Monday, July 28, 2014

Graphic Photos of the Aftermath of a Bird Strike on a Cessna Near Mackay Airport

I have been sent a couple of graphic images showing the aftermath of a bird strike on a single-engine Cessna that occurred recently while the aircraft was some 25 miles from Mackay Airport.

A truly remarkable piece of flying from the pilot to get the damaged aircraft on the ground at Mackay Airport.  An eyewitness reports that the pilot emerged from the cabin covered in blood and glass from the broken windscreen.

One only needs to recall when the Mythbusters television program perform an experiment by firing a frozen chicken into the windscreen of a plane to see the potential damage of a bird strike on these smaller aircraft.

All photos taken by 'AC'  ©

Citation Bizjet VH-SCC and Alliance Fokker 100 VH-XWN at Emerald Airport Monday

Spotted on the ground at Emerald Airport early on Monday 28 July was MacArthur Jet Charter Cessna 550 Citation Bravo VH-SCC.

It actually arrived at Emerald the previous evening from Bankstown.  It still remains parked.

Also during the morning on Monday 28 July, Alliance Airlines Fokker F-100 VH-XWN was noted operating a scheduled service in and out of Emerald on behalf of QantasLink as UTY2636/2637.

And Avcair (Sutherland Aviation) fairly new Beech B300LW Super King Air VH-WCN which arrived from Brisbane and later departed to Mount Isa.

Photo taken by 'BM'  ©

Freshly Re-painted Virgin Australia Embraer E-190 VH-ZPJ Calls into Hervey Bay (Fraser Coast) Airport Monday

Less than a week after returning from overseas maintenance and re-painting, Virgin Australia Embraer E-190 VH-ZPJ has been noted visiting CQ, calling into Hervey Bay (Fraser Coast) Airport on Monday 28 July.

E-190 VH-ZPI in new colours at Rockhampton Airport recently  (File photo taken by Phil M  ©)

It was operating the daily VOZ1555/1556 service from and back to Sydney.

Of interest, fellow E-190 VH-ZPK has ferried over to Europe now for a re-paint.  And also of note, Virgin B737-800 VH-VUR was noted positioning to Townsville Airport last week where it is also being re-painting into Virgin Australia livery.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Cape Air Transport Islander VH-IOA - Plus Tigerair A320 VH-VND - at Mackay Airport

Cape Air Transport (of Far North Queensland) Pilatus Britten-Norman BN2A-20 Islander VH-IOA was photographed at Mackay Airport on Sunday 27 July as it called in briefly for fuel.  It arrived Cairns, where it had earlier arrived from Coen.

VH-IOA eventually departed to Maryborough.

Last Thursday 24 July, Tigerair (Tiger Airways) Australia Airbus A320 VH-VND was photographed as it prepared for departure to Melbourne (Tullamarine) as TGW745, having earlier arrived from there as TGW744.

Meanwhile, Virgin Australia Embraer E-190 VH-ZPR continues to be spotted in Central Queensland wearing a red nose with its white Virgin colour scheme.  On Saturday 26 July, it was noted calling into both Mackay (as shown below) and Rockhampton Airports.

Sister-ship VH-ZPM - which wears red Pacific Blue colours and titles but with a white nose - is yet to be photographed in CQ - hopefully this week!

Finally, a couple of bizjet movements at Mackay Airport including the departure of Special Mining Services / Flight Options (Australia) Cessna 510 Citation Mustang VH-PWX back to Bankstown late on Thursday 24 July.  And the arrival back into Mackay on Saturday 26 July of locally-based Raytheon 390 Premier 1 N7088S from Melbourne (Essendon) after it flew down there a week ago.

All photos taken by 'AC'  ©

Aerorescue Dornier VH-PPQ & Citation Bizjet VH-KXM Through Longreach Airport - Plus a Major Solar Project for the Qantas Founders Museum

Noted calling into Longreach Airport on Saturday 26 July was Aerorescue (AMSA - Australian Maritime Safety Authority) Dornier 328-100 VH-PPQ.  It arrived from Brisbane and later departed to Darwin.

File photo taken by Jamie C  ©

VH-PPQ was returning to Darwin after a short maintenance lay-up in Brisbane, after the Dornier passed through Longreach South-bound about a month ago.

Also passing through Longreach Airport heading North on Saturday 26 July was Gulf Coast Aviation Cessna 510 Citation Mustang bizjet VH-KXM, which arrived from Bankstown and later departed to Vanrook Station in Far North Queensland.

File photo taken by 'IAD'  ©

Meanwhile, a couple of notable visitors to Longreach on Friday 25 July were J.M. Kelly (Project Builders) Cessna 310 VH-FFA - which visited for the morning from its Rockhampton base - and Brisbane-based Pilatus PC-12/47E VH-VTF - which spent all day visiting from Archerfield.

Finally, the Qantas Founders Museum (QFOM) at Longreach Airport has recently commenced work on the the installation of a 99kw solar array for the museum.  The project will greatly assist in reducing the museums's electricity costs which will enable to the museum to use those savings to develop new displays and maintain existing exhibitions.

The project will take around 4 weeks to complete and will include the installation of 396 solar panels on the curved roof of the Museums's main hangar.  The system is expected the generate 163,500kWh of solar electricity each year, reducing the Museums load by 22% and saving nearly $50,000 per year.

Additional text and images from Qantas Founders Museum Facebook page.

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Qantas Boeing B737-800 VH-XZJ in Mendoowoorrji Aboriginal Colours at Hamilton Island Airport

We've been waiting a few weeks, but Qantas Boeing B737-800 VH-XZJ - wearing a special Aboriginal art colour scheme called “Mendoowoorrji” - has finally operated into Hamilton Island Airport on Saturday 26 July.

VH-XZJ touched down as QFA866 - operating the recently launched Qantas service into Hamo from Sydney.  It later departed back to Sydney as QFA867.

Thanks to 'AC' for sending these photos of what I think is very beautiful looking aircraft!

All photos taken by 'AC'  ©

Around the World Swearingen SX-300 (Johns SA29) N54JX Lands at Hamilton Island Airport This Week

An around-the-world solo pilot has called into Hamilton Island this week during his epic journey which started in 2012.  Former Swiss airline pilot Heinz Peier, 65, has been flying around the world almost non-stop since February 2012 in his bright red Swearingen SX-300 (Johns SA29) registered N54JX.

After some research, I found Heinz Peier's well kept and spectacular online Blog which is titled "Around the World with Wings and Wheels" ( featuring his thoughts and spectacular photos as Heinz flys and cycles all over the world.  Here is a small selection of images as N54JX arrived in the Whitsundays on Monday 21 July from Archerfield. 

On Wednesday 23 July, N54JX departed Hamilton Island, continuing further North to Cairns.

The FNQ Skies Blog captured N54JX parked on the General Aviation apron at Cairns Airport on Friday 25 July.

However, Heinz Peier's journey has not been without incident.  In April this year, while flying from Sri Lanka to the Philippines, the Indonesian Air Force (TNI-AU) forced Heinz to land at Soewondo Air Force Base in Medan, North Sumatra, after he mistakenly entered Indonesian airspace without permission.  After being forced down by F-16 jet fighter jets, a number of fully armed TNI-AU personnel and sniffer dogs inspected the aircraft, but no dangerous goods were found.  N54JX was impounded for a short time while Heinz was questioned.  More information and photos can be found at Daily Mail online website (LINK HERE).

Becker Helicopters Bell 206 Choppers at Bundaberg Airport This Week

I've noted that most days this week Bundaberg Airport did, or was due to, play host to numerous Becker Helicopters Bell 206 helicopters, arriving from mostly the Sunshine Coast, on what are presumed to be pilot training flights.  I've noted that Hervey Bay Airport also had a couple of visits.

At least seven different Bell 206 helicopters - VH-NXV, VH-WCF, VH-WCJ, VH-WCS, VH-XJA, VH-NXW and VH-WCU - were all scheduled into Bundy this week.

The Becker Helicopters website - - suggests that they operate a fleet of 12 Bell 206s, complimented by other types of helicopters, with a total of some 20 choppers in the fleet.

Friday, July 25, 2014

A Couple More Tigerair (Tiger Airways) A320 First Visits to Proserpine / Whitsunday Coast Airport This Month

We've been following the progress of first visits by Tigerair (Tiger Airways) Australia Airbus A320s into Proserpine / Whitsunday Coast Airport since the airline commenced scheduled services in April this year.

File photo taken by Dave  ©

Well on Saturday 5 July, A320 VH-VND made its first visit into Prosie, while last Thursday 17 July, VH-VNC called in on its first visit into Prosie.  Both aircraft were operating the scheduled TGW394/397 service from and back to Sydney.

VH-VNQ at Cairns Airport (FNQ Skies Blog)

By my reckoning, there is now only one more Tigerair A320 to visit Proserpine - that being VH-VNQ.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Local Aviators Not Happy over Future of Rockhampton Airport's Runway 04/22

As reported, a meeting for stakeholders, pilots, and other interested parties was hosted by the Rockhampton Regional Council and held at the Rockhampton Aero Club Building on Monday night, regarding proposed changes to the smaller cross Runway 04/22 at Rockhampton Airport.  And some local aviators were left unimpressed.

There are six proposals being put forward by Council, including reducing the length of the runway from between 1200 to 750 metres, to closing down the secondary runway entirely.  Runway 04/22 is currently some 1645 metres long.

Pilot and Rockhampton Aero Club Member Paul Tyler is disappointed the airport plans weren't given to runway users sooner.  He feels that a decision on shortening the runway has been made with any consultation period already over.

It appears from plans given to Paul that the crossing Runway 04/22 will be shortened to somewhere around 800-1200 metres.  Council also seem to be looking at putting more hangers down on the grassed area near the existing rental hangers, and using the current threshold area of Runway 22 as a taxiway for larger aircraft.  Strange suggestions given that Council also admitted that there are no current customers wanting that space provided.

Private pilots would prefer the runway to be around 1200 metres.  If the Runway length was reduced to 800 metres, there may be times where the runway can't actually be used because of its length.

Council also cited that the lights on Runway 04/22 don’t meet standards.  There was agreement that the lights aren't really needed and the runway could be left as a day-time runway only.  Moreover, the cost of resurfacing the runway would be around $2 million at today's costs, and this is likely to need to occur in 2021.

Another local aviator - who uses Runway 04/22 at least once a fortnight on those occasions when there are winds from the east or west - supports shortening the Runway to allow the Eastern side of Rockhampton Airport to be freed up for more business and more activity at the Airport.

However, he too doesn't want to see the cross Runway become unusable as it is a good back-up for commercial operations and General Aviation (GA) operators including the Royal Flying Doctor Service (RFDS).

Watch this space!