Friday, May 22, 2015

Rockhampton Airport Spotting Locations - UPDATED!!

Updated May 2015.

Rockhampton Airport is situated about 5km west of the City of Rockhampton with Hunter Street being the main access road into the airport. Scheduled passenger services to Rockhampton are operated by Qantas (QantasLink) and Virgin Australia / Virgin Australia Regional Airlines (VARA).

QantasLink flights are mostly operated by Dash-8-Q400 turbo-prop and Cobham Aviation-operated Boeing B717-200 jet aircraft.

Virgin Australia services are mostly operated by their Embraer E-190 and Boeing B737 jet aircraft, or VARA ATR 72-500/600 turbo-prop aircraft.

Alliance Airlines Fokker 70 and Fokker 100 also operate some QantasLink and Virgin Australia services from and back to Brisbane.

Freight services are usually flown on weeknights by Pel-Air Express with SAAB 340A Freighters and Toll Freight Express Metros.

Rockhampton Airport also sees a lot of ad-hoc and heavy-lift charter arrivals, particularly in association with various Australian, Singaporean, and American military exercises, where various military fixed-wing and helicopter aircraft can also be seen.

The terminal has an observation area, however photography is hampered by a fine wire mesh that has been placed over the glass. Views are also blocked by a covered walkway, and also by ground equipment.

Exiting the terminal on foot and heading south past the Qantas Freight and Virgin Australia Freight sheds, spotters will find a nice area for watching aircraft which included a recently installed viewing platform that has been constructed by the Rockhampton Regional Council from a donated set of aircraft stairs.

The platform allows for excellent photographs from a raised position over the main apron and out to taxiway ‘Juliette’ with the main runway 15/33 beyond this. All traffic using the main runway can be seen with Runway 15 departures rotating pretty much in front you. The video below shows a Virgin Australia E-190 taxiing on ‘Juliette’ and parking at its gate after arrival on runway 15 prior to the installation of the stairs.


Moving towards the main apron access gate can allow for further unobstructed views at ground-level either through or over the fence. Heavy aircraft also park in front of this area – at very close quarters.

Another area, shown below, that is popular with spotters, particularly for morning photos, is on the General Aviation side of the airport, which is north of the main terminal building, at Gate 21, adjacent to the Peace Aviation hangar. All traffic for runway 15, either arriving or departing, pass this point, while most traffic on runway 33 can also be seen. The video below shows a Tiger Airways A320 departing runway 15.


To get to this spot, turn right into Canoona Road (as you approach the airport entrance on Hunter Street) and continue on Canoona Road past the northern end of the terminal, the Capricorn Rescue Service (and past the threshold of Runway 22 – also shown below), and the Defence Force camp.

The GA area is accessed by a well-signed access road to the left. Gate 21 is at the end of this access road.

As you drive along the access road towards Peace Aviation, spotters pass by the General Aviation apron and light aircraft parking area.  As shown below, views over the GA apron and the cross-runway 04/22, and further to the main terminal apron can be had from these fencelines adjacent to the Peace Aviation hangar and also in front of the Rockhampton Aero Club building.

Note that the Royal Flying Doctor Service (RDFS) has finished construction of their new patient transfer facilities on the GA side of the Airport and spotters should be aware that limited car-parking is available.

For afternoon photos, some travelling to the other side of the airport is required if you would like the sun at your back. Exiting the GA area back onto Canoona Road, continue away from the terminal to the intersection with Rockhampton-Ridgelands Road. Turn left onto this road and then left again into Nine Mile Road and left again into Edwards Road. Edwards Road leads to Gate 15 which has an excellent view over the threshold area of Runway 15. As shown below there are also distant views to the terminal.

For afternoon views over Runway 33, continue back on Nine Mile Road, and turn left onto Old Nine Mile Road, past the threshold of Rwy 04. Continue until this road turns to gravel and becomes the continuation of Canoona Road, and you can see the runway and further to terminal as in the photo below.

These are just some of the spots available that I have been to over the years. Local spotters can also be found watching the goings on at Rockhampton Airport at Osborne Road (on the East side of the airport off Rockhampton-Ridgelands Road) and at the Rockhampton Golf Club (also on the East side).

Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) Roulettes Aerobatic Display Team Members Land at Gladstone Airport

A pair of Pilatus PC-9/A's of  the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) elite formation aerobatic display team - The Roulettes - have touched down at Gladstone Airport late on Friday 22 May.

Identified as A23-058 and A23-061, the two little PC-9s touched down after a busy day of flying where they were seen overflying Maryborough - where one of the pilots is originally from - and later the Old Station farm at Raglan where one of the aircraft is expected to perform a solo routine in the skies over the Old Station Fly-in on both Saturday 23 May and Sunday 24 May.

I'm told the PC-9s will not be landing at Old Station and instead be 'based' at Gladstone Airport for the next three nights.

The PC-9s were heard to be using the unique radio callsign of "Spitfire" as they flew together to Gladstone.

The flying displays at the Old Station Fly-in are scheduled to commence at 3pm on Saturday and then 10am on the Sunday morning.  I'm really looking forward to the weekend!

Sincere thanks to Col at Gladstone Airport for allowing us to share his great photos!

All photos taken by Col  ©

More ADF MRH-90 Helicopters at Rockhampton Airport and Shoalwater Bay Training Area (SWBTA)

On Friday 22 May more Australian Defence Force (ADF) NH Industries MRH-90 Multi-Role Helicopters were heard flying out of and around the Shoalwater Bay Training Area (SWBTA), with at least one calling into Rockhampton Airport briefly.

A40-004 arriving at Rockhampton last month

Australian Army MRH-90 A40-004 popped in and out of Rocky as "Destria 04".

"Destria 19" presumably A40-019 was also heard transiting Rocky airspace heading North.

A little later, an unidentified Army MRH-90 landed near Rockhampton Airport, while later still, another MRH-90 using the radio callsign "Templar 93" was heard transiting Rocky airspace heading South.

Meanwhile, what was believed to be an Australian Army Eurocopter (ARH) Tiger Helicopter was heard departing Shoalwater Bay as "Nightmare 11".

What a great callsign!

File photo taken by 'IAD'  ©

Careflight Queensland (Aeromed) LearJet 45 Bizjet VH-VVI Pops into Rockhampton Airport Thursday

Careflight Queensland (Aeromed) LearJet 45 VH-VVI called into Rockhampton Airport late on Thursday 21 May on what was believed to be a med-evac from Brisbane.

After a couple of hours on the ground, VH-VVI departed Rockhampton heading back to the capital.

VH-VVI was heard to be using its usual radio callsign of "Ambulance 451".

Thanks to local plane spotter 'IAD' who captured these great photos as the LearJet touched down just around sunset.

All photos taken by 'IAD'  ©

A Pair of Flight Options (Australia) Citation Bizjets VH-MHO & VH-MMC at Proserpine Airport

A nice pair of Sunshine Coast-based Flight Options (Australia) Cessna Citation bizjets have been noted calling into Proserpine / Whitsunday Coast Airport this week.

VH-MHO at Cairns last year

Cessna 510 Citation Mustang VH-MHO - which is in fact registered in West Australia - called into Prosie from Jandakot and Alice Springs on Wednesday 20 May.  It looks to be still on the ground.

Meanwhile, Cessna 560 Citation Ultra bizjet VH-MMC visited Proserpine for the day on Thursday 21 May.

FIle photo taken by the FNQ Skies Blog  ©

Thursday, May 21, 2015

MK Air Dassault Falcon 7X Bizjet M-GMKM Calls into Hamilton Island Airport

A real beauty in the form of MK Air (of Newcastle, New South Wales) Dassault Falcon 7X bizjet M-GMKM touched down at Hamilton Island Airport on Thursday 21 May.  It arrived from its Mildura base and Melbourne (Essendon).

I believe that M-GMKM was on the Australian aircraft register until 2014 as VH-MQK.

It remains parked at Hamilton Island.

Meanwhile, also returning to Hamilton Island, also from Essendon was Shortstop Jet Charter British Aerospace BAe-125-1000B bizjet VH-LMP.  It is becoming a regular visitor to Hamo.

Sincere thank to Adelaide plane spotter Tony H for allowing us to share his great photos!

All photos taken by Tony Haynes  ©

A Few GA Visitors to Longreach Airport - Incl Brescon Beech B200 VH-WXN & Bill Peach / Corporate Air SAAB 340B VH-VEM

Interesting to note that Toowoomba-based Brescon Beech B200 VH-WXN has made four visits to Longreach Airport over the last week or so.

File photo

It has made two return trips from Toowoomba to the Brisbane West Wellcamp Airport and then to Century Mine via Longreach and Cloncurry.  On Thursday 21 May, VH-WXN called into Longreach from Cloncurry and departed to Wellcamp and then Toowoomba.

Also calling into Longreach Airport on Thursday 21 May was Port MacQuarie-based Beech A36 Bonanza VH-WBP along with West Australia-based SOCATA TBM-850 (700N) VH-TBM.

Van's RV-10 VH-IXG departed home to Inverell in New South Wales on Wednesday 20 May.  It had arrived in the Central West the previous week.

Also heading home on Wednesday 20 May but to the Sunshine Coast was Cirrus SR22 VH-MCX.

One notable arrival on Tuesday 19 May was Corporate Air / Vee H Aviation SAAB 340B VH-VEM.  I'm told that the aircraft has been spotted in the Northern Territory wearing a 'Bill Peach Journeys' sticker and is thus operating a tour through regional Australia.

Brisbane-based Pilatus PC-12/47E VH-VTF also called into Longreach on Tuesday 19 May but from Archerfield.  It departed to Glenormiston and Mount Isa.

And last week on Friday 15 May, Great Western Aviation Piper PA-31 flew into Longreach from Archerfield and departed to Brisbane, while Avlease Cessna 402C VH-UBZ touched down from Alice Springs on Tuesday 12 May.

Business Aviation Solutions Cessna 650 Citation VII Bizjet VH-DHN at Gladstone Airport

Business Aviation Solutions Cessna 650 Citation VII bizjet VH-DHN called into Gladstone Airport early on Wednesday 20 May.  It arrived from its Gold Coast base.

VH-DHN departed in the early evening on Wednesday heading home to the Gold Coast.

Then - much to my surprise at least! - VH-DHN returned to Gladstone again from the Gold Coast during the early afternoon on Thursday 21 May.  It again departed back to the Gold Coast.

Meanwhile, on the lighter side of aircraft, a couple of interesting General Aviation (GA) movements at Gladstone Airport have included Beech A36 Bonanza VH-RMM which visited on Wednesday 20 May, while Cirrus SR22 VH-PGU popped in on Tuesday 19 May.

File photo taken by Jamie C  ©

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

AirServices / Pearl Aviation Super King Air VH-FIY - Plus Police Cessna 208 Caravan VH-PSY - at Mackay Airport

On Tuesday 19 May, AirServices Australia / Pearl Aviation Hawker Beechcraft B300 Super King Air VH-FIY touched down at Mackay Airport from Brisbane.

On Wednesday 20 May, VH-FIY then operated a sortie of around four hours around Mackay Airport, reportedly to calibrate a replacement VOR at Mackay.  It looks to be operating another sortie on Thursday 21 May before returning to Brisbane.  VH-FIY has been noted using the radio callsign of "AusCal 03".

Also calling into Mackay Airport on Wednesday 20 May was the Queensland Police Service (Airwing) Cessna 208 Caravan VH-PSY.

VH-PSY seems to be operating the three-times-a-week prisoner transfer flights up and down the Queensland coast as it was also noted calling into Mackay and also Rockhampton on Monday 18 May and also last Friday 15 May.

All photos taken by 'AC'  ©

Recent Extra Alliance Airlines Fokker Jet Movements - And a Few Interesting Lighties - At Emerald Airport

It's been interesting to note some extra visits by Alliance Airlines jets at Emerald Airport over the last couple of weeks.  The extra visits have not only on their five-times-a-week Fly-in Fly-out (FIFO) / RPT services from and back to Brisbane, but Alliance Fokker jets have also been noted operating some services on behalf of QantasLink.

File photo

On Wednesday 20 May, Alliance Fokker F-70s VH-QQY operated the UTY1070/1071 FIFO charter flight, while fellow F-70 VH-JFB operated a pair of RPT services on behalf of QantasLink from and back to Brisbane as UTY2636/2637/2638/2639.

Alliance Fokker F-100 VH-FKA and VH-QQY were also noted operating into Emerald for QantasLink on Sunday 17 May and Thursday 14 May respectively.

Finally, on Friday 8 May, Alliance F-100 VH-FKG flew into Emerald on the UTY4066 FIFO flight from Brisbane.  It then positioned to Townsville as UTY994.  Meanwhile, F-70 VH-JFB positioned to Emerald from Townsville as UTY993 before operating the return UTY4067 FIFO flight to Brisbane.

As well as these various Alliance jet movements at Emerald, there has also been a nice variety of light General Aviation (GA) aircraft to also call in over the last couple of weeks.

The Queensland Government (State of Queensland) Raytheon B300 Super King Air VH-SGQ called into Emerald on Tuesday 19 May and departed to Alpha on Wednesday 20 May.

A pair of Dubbo-based Air Link turbo-props have been noted calling into Emerald over the last week or so with Piper PA-31-350 Navajo VH-DVR calling in after a busy day of flying on Monday 18 May.  It departed the next back to Dubbo.

Air Link Navajo VH-DVR  (File photo)

Meanwhile, Air Link Cessna 310R VH-BWQ also called into Emerald but last Sunday 10 May.  It arrived from Dubbo and later departed to Cairns.

Fellow Cessna 310s VH-CWZ and VH-BUI were also noted calling into Emerald on Monday 18 May and Monday 11 May respectively.  Also J.M. Kelly (Project Builders) Cessna 310 VH-FFA visited Emerald on Thursday 14 May from Rockhampton.

Thursday 14 May turned out to be quite a busy day with a couple of other lighties calling into Emerald during with day including Edwards Coaches Cessna 441 VH-OXY popping in from Winton and later departing to Brisbane.  Melbourne-based Cessna T303 Crusader VH-LMN visited while flying from Proserpine (Whitsunday Coast) Airport to its Melbourne (Moorabbin) base.  Palmyra-based Cessna 182 VH-FUJ, Mackay-based Piper PA-28-235 VH-DRA and Columbia LC41-550FG VH-LCW were also noted visiting on Thursday 14 May.