Friday, April 29, 2016

Virgin Australia Embraer E-190 VH-ZPE Also Departs Australia For Good

Also departing Australia this week was Virgin Australia Embraer E-190 jet VH-ZPE which was initially withdrawn from service on Saturday 23 April and departed Brisbane on Tuesday 26 April for Apia (Tonga) and all stops to Nashville (Tennessee) for post lease maintenance.

VH-ZPE on one of its last visits to Gladstone Airport  (File photo)

VH-ZPE is the fourth of five Virgin Australia E-190s that will be withdrawn from the fleet and transferred to operate for Aero Mexico.  VH-ZPD, VH-ZPG and VH-ZPF have already left Australia - see referring Blog post HERE.

VH-ZPE was originally delivered to Virgin Blue at the start of July 2008 and took up the name 'Bluephoria'.  After re-painting into the new Virgin Australia livery, it then wore the name ‘Coogee Beach’.

VH-ZPE at Rockhampton Airport in 2011  (File photo)

VH-ZPE 'Coogee Beach' at Gladstone Airport  (File photo)

VH-ZPE made frequent visits to CQ was looked to make its final visit last Friday 22 April when it operated the VOZ1249/1252 rotation into Rockhampton Airport from and back to Brisbane.

Sad to see them go!

Photos taken by Col  ©

Skytrans / Maroomba Dash-8-100 VH-QQL Departs Australia

Once a common sight at CQ Airports when it operated out of Cairns, Skytrans Airlines Dash-8-100 VH-QQL has recently departed Australia for good at the completion of its lease.  It departed Cairns last Friday 22 April for Majuro in the Marshall Islands and has subsequently been spotted at Honolulu while trekking back to (possibly) Canada.

VH-QQL arrives at Rockhampton Airport  (File photo)

VH-QQL operated all over Queensland on both Regular Passenger Transport (RPT) flights and Fly-in Fly-out (FIFO) charter flights while with Skytrans and I managed to capture it several times when it visited my local airport at Clermont.

VH-QQL at Clermont Aerodrome on FIFO duties  (File photo)

In recent times however, VH-QQL operated flights out of Perth, Western Australia, in the full colours of Maroomba Airlines.

VH-QQL recently spotted at Cairns Airport

VH-QQL was delivered to Skytrans at Cairns in August 2010 as N825EX and entered the Australian register shortly after.

Photos taken by 'IAD' and FNQ Skies Blog  ©

Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) Airbus A330-203 / KC-30A (MRTT) A39-003 Yet Another Missed Approach at Rockhampton Airport

Conducting yet another missed approach at Rockhampton Airport, this time on Friday 29 April, was Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) Airbus A330-203 / KC-30A (MRTT) A39-003.

This particular KC-30A (MRTT) is becoming a familiar sight in the skies over Rocky, completing missed approaches at Rockhampton Airport at least once-per-week for the previous few weeks!

On this occasion, A39-003 was flying as "Dragon 31" and flew North from RAAF Base Amberley to Townsville and called into Rockhampton on its way back South to Amberley.

File photo taken by Kayanne Hardsman  ©

Thursday, April 28, 2016

ex RSAF SIAI Marchetti S-211 Jet Trainer VH-DZJ at Gladstone Airport Thursday

Certainly an interesting nice little aircraft to arrive into Gladstone Airport on Thursday 28 April was Victoria-based SIAI Marchetti S-211 Jet Trainer VH-DZJ.

It initially flew into Gladstone from Dubbo having spent the night there after earlier arriving from Melbourne (Essendon) on Wednesday 27 April.

VH-DZJ reportedly operated a local flight around the Gladstone area a little later on Thursday.  It returned to Gladstone Airport and looked to be spending the night.

VH-DZJ is one of 20 former Republic of Singapore Air Force (RSAF) jet training aircraft that were operated out of RAAF Base Pearce in Western Australia.  VH-DZJ wore the serial number '381' and was retired from service with the RSAF in mid-to-late 2009.

File photo

I captured '381' amongst the other Marchettis in early 2010 after it was placed in storage at Jandakot Airport near Perth in early 2010.

VH-DZJ was first placed on the Australian aircraft register in June 2011 and it was registered to its current operator in Victoria in August 2012.

Of interest, pilot trainees from the RSAF now complete basic flying training on Pilatus PC-21 training aircraft still out of RAAF Base Pearce.

Sincere thanks to Tam D for capturing - and to Col for sending through - these great photos of a great little jet!

Photos taken by Tam Diehm  ©

RAAF Search and Rescue (CHC Helicopters) Sikorsky S-76A VH-HRP "Choppa 3" at Mackay and Gladstone Airports

After one failed attempt, Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) Search and Rescue (CHC Helicopters) Sikorsky S-76A VH-HRP "Choppa 3" was finally noted departing Townsville on Thursday 28 April for RAAF Base Amberley, flying via Mackay and Gladstone Airports.  It had originally departed from Townsville about a fortnight ago however it returned to Townsville due to a maintenance problem.

File photo taken by Michael Fleetwood  ©

"Choppa 3" has been in Townsville during April to provide support during the RAAF's Exercise Black Dagger.  RAAF Pilatus PC-9 aircraft from Number 4 Squadron were spectacularly eight United States Navy (USN) Strike Fighter Squadron VFA-115 F/A-18E Super Hornets from Naval Air Facility Atsugi in Japan, which staged out of Townsville during the Exercise.

File photo taken by Dave  ©

File photo taken by Dave  ©

Exercise Black Dagger is a field training exercise that has been held at RAAF Base Townsville and surrounding airspace over the past couple of weeks.  Exercise Black Dagger is the culmination of Number 55 Joint Terminal Attack Controller (JTAC) course designed to produce combat-ready JTAC-qualified personnel.

Australian Army CH-47F 'Foxtrot' Chinook Helicopters A15-306 & A15-307 Return Home via Rockhampton Airport

On Thursday 28 April, Australian Army Boeing CH-47F 'Foxtrot' Chinook helicopters passed through Rockhampton Airport, believed to be heading home to Townsville after their recent trip to Canberra. They were identified as A15-307 and A15-306.

Both Chinooks were noted to arrive from the South about 15 minutes apart and were heard to be using the radio callsigns of "Brahman 307" and "Brahman 306" respectively.

It is believed that these two Chinooks joined in fellow Army CH-47D A15-202 and CH-47F A15-303 in Canberra as part the transfer ceremony on Tuesday 19 April of the older A15-202 to the Australian War Memorial which will be added to the national collection.  A great article with some awesome photos by Paul Sadler was published on the Australian Aviation website:

What was also interesting to note about these two Chinooks was that their engine intakes and exhaust systems seems to be different - ANY IDEAS WHY?

Sincere thanks to local plane spotter 'IAD' for capturing and sending through these great photos!  I'm sure he enjoyed the sight and sound of the mighty Chinook helicopters both at Rockhampton Airport and then as they departed over his work building!

All photos taken by 'IAD'  ©

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

RAAF Beech B350 Super King Air A32-675 "Dingo 34" Does a Missed Approach at Emerald Airport

On Wednesday 28 April, Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) Beech B350 Super King Air A32-675 was noted completing a missed approach at Emerald Airport while flying from the South to its Townsville base.

File photos taken by Isaac Matthews  ©

It was noted to be flying as "Dingo 32".

McDermott Aviation Group / Machjet International Cessna S550 Citation SII Bizjet VH-JLU Completes Airwork at Gladstone Airport

Yet another bizjet was noted completing airwork in CQ on Wednesday 27 April with McDermott Aviation Group / Machjet International Cessna S550 Citation SII VH-JLU noted completing around an hour of flying around Gladstone and Curtis Island, and at least one missed approach at Gladstone Airport.

VH-JLU on the ground at Gladstone Airport in 2014

It appears that VH-JLU flew out from and back to the Sunshine Coast.

It has been interesting to note several bizjets completing airwork in various parts of CQ over recent days.  Let's hope that this run continues!

File photo taken by Col  ©

Cessna 510 Citation Mustang Bizjet VH-KXM Pops into Longreach Airport Yet Again - And a Few More Lighties!

On Wednesday 27 April, Gulf Coast Aviation Cessna 510 Citation Mustang bizet VH-KXM was noted calling into Longreach Airport once again while on a journey North on from Bankstown to Vanrook Station near Normanton.

File photo

Also touching down in the Central West hub on Wednesday 27 April was a pair of Dick Lang's Dessert-Air Safaris' aircraft in the form of Beech B200 VH-ODI and Piper PA-31-350 VH-ODE.  Both looked to arrive from Innamincka.

It appears they may be returning 'home' to Adelaide after VH-ODI was noted passing through Longreach over the weekend, arriving from Innamincka on Saturday 23 April and departing to Birdsville on Sunday 24 April.

In fact, at the time of writing, both VH-ODI and VH-ODE are scheduled to depart Longreach Airport for Birdsville early on Thursday 28 April.

On Monday 25 April, Gippsaero GA-8 Airvan VH-NLF was noted passing through Longreach Airport, arriving from Charleville and departing to Mount Isa.

Finally, this week, General Aviation Maintenance (GAM) AeroCommander 500-S VH-UJN has picked up the weekday Emerald to Barcaldine to Longreach and back freight run and it made its first visit to Longreach Airport on Tuesday 26 April.

Of interest, fellow GAM AeroCommander VH-UJU operated its final freight flight into Longreach Airport on Friday 22 April.

See more in the post below!

Photos taken by Isaac Matthews and 'AC'  ©

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

A Few Light GA Aircraft Call into Emerald Airport This Week - Incl GAM AeroCommander 500-S VH-UJN

On Tuesday 26 April, a couple of light General Aviation (GA) aircraft called into Emerald Airport from various parts including FKG Air Hawker Beechcraft G58 Baron VH-FKI which touched down early from Toowoomba.

File photo taken by Brendan Berry  ©

Also calling into Emerald Airport on Tuesday was Georgetown-based Piper PA-46-500TP Malibu VH-TPM.  It later departed to Toowoomba.

Arriving into Emerald Airport on Monday 25 April from Toowoomba the was smart little Vanderfield Pilatus PC-12/47 corporate turbo-prop VH-WPH.  After overnighting, it departed to Bourke and Birchip (Victoria) early on Tuesday 26 April.

UPDATE 1!  VH-WPH has since returned to Emerald Airport on Wednesday 27 April, calling in after a direct flight from Horsham (Victoria).

Also on Monday 25 April, Rolleston-based Cessna 310 VH-XBB flew from Consuelo Airport (South of Rolleston) to Townsville and back to Emerald Airport.

Central Queensland's newest airline, Regional Air, operated a charter from Emerald Airport to Inverell in New South Wales with their Piper PA-31-350 VH-RKD positioning from Mackay to Emerald early on Sunday 24 April.  After spending the night at Inverell, VH-RKD returned to Emerald on Monday 25 April before later returning home to Mackay.

On Saturday 23 April, Australian Helicopters Bell 412EP VH-PXY was noted calling into Emerald Airport for fuel while on a flight from Longreach to Rockhampton.  It has had an interesting few weeks with photos of VH-PXY in various parts around Australia being posted on social media.  I have seen photos of VH-PXY operating out of Adelaide and Darwin in recent weeks.

Finally, on Monday 25 April, General Aviation Maintenance AeroCommander 500-S VH-UJN flew into Emerald Airport from Brisbane.  Soon after, fellow GAM AeroCommander VH-UJU departed Emerald for Brisbane.

VH-UJU has been operating the Emerald-Barcaldine-Longreach and return weekday freight flights over the previous couple of weeks since the collapse of the usual provider, Emerald-based Advance Aviation.  It operated its final flight over this run on Friday 22 April.

Meanwhile, VH-UJN operated its first flight on the run to Longreach and back on Tuesday 26 April.

UPDATE 2!  It was interesting to note that fellow GAM AeroCommander 500-S VH-UJI made a late night visit to Emerald Airport on Wednesday 27 April.  It flew in from and then back to Brisbane.