Boeing EA-18G Growlers ("Wolf 11" and "Wolf 21") and RAAF Boeing F/A-18F Super Hornets ("Colt").

Photos taken by 'IAD' and Ben May  ©

Ex Hamel 2018 - RAAF Search and Rescue Agusta AW139 Helicopter VH-SYJ "Choppa 32" Lands at Rockhampton Base Hospital

On Tuesday 19 June, Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) Search and Rescue (CHC Helicopters Australia / Lloyd Helicopters) Agusta AW139 helicopter VH-SYJ "Choppa 32" was spotted landing on the Rockhampton Base Hospital heli-pad.


It appeared to come into Rocky from the Shoalwater Bay Training Area (SWBTA) where it is presently based in support of the joint Military Exercise Hamel 2018.

It also comes a day after Australian Army NH Industries MRH-90 Multi-Role Helicopter A40-020 completed a medical evacuation drill by also landing on the Rockhampton Hospital heli-pad on Monday 18 June.

https://www.facebook.com/AusArmyForcesCommand/

Meanwhile, also on Tuesday 19 June, there were a couple of other helicopter visitors into Rockhampton Airport in support of Ex Hamel 2018.

An unidentified Australian Army MRH-90 helicopter popped in briefly during the morning as "Hustler 11", while during the afternoon, another called in as "Warhorse 31".  Later still, another MRH-90 believed to be A40-041 also visited Rockhampton Airport but as "Kraken 11".

Photo taken by Gordon Clark  ©

Ex Hamel 2018 - Photos of Australian Army MRH-90 and ARH Tigers "Warhorse-Angry Combined" at Rockhampton Airport Late Monday

As we posted below, during the latter part of the afternoon on Monday 18 June, some nice helicopters of the Australian Army and Royal Australian Navy (RAN) popped into Rockhampton Airport in association with Exercise Hamel which is currently underway in the nearby Shoalwater Bay Training Area (SWBTA).


Local plane spotter 'IAD' was on hand to capture some great photos as a flight of one Australian Army NH Industries MRH-90 Multi-Role Helicopter - A40-034 - was accompanied by a pair of Australian Army Eurocopter (ARH) Tiger Armed Reconnaissance Helicopters - A38-007 and A38-020. 







The three helicopters arrived and departed flying in formation as "Warhorse-Angry Combined".  They looked to arrive from and later depart back to Shoalwater Bay.




And as shown above, Royal Australian Navy (RAN) NH Industries MRH-90 Multi-Role Helicopter A40-043 was also spotted at Rockhampton Airport by 'IAD' late on Monday 18 June


A40-043 continues to complete flights between Shoalwater Bay and the HMAS Canberra several times during the day yet again as "Poseidon 43".

Sincere thanks to local plane spotter 'IAD' for taking the time to capture and send through these great photos!

All photos taken by 'IAD'  ©

Monday, June 18, 2018

Air Affairs Australia Learjet 35As VH-ESM & VH-SLE and Learjet 36 VH-SLJ Arrive into Hervey Bay (Fraser Coast) Airport

Certainly interesting arrivals into Hervey Bay (Fraser Coast) Airport on Monday 18 June with a trio of Air Affairs Australia Learjet touching down from Nowra base in New South Wales.


Spotted parked up seemingly for the night are Learjet 35As VH-ESM ("Shadow 11") and VH-SLE ("Ajax 42") along with Learjet 36 VH-SLJ ("Ajax 01").

It will be interesting to see what happens with these lovely aircraft!

Sincere thanks to local plane spotter Ben M for popping out to Hervey Bay Airport after dark and capturing this great photo!

Photo taken by Ben May  ©

Ex Hamel 2018 - Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) Challenger Bizjets Come and Go at Rockhampton Airport - Plus Wedgetail Missed Approach

Also on Monday 18 June, Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) Canadair CL-600-2B16 Challenger 604 bizjet A37-003, which was spotted arriving into Rockhampton Airport from Canberra on Sunday 17 June, departed to Darwin again as "Consort 10".

File photo

A little later in the morning on Monday 18 June, fellow RAAF Challenger 604 bizjet A37-001 also arrived into Rockhampton Airport, also from Canberra, but as "Wisdom 89".  It was noted returning to Canberra later in the afternoon.

Meanwhile, also on Monday 18 June, there was one other RAAF movement with Boeing B737-7ES / E-7A Wedgetail Airborne Early Warning & Control (AEW&C) aircraft A30-001 noted completing a missed approach at Rockhampton Airport.  It looked to fly up to Rocky from RAAF Base Richmond via a missed approach at RAAF Base Amberley.  The Wedgetail then departed North and completed another missed approach at Proserpine (Whitsunday Coast) Airport before continuing further North.  A30-001 was heard to be flying as "Wedgetail 01".

Finally, after dark on Monday 18 June, RAAF Beech B350 Super King Air A32-426 "Dingo 04" was noted popping into Rockhampton Airport.  It arrived from Canberra then departed to Townsville.  While RAAF Airbus A330-200 / KC-30A Multi Role Tanker Transport (MRTT) aircraft A39-005 "Dragon 31" was noted operating within the Shoalwater Bay Training Area on a flight from and back to Amberley.

Photo taken by 'IAD'  ©

Ex Hamel 2018 - Australian Army NH Industries MRH-90 Multi-Role Helicopter A40-020 "Hustler 12" Completes Airwork at Rockhampton Base Hospital

On Monday 18 June, as Exercise Hamel 2018 is now in full swing, there was certainly a unique sight and sound over Rockhampton with Australian Army NH Industries MRH-90 Multi-Role Helicopter A40-020 spotted completing airwork at the Rockhampton Base Hospital.







The MRH-90 was heard using the radio callsign of "Hustler 12" and completed a 45-minute exercise which included several landings and take-offs from the Hospitals roof-top heli-pad.





A40-020 was noted flying in from and then back to the Shoalwater Bay Training Area (SWBTA).

Meanwhile, other helicopter movements in association with Exercise Hamel in and out of Rockhampton Airport on Monday 18 June included a flight of one Australian Army MRH-90 helicopter accompanied by a pair of Australian Army Eurocopter (ARH) Tiger Armed Reconnaissance Helicopters.  The unidentified choppers arrived into Rockhampton Airport from Shoalwater Bay in formation as "Warhorse-Angry Combined".  After dropping off some passengers, they returned to the Bay again in formation.

UPDATE!  The MRH-90 has been identified as A40-034 while the Tigers were A38-007 and A38-020.  See Blog post above for photos!

And finally becoming a daily occurrence, Royal Australian Navy (RAN) NH Industries MRH-90 Multi-Role Helicopter A40-043 was noted flying in and out of Rockhampton Airport between Shoalwater Bay and HMAS Canberra several times during Monday 18 June again as "Poseidon 43".





Sincere thanks to local plane spotter Russell P for again allowing us to share his awesome photos!

All photos taken by Russell Prothero  ©

Sunday, June 17, 2018

Ex Hamel 2018 - More Great Australian Defence Force (ADF) Aircraft and Helicopter Action at Rockhampton Airport on Sunday

With the Australian Defence Force's (ADF) Military Exercise Hamel 2018 starting in the nearby Shoalwater Bay Training Area (SWBTA), there were yet more nice helicopters and aircraft to pop into Rockhampton Airport during Sunday 17 June.

During the morning, another pair of Australian Army NH Industries MRH-90 Multi-Role Helicopters looked to arrive into Rockhampton Airport from Oakey again (like yesterday) flying in formation as "Knights Red".  The MRH-90s were identified as A40-031 (again) and A40-004.  After taking two loads each of passengers into Shoalwater Bay, they both returned in formation back to Oakey.










Some of the passengers on the MRH-90s came from Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) Canadair CL-600-2B16 Challenger 604 bizjet A37-003 which was spotted arriving into Rockhampton Airport from Canberra as "Consort 10".  At the time of writing, it appears that the Challenger is still parked at Rockhampton Airport.




While there are no longer any RAAF Alenia C-27J Spartan transport aircraft parked at Rockhampton Airport, A34-002 "Wallaby 32" was noted departing Shoalwater Bay for RAAF Base Amberley.  While A34-005 "Wallaby 05" was noted also completing a couple of sorties into Shoalwater Bay from and back to Amberley.

And for the third day in a row, Royal Australian Navy (RAN) NH Industries MRH-90 Multi-Role Helicopter A40-043 was noted flying in and out of Rockhampton Airport between Shoalwater Bay and HMAS Canberra as "Poseidon 43".

Soon after the sun had gone down, a pair of unidentified Australian Army Eurocopter (ARH) Tiger Armed Reconnaissance Helicopters were noted completing airwork at Rockhampton Airport as "Ghost 61" and "Ghost 62".

Finally, as predicted, RAAF Airbus A330-200 / KC-30A Multi Role Tanker Transport (MRTT) aircraft A39-002 returned to Rockhampton Airport again from Sydney this time as "Dragon 16".











At the time of writing, A39-002 has sustained a technical problem and remains parked at Rockhampton Airport.




UPDATE!  A39-002 "Dragon 16" eventually was able to depart Rockhampton Airport for RAAF Base Amberley later in the evening.

Sincere thanks again to all the local plane spotters for their help with compiling this Blog post - from all the information supplied to all the wonderful photos that have been shared!  Cheers guys!

Photos taken by 'IAD' and Jaxson White  ©