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!

Capricorn Helicopter Rescue Crash Victims Remembered

The five victims of Queensland's worst helicopter crash will be remembered today on the anniversary of the tragedy.

In the early hours of 24 July 2000, Bell 206 VH-FFI was operating a rescue flight, taking a sick five-year-old boy to hospital. The helicopter crashed in darkness and heavy fog, in a field near Marlborough in Central Queensland. The boy, his mum, and three crew lost their lives in the crash.

The Capricorn Helicopter Rescue Service had flown to pick up the five-year-old boy with breathing problems from a remote property northwest of Rockhampton.

In 2003, an inquest found low fuel was to blame for the crash and heavy fog had been a significant factor.

File photo taken by Phil M  ©

Pictured above is the Capricorn Helicopter Rescue Service's current chopper - Australian Helicopters-operated Bell 412EP VH-EPR - departing from the Rockhampton Airport base after some recent maintenance.

Our Airline B737-300 VH-NLK at Gladstone Airport on FIFO - Plus B737-300F VH-VLI Arrives at Brisbane - And a Name Change!

Local plane spotter Anthony S ventured to Gladstone Airport early on Wednesday 23 July to capture the departure of Our Airline (Air Nauru) Boeing B737-300 VH-NLK as RON915 to Brisbane completing another Fly-in Fly-out (FIFO) rotation.

It arrived at Gladstone the previous evening on Monday 22 July as RON914.

It's worth highlighting that also on Tuesday 23 July, Our Airline received Boeing B737-3H6(SF) Freighter VH-VLI in Brisbane after the aircraft had spent some time in storage in Malaysia.  Information suggests that VH-VLI will undergo a 'C-Check' in Brisbane before entering service.

Eagle-eyed readers will also note that in Brisbane spotter Lloyd F's photo, VH-VLI wears "Nauru Airlines" titles.  It has been reported that Our Airline will be re-branding to Nauru Airlines from Friday 1 August.

It is assumed that their fleet of B737-300 passenger aircraft - VH-NLK, VH-INU and VH-PNI - will all have these new titles applied in the coming weeks.

Something else for Gladstone plane spotters to look out for!

Thanks Anthony and Lloyd for sharing these great images!

Photos taken by Anthony Schulz and Lloyd Fox  ©

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

A Real Beauty Spotted at Longreach Airport - Air Nostalgia (Australasian Jet) DC-3 VH-TMQ

Ben M has sent through some stunning photos of Air Nostalgia (Australasian Jet) Douglas DC-3 VH-TMQ parked at Longreach Airport while on a round-Australia journey on Wednesday 23 July.

VH-TMQ arrived at Longreach from Charters Towers, where it arrived the previous day from Cairns.

VH-TMQ - built as a Douglas C-47B-30-DK (c/n 16136-32884) at the Douglas Oklahoma City plant in March 1945 - has had a colourful life with delivery initially to the United States Army Air Force before it was delivered to Australia in April 1945 on lend / lease to the Royal Australia Air Force (RAAF) where it was allocated the Serial Number A65-91.

After flying more than 13000 hours with the RAAF, VH-TMQ was sold to Golden West Airways, in Queensland in January 1986 and then Rebel Air in December 1987 when it was entered onto the Australian Aircraft Register as VH-TMQ.  It was used in an ABC television documentary in Melbourne before being sold to Splitters Creek Airlines in June 1995.  In July 1996 VH-TMQ was sold to Air Nostalgia with the aircraft being completely restored with upgraded seating for 28 passengers.  After four years, it was test flown at Melbourne (Essendon) Airport in March 2000 and began operating charter and evening flights from Essendon.

VH-TMQ was finally registered to Australasian Jet in 2009, with the registered operator being Gooney Bird Pty Ltd at Essendon.

VH-TMQ remains parked in front of the old Longreach Airport terminal, with a departure day and time yet to be confirmed.

A really fantastic sight at Longreach Airport - and some really fantastic photos captured by Ben!  We thank him sincerely for sending them through!

Additional information on VH-TMQ from Aussie Airliners website  (

All photos taken by Ben M  ©

Australian Army Boeing CH-47D Chinook Helicopter A15-201 at Mackay Airport Wednesday

Australian Army Boeing CH-47D Chinook helicopter A15-201 called into Mackay Airport on Wednesday 23 July.  The 'chook' - carrying the names "Courage" and also "Rough and Reddy", which it was reportedly given during some four years of operations in Afghanistan - arrived from Townsville.

It is believed that A15-201 departed back to Townsville using the radio callsign of "Brahman 201".

Thanks 'AC' for capturing some great photos of the Chinook!

All photos taken by 'AC'  ©

Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) Boeing C-17A Globemaster III A41-208 Missed Approach at Rockhampton Airport Wednesday

Catching everyone by surprise on Wednesday 23 July was Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) Boeing C-17A Globemaster III A41-208, which performed a missed approach at Rockhampton Airport during the morning.

File photo

It was heard climbing out over Rockhampton after the missed approach and noted using the radio callsign of "Stallion 53".

A Pair of Van's Ultralight Aircraft at Mackay and Rockhampton Airports Recently

Van's Aircraft is an American kit aircraft manufacturer, founded by Richard "Van" VanGrunsven in 1973.  The Van's factory is located at Aurora State Airport, Oregon in the USA.  Van's RV series of aircraft, from the single-seat RV-3 to the latest RV-14, are all-aluminum, low-wing monoplanes of monocoque construction. 

According the Wikipedia, the RV series of aircraft has been extremely successful, and by the end of 2012, about 8000 RV kits have been completed and flown, and thousands more are under construction. Completion rates currently average about 1.5 per day, making the series one of the most numerous of all homebuilt aircraft. 

Van's RV-10 VH-OSH at Gladstone Airport recently  (File photo taken by Michael Fleetwood  ©)

Here in Central Queensland, a recently registered Van's RV-10 four-seat aircraft - VH-XTE - has recently completed test flights out of Mackay Airport, and on Sunday 20 July, it departed Mackay for Hervey Bay.

Also, Van's RV-8 two-seat aircraft - VH-KVP - departed Rockhampton Airport on Thursday 17 July for Cairns - where it was snapped by the FNQ Skies Blog.  

Photo taken by FNQ Skies Blog  ©

On Sunday 20 July, VH-KVP returned to Rocky from Cairns.

Really successful and and smart looking little aircraft in my opinion!

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

RAAF Boeing B737-700(BBJ) A36-001 at Mackay and Rockhampton Airports - Plus a Rocky Few Lighties too!

Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) Boeing B737-7DT(BBJ) A36-001 dropped in to Rockhampton Airport for a brief visit on Tuesday 22 July.

A36-001 was noted to fly from Mackay and also perform a missed approach at Mackay Airport before flying South to Rockhampton Airport for a landing.

Local plane spotter 'IAD' was on hand to capture some great images as A36-001 parked on the Southern end of the Rockhampton Airport apron.  Soon after, it departed to the Sunshine Coast, using the radio callsign of "Envoy 26".

While he waited for the RAAF BBJ to arrive at Rocky, 'IAD' managed to capture some great images of some of the many and varied light aircraft to call into Rockhampton Airport on Tuesday 22 July.  These included Shadforth's Plant Hire Raytheon (Beech) C90A VH-JEO, which departed to Mackay after earlier arriving from the Sunshine Coast.

Plus a trio of locally-based aircraft were spotted, including Mooney M20TN VH-JEU which arrived from Bankstown.  

Another Mooney M20J VH-SGJ also called into Rocky on Tuesday 22 July, arriving from and later departing back to its Cairns base.

Locally-based Cessna U206G was spotted departing but for parts unknown.

Peace Aviation's Cessna 172 VH-OCN was also photographed departing on a local flight.

And finally, the Rockhampton Aero Club's Cessna 172 VH-ZDX was photographed by 'IAD'.  It appeared to make a flight to St Lawrence and back to Rocky on Tuesday.

Some great photos from Rockhampton on Tuesday, and we thank 'IAD' sincerely for sending them through!

All photos taken by 'IAD'  ©

A Couple of Photos from Mackay Airport - Citation VH-PWX & Jetstar A320 VH-XSJ - Plus QantasLink / Cobham Accommodation Dramas!

From Mackay Airport comes a few photos of a couple of visitors over recent days, including- on Tuesday 22 July - an early morning photo of Special Mining Services / Flight Options (Australia) Cessna 510 Citation Mustang VH-PWX which arrived the previous day from Bankstown.

Also early on Tuesday 22 July, QantasLink (Cobham Aviation) Boeing B717-200 VH-NXD was captured preparing for departure to Brisbane on a scheduled service as QJE1771.

As mentioned below, VH-NXD - and its crew - had an interesting overnight away from home on Monday 21 July.  After arriving into Mackay as QJE1770 late on Monday, VH-NXD then departed to Rockhampton as QJE6201.  I am told that this re-positioning flight was to enable to flight-crew and cabin-crew to be accommodated in Rockhampton overnight as there was no accommodation available in Mackay due to the massive Queensland Mining and Engineering Exhibition (QME) which is currently underway in the sugar city.

VH-NXD departed Rocky before dawn on Tuesday 22 July, touching down back in Mackay as QJE6200, before it departed to Brisbane as described above.

At the time of writing, fellow QantasLink (Cobham Aviation) B717-200 VH-NXH was seemingly going to do the same thing late on Tuesday 22 July.

Finally, another notable movement at Mackay Airport early on Tuesday 22 July was Jetstar Airways Airbus A320 VH-XSJ which is Jetstar's latest A320 to join their fleet.  It operated the morning JST882/883 scheduled service from and back to Brisbane.

While VH-XSJ is no stranger to Mackay or CQ, it is the first time that it has been 'caught on film'.  VH-XSJ was delivered to Jetstar in early April, and was formally 9V-JST with Singapore-based Jetstar Asia Airways - an Asian off-shoot of Jetstar Airways.  It is an older A320 and does not feature sharklets (winglets) that the newer A320s that Jetstar have received in recent months.

All photos taken by 'AC'  ©

Monday, July 21, 2014

Citation Mustang Bizjet VH-PWX and Qld Gvt King Air VH-SGQ Touch Down at Mackay Airport for Queensland Mining and Engineering Exhibition (QME)

Presumably in town for this week's Queensland Mining and Engineering Exhibition (QME) to held at the Mackay Showgrounds, a few interesting aircraft have called into Mackay Airport including - so far - a bizjet and Queensland Government turbo-prop.

On Monday 21 July, Cessna 510 Citation Mustang VH-PWX arrived into Mackay from Bankstown Airport in Sydney.  The little bizjet is owned and operated by Special Mining Services / Flight Options (Australia) and, at the time of writing, remains parked at Mackay Airport.

File photo taken by Don Williams  ©

Later on Monday 21 July, the Queensland Government (State of Queensland) Raytheon B300 Super King Air VH-SGQ was also noted to call in to Mackay Airport but from Brisbane.

There is also the possibility of the Queensland Government Hawker 850XP bizjet VH-SGY, along with the remote chance of a RAAF bizjet to call in to Mackay Airport over the next few days.

Meanwhile, a strange couple of movements late on Monday 21 July from QantasLink (Cobham Aviation) Boeing B717-200 VH-NXD, which touched down at Mackay Airport about 9pm on the scheduled QJE1770 flight from Brisbane.  A little later, VH-NXD departed Mackay for Rockhampton as QJE6201.  It was expected to return to Mackay from Rocky before dawn on Tuesday 22 July as QJE6200, before resuming 'normal' service and operating the early morning QantasLink departure from Mackay to Brisbane as QJE1771.