Saturday, April 21, 2018

A Trio of Australian Army NH Industries MRH-90 Multi-Role Helicopters Pass Through Rockhampton Airport Heading Home After Commonwealth Games

A nice trio of Australian Army NH Industries MRH-90 Multi-Role Helicopters were spotted and noted calling into Rockhampton Airport on Saturday 21 April.

First up, MRH-90 A40-039 arrived directly from RAAF Base Amberley as "Rogue 33".  After taking on fuel it departed to Townsville.

Then another MRH-90 A40-034, which was flying as "Rogue 11", departed Amberley for Rocky but flew low level across to and then up the coast to Hervey Bay.  There, it did a circle over the town centre then flew up Dundowran Beach. The MRH-90 then continued at low level to Bundaberg where it completed a missed approach at Bundaberg Airport before continuing to Rocky.  A40-034 also departed to Townsville.

Finally, MRH-90 A40-038, which was flying as "Warhorse 77", also flew up from Amberley but completed a missed approach at Gladstone Airport (pictured) before continuing to Rocky.

A40-038 also departed to Townsville.

These three MRH-90s - plus a fourth in the form of A40-036 "Warhorse 69" which passed through Rockhampton Airport heading to Townsville on Monday 16 April - have been based at RAAF Base Amberley for the previous couple of weeks providing an aerial support role during the recently completed Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast.

Sincere thanks to local plane spotters Daniel B and Michael F for taking the time to capture and send through these great photos from Rockhampton and Gladstone!

Photos taken by Daniel Bishop and Michael Fleetwood  ©

Friday, April 20, 2018

LifeFlight (Aeromed) LearJet 45 Bizjet VH-VVI "Ambulance 451" Back in CQ Yet Again This Week

The familiar sight of LifeFlight (Aeromed) LearJet 45 bizjet VH-VVI was back in CQ yet again this week. 

File photo

Very late on Monday 16 April it flew into Rockhampton Airport from Brisbane before making the short hop down to Gladstone Airport now in the wee small hours of Tuesday 17 April.  It then returned to Brisbane and looked to be completing a medical evacuation flight as "Ambulance 451".

Then on Wednesday 18 April and again on Thursday 19 April, VH-VVI looked to complete training flights out of Brisbane to Bundaberg Airport (on Wednesday) and Gladstone and Hervey Bay (Fraser Coast) Airports (on Thursday).

Finally, VH-VVI "Ambulance 451" was also due to pop into Gladstone Airport on Friday 20 April but looked to have been re-tasked and it actually called into Mackay Airport while on a flight from Cairns to Brisbane.

Gulf Coast Aviation Cessna 510 Citation Mustang Bizjet VH-KXM Pops into Gladstone Airport Heading North

Early on Friday 20 April, Gulf Coast Aviation Cessna 510 Citation Mustang bizjet VH-KXM was spotted on the ground at Gladstone Airport.

It had arrived from Bankstown and I presume took on fuel before continuing to Normanton.

Meanwhile, a nice corporate turboprop in the form of Austrek Aviation Beech B200 Super King Air VH-ZGD was also spotted visiting Gladstone Airport but on Thursday 19 April.  It arrived from Toowoomba and Archerfield, and after some four hours on the ground, it returned to these two places.

Of interest, fellow Austrek Aviation King Air VH-WXO was noted flying into Maryborough Airport from its Toowoomba base on Sunday 15 April.  Then on Monday 16 April, VH-WXO continued to Century Mine via Middlemount and Hughenden Airports.  On Tuesday 17 April, VH-WXO returned to Toowoomba via Hughenden and Wanella Station near Coppabella.

Finally, New South Wales-based Airspeed Aviation / BPW Aviation Cessna 441 Conquest II VH-EQU also visited Gladstone Airport (amongst other places) this week.  On Monday 16 April, it flew from Narrabri to Cairns before starting an 'adventure' heading back South via Innisfail, Townsville and finally Mackay Airport where it spent the night.  Then on Tuesday 17 April, VH-EQU continued from Mackay to Rockhampton and Gladstone Airport where it stayed for the night.  It then departed Gladstone on Wednesday 18 April for Bundaberg, Hervey Bay (Fraser Coast) and Maryborough Airports before continuing to Gympie and Lismore in New South Wales.  Over the latter part of the week, it visited yet more regional airports in New South Wales.

Sincere thanks to local plane spotter Michael F for again taking the time to capture and send through these great photos!

All photos taken by Michael Fleetwood  ©

Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) Boeing B737-7ES / E-7A Wedgetail A30-002 Missed Approach at Mackay Airport

On Friday 20 April, Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) Boeing B737-7ES / E-7A Wedgetail Airborne Early Warning & Control (AEW&C) aircraft - A30-002 - was spotted conducting a missed approach at Mackay Airport.

A30-002 was flying as "Wedgetail 05" and reportedly flew up from RAAF Base Williamtown near Newcastle in New South Wales to Rockhampton where it then flew visual (VFR) to Mackay.

A30-002 then flew back South towards RAAF Base Amberley.

Photo taken by Matt Midgley  ©

Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) Challenger 604 Bizjet A37-002 "Consort 95" at Longreach Airport - Plus More!

On Thursday 19 April, Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) Canadair CL-600-2B16 Challenger 604 bizjet A37-002 was noted calling into Longreach Airport from Canberra as "Consort 95".

It appears that it brought Australian Governor General Sir Peter Cosgrove to town where he had a tour of the nearby Qantas Founders Museum and attended a civic reception at the Australian Stockman's Hall of Fame.  It is also expected that he would attend the grand opening of the new Waltzing Matilda Centre in Winton on Friday 20 April which also incorporates the four-day 'Way Out West Fest' music festival.

An unknown RAAF Beech B350 Super King Air using the radio callsign of "Consort 08" appears to have taken Mr Cosgrove from Longreach to Winton.  It then returned to Longreach Airport from Winton later in the afternoon before it departed to Towsnville.

A37-002 "Consort 95" departed back to Canberra.

It was also believed that State Government Ministers and representatives were also due to attend and consequently, on Friday 20 April, the Queensland Government Airwing (State of Queensland) Raytheon Hawker 850XP bizjet VH-SGY was noted arriving into Winton Airport from Brisbane.  It appears that VH-SGY will then continue to Longreach Airport before flying back to Winton early on Saturday 21 April before finally returning back to Brisbane.

One other notable arrival into Winton Airport for the festival was Alliance Airlines Fokker F-70 jet VH-NKQ which touched down from Brisbane late on Thursday 19 April on a closed charter flight as UTY582.

UPDATE!  Early on Saturday 21 April, VH-NKQ departed Winton for Longreach Airport as UTY583.  It then continued to Brisbane again as UTY583.  Later in the day, VH-NKQ was then noted returning to Winton as UTY586.

All photos taken by Calen Harvey  ©

Thursday, April 19, 2018

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

On Thursday 19 April, Mackellar Mining Equipment / Flight Options (Australia) Cessna 560 Citation Ultra bizjet VH-MMC was noted visiting Biloela / Thangool Airport.  It arrived directly from its Sunshine Coast base.

File photo

After staying for most of the day, VH-MMC made an early evening departure and returned to the Sunshine Coast.

Meanwhile, also noted calling into Biloela / Thangool Airport but on Wednesday 18 April was Corporate Aviation Bell 429 helicopter VH-EQP.  It arrived from its Southport base and later departed to Oaky Creek (Mine) and Emerald Airport where it looked to stay the night.

File photo

On Thursday 19 April, VH-EQP departed Emerald Airport and returned to Oaky Creek before flying back home to Southport via Biloela / Thangool Airport.

Finally, it's also worth mentioning that McDermott Aviation / Heli-Lift Australia Eurocopter AS365N3 Dauphin 2 helicopter N82MD was noted departing from Emerald Airport on Tuesday 17 April bound for Longreach Airport before it was heard to continue to Mount Isa on Thursday 19 April.

Photos taken by 'AC' and Col B  ©

A Look at the Helicopters Involved in the Search for a Missing Gyrocopter and Pilot in CQ on Thursday - Plus AMSA Challenger 604 Bizjet VH-XND "Rescue 660"

As we mentioned on our Facebook page, early on Thursday 19 April, authorities were alerted to a missing Gyrocopter and pilot somewhere between Bundaberg and Yeppoon.  As many as 10 helicopters and a couple of fixed wing aircraft were then called into action to search the missing aircraft.  Over the course of Thursday 19 April, most of these helicopters called into Gladstone Airport to refuel before finishing the day and staying for the night at Bundaberg Airport.

Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) (Cobham SAR Services Pty Ltd) Bombardier CL-600-2B16 Challenger 604 bizjet VH-XND "Rescue 660" flew down from Cairns to co-ordinate the search efforts and also operated along the Capricorn Coast below 1000ft. After a couple of hours it returned to Cairns to complete a crew change.  It then flew back South to search around Bundaberg before landing at Bundaberg Airport for the night.

Of the numerous helicopters to participate in the search, local emergency rescue choppers led the efforts with the Capricorn Helicopter Rescue Service (CHRS) (Babcock Mission Critical Services Australasia) Bell 412EP helicopter VH-VAU "Rescue 300" operating out of its Rockhampton Airport base, while LifeFlight (CHC Helicopters Australia / Lloyd Helicopters) Eurocopter MBB-BK 117 C-2 (EC145) helicopter VH-SYG "Rescue 522" operated out of its Bundaberg Airport base and also refuelled during the day at Gladstone Airport - as pictured below - along with some of the other helicopters.

Becker Helicopters Bell 206 Jetranger helicopters VH-WCJ and VH-NXW flew direct to Gladstone Airport from their Sunshine Coast base, while VH-NXZ flew to Bundaberg Airport.  Later, VH-WCJ searched South-East of Gladstone, VH-NXZ searched just North of Bundaberg and VH-NXW departed Gladstone Airport and also searched North of Bundaberg.

Townsville-based Forster Helicopters Eurocopter AS350 B2 Squirrel VH-RDA - which seems to be currently based at Gladstone Airport - joined the search from there and to the North.  Also operating from Gladstone Airport was the bright yellow Adelaide-based Helistar Aviation Aerospatiale AS355 F2 helicopter VH-SDG.

Stirling Helicopters Eurocopter AS.350BA Squirrel helicopter VH-WHW was also spotted visiting Gladstone Airport and later flew South towards Bundaberg.

McDermott Aviation Group / Machjet International Aerospatiale AS.355F1 Squirrel helicopters VH-YUR, VH-YUG and VH-HRU also joined the search effort with VH-YUR and VH-YUG spotted calling into Gladstone Airport.  All three helicopters later headed South towards Bundaberg.

Finally, while not pictured, Heli-Aust Whitsundays (Gladstone Helicopters) Airbus Helicopters EC135 P3 (CPDS) VH-ZGP which is presently operating out of Gladstone Airport on marine pilot transfer flights, departed there and searched an area North of Yeppoon.  It was also noted calling into Rockhampton Airport for fuel.

UPDATE!  Sadly, the search for the missing Gyrocopter, which was on a flight between Bundaberg and Yeppoon, ended tragically on Friday 20 April, with the wreckage of the missing aircraft found, along with the body of the pilot who was found deceased at the scene.  A search helicopter spotted the wreckage early in the morning in bushland near Baffle Creek, shortly after the search resumed with first light.

Sincere thanks to local plane spotter Michael F for taking the time to capture all of these great photos!

Also sincere thanks to Rockhampton plane spotter Trevor H for sending through the details of the helicopters that were involved in the search!

Photos taken by Michael Fleetwood  ©

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Hevilift Australia (Fixed Wing Division) ATR 42-320 VH-YWH Back at Gladstone Airport on Yet More Training

Over the last few days, Hevilift Australia (Fixed Wing Division) ATR 42-320 VH-YWH has been spotted back at Gladstone Airport on a couple of occasions, on what looked to be yet more training / proving flights which were all flown from and back to Brisbane.

VH-YWH is pictured below completed a single visit on Tuesday 17 April.

While last Friday 13 April, VH-YWH was spotted on one of what appeared to be two visits to Gladstone Airport.

As we've mentioned previously, it has been speculated that Hevilift is vying for Fly-in Fly-out (FIFO) and other closed charter contracts particularly to parts of Central Queensland.  VH-YWH was re-registered and re-branded in the 'new' Hevilift titles and colours during 2017.  Hevilift also has former Virgin Australia ATR 72-500 VH-FVM in its fleet with both ATRs based / stored at Brisbane Airport awaiting their fates.

Hevilift also currently operates De Havilland DHC-6-300 Twin Otter VH-YWJ on FIFO charter flights between Mount Isa and The Monument (Phosphate Hill) Airport.

Sincere thanks to Col B for taking the time to capture and send through these great photos of a great visitor to CQ!

All photos taken by Col B  ©

A Couple of Different Choppers Spotted at Gladstone Airport - AS350 Squirrel VH-RDA & R-44 VH-DBF

Over the last few days, a couple of 'different' helicopters have been seen and heard coming and going from Gladstone Airport on various runs and on various roles - and we've been lucky enough to have been sent some nice photos to share! 

A pair of Townsville-based Forster Helicopters choppers have been operating out of Gladstone Airport in the form Eurocopter AS350 B2 Squirrel VH-RDA and Robinson R-44 II VH-DBF.  They have seemed to both take up residence at Gladstone Airport with VH-RDA noted (by radar) operating several flights out over water.

Meanwhile, Aerospatiale AS350 B2 Squirrel helicopter VH-MHE of fellow Townsville-based NQ Heli-Worx has been noted operating out of Gladstone Airport completing powerline inspection work.

Finally, of interest, Adelaide-based Helistar Aviation Aerospatiale AS355 F2 helicopter VH-SDG has been operating out of Rockhampton Airport also on powerline inspection flights.

All photos taken by Col B  ©