Thursday, December 18, 2014

What a day at Gladstone Airport! Two Qantas B737-800s Call in on Fly-in Fly-out (FIFO) Charter Flights

Local plane spotter Anthony S enjoyed part of a spectacular day of plane spotting action at Gladstone Airport on Thursday 18 December with a pair of Qantas Airways Boeing B737-800 aircraft operating a pair of Fly-in Fly-out (FIFO) charter flights from Sydney and Brisbane on behalf of local construction and engineering company Bechtel.

Firstly, B737-800 VH-VZV touched down from Sydney, positioning as QFA6104.  It then collected a load of passenger and cargo and later departed back to Sydney as QFA1373.

As VH-VZV was taxiing out for departure, fellow Qantas B737-800 VH-VYB touched down from Brisbane, positioning as QFA6102.

It too collected a load of passengers and cargo and later departed back to Brisbane as QFA1371.

It will be interesting to see if there will be more FIFO charter flights in the lead up to the Christmas period.  It should also be expected that these flights will return to Gladstone perhaps early in the new year.

While he was there, Anthony was also able to capture a couple of the scheduled arrivals into the industrial city - it was certainly a busy time!

QantasLink (Cobham Aviation) Boeing B717-200 VH-NXG was spotted arriving from and departing back to Brisbane as QJE1706/1957.

And Virgin Australia Regional Airlines (VARA) ATR 72-500 VH-FVX was captured as it too arrived from and departed back to Brisbane but as VOZ1711/1714.

Finally, JetGo Australia Embraer E-135 jet VH-JGB operated the early morning JG70/71 and is expected to return later on Thursday 18 December as JG78/79.  And there is another Virgin Australia Embraer E-190 jet expected to call into Gladstone Airport later on Thursday 18 December with VH-ZPD scheduled to operate the late afternoon VOZ1717/1720 service from and back to Brisbane.

Sincere thanks to Anthony for capturing and allowing us to share these spectacular photos of a great day at Gladstone Airport.  Thanks mate!

All photos taken by Anthony Schulz  ©

A Few Interesting Fly-in Fly-out (FIFO) Movements out at Theodore Aerodrome

Late on Tuesday 16 December I noted that FIFO Jet (of Brisbane) Metro II VH-SSV was scheduled to call into Bundaberg Airport but instead touched down at Theodore Aerodrome.  It arrived from Archerfield.

Kerry Raymond /

Research suggests that VH-SSV has visited Theodore most Wednesdays of late possibly on what is a regular Fly-in Fly-out (FIFO) related charter.

Further research reveals that Theodore Aerodrome plays host to quite a few other FIFO charters predominately operated by Seair Cessna 208 Caravans VH-LYT, VH-VCW and VH-OZH (shown below) from and back to either the Sunshine Coast or Brisbane.

Kerry Raymond /

These almost-daily Seair charters are reportedly operated on behalf of Cracow Mine (Evolution Mining).

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

FlyJock Gulfstream G-III Bizjet N734TJ Touches Down at Hamilton Island Airport - Again!

FlyJock Gulfstream G-III bizjet N734TJ touched down at Hamilton Island Airport on Wednesday 17 December from Brisbane.  It arrived from overseas the previous day.

Photo from Far North Queensland Skies Blog  ©

The G-III visited Hamo around this-time last year and is apparently operated by a well-known American radio announcer.  It remains parked at Hamilton Island.

And a Pair of Bizjets Call into Rockhampton Airport - Challenger VH-EVJ & Citation VH-TFW

Tower Holdings Bombardier CL-600-2B16 Challenger 604 bizjet VH-EVJ was spotted calling into Rockhampton Airport from Sydney on Wednesday 17 December.

After about four hours on the ground, VH-EVJ departed back to Sydney.

VH-EVJ is a semi-regular visitor to Rocky given that Tower Holdings are building a new resort across on Great Keppel Island.

Meanwhile, also noted calling into Rockhampton Airport on Wednesday 17 December - and again a fairly regular visitor - was Toowoomba-based Light Jets Australia Cessna 525 Citation CJ1 bizjet VH-TFW.  It arrived from and later departed back to Archerfield.

Thanks to 'IAD' for sending through these great photos from Rockhampton Airport today!

All photos taken by 'IAD'  ©

Another Day Another Bizjet at Bundaberg Airport - Qld Governmnet Hawker 850XP VH-SGY

Late on Tuesday 16 December, Queensland Government Airwing (State of Queensland) Raytheon Hawker 850XP bizjet VH-SGY called into Bundaberg Airport from Brisbane.

After about an hour on the ground, VH-SGY then departed Bundy and was noted performing an ILS approach at Gladstone Airport followed by an overshoot.  It then flew back to Bundaberg where it remained overnight.

VH-SGY was noted departing Bundaberg early on Wednesday 17 December for Brisbane.

File photo taken by Micah S  ©

Meanwhile - Cessna 680 Citation Sovereign Bizjet VH-VPL Calls into Gladstone Airport

Making a surprise but most welcome visit to Gladstone Airport on Wednesday 17 December was Cessna 680 Citation Sovereign bizjet VH-VPL.

File photo taken by Dave  ©

It called in from its Gold Coast base early in the morning and and it is expected to depart back there later on Wednesday.

Meanwhile, JetGo Australia Embraer E-190 has departed Gladstone Airport early on Wednesday 17 December operating the scheduled JG71 service to Sydney.  It had arrived early on Monday 15 December as JG70 from Sydney and remained parked at the Airport for the remainder of Monday and all day Tuesday 16 December.

Virgin Australia Regional Airlines (VARA) ATR 72-500 VH-FVL Departs Gladstone Airport

A little unexpectedly, Virgin Australia Regional Airlines (VARA) ATR 72-500 VH-FVL has finally departed Gladstone Airport late on Tuesday 16 December.  It had been parked at Gladstone Airport since it made an emergency landing last Monday 8 December after shutting down the port engine following a suspected oil pressure problem.

VH-FVL departed to Brisbane on a positioning flight as VOZ9952.

And it seems that the problem has been fixed - VH-FVL was spotted earlier on Tuesday undergoing engine runs.

And VH-FVL also set to resume services for Virgin as early on Wednesday 17 December it is scheduled to operate a return flight to Rockhampton.

Finally, it's also worth noting that another VARA ATR that has had maintenance problems - ATR 72-600 VH-FVR - has returned to Australia following a brief trip to Singapore.

Robert Myers /

It was noted flying in Wagga Wagga late on Monday 15 December.

Photos taken by Col  ©

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Douglas C-47A (DC-3) Dakota 43-48234 Spotted at Rockhampton on its Journey from Mareeba to Caboolture

On our Facebook page, we've been following the progress of the dismantling and subsequent transport of a classic old aircraft in the form Douglas C-47A (DC-3) Dakota 43-48234 "Oklahoma Girl", which has recently been purchased by David Kingshott at Complete Aircraft Care in Caboolture near Brisbane.  The aircraft had for some time been on open display at North Queensland Warbirds (Warbird Adventures) at Mareeba Aerodrome and will be restored to its former glory at Caboolture.

Last week, the C-47A was dismantled and loaded onto on a truck - its wings and tail on another - with transport from Mareeba on its journey South this week to its new temporary home at Caboolture Aerodrome where the aircraft will be exhibited at the Caboolture Warplane and Flight Heritage Museum throughout its restoration.

A third truck joined to convoy carrying the cockpit section of another DC-3 which is all that remains of the old Bush Pilots Australia-coloured DC-3 "VH-BPA" that had been put on a pole at Cairns Airport. The rest of the aircraft unfortunately was scraped as it was believed to be structurally unsound at the time.

File photo

The convoy of trucks travelled from Mareeba to Caboolture via Townsville, Charters Towers, Emerald, Rockhampton and South along the Bruce Highway to Caboolture where it was planned to arrive early on Wednesday 17 December.

Late on Monday 15 December, it was photographed shortly after arriving near Emerald.

On Tuesday 16 November, local plane spotter Kayanne H captured some more photos as the convoy had a rest just outside Rockhampton.

The history of C-47A-30-DK Dakota Serial Number 43-48234 reveals the aircraft was built by Douglas during 1944 at Oklahoma City, and assigned the constructors Number 14050 / 25495. It was delivered to the U. S. Army Air Force (USAAF) with serial number 43-48234 and sssigned to the U. S. Transport Command, seeing operations in the Pacific.

After being stricken from charge in Manila, it was sold to Australia and in March 1947, it was registered as VH-DMV to the Department of Civil Aviation (DCA).  Next, in February 1951 it was registered as VH-CAO and operated for the Department of Civil Aviation (DCA) by Trans Australia Airlines (TAA) until the early 1960s.  In March 1962 it was sold to Brain & Brown Air Freighters Pty Ltd in Melbourne and registered as VH-BAB and converted to a aerial freighter.  By November 1976 the C-47A was owned by Air Express Holdings Pty Ltd and used was until 1979 when its registration was cancelled.

After a period of being on display and being under restoration - including re-painting into the markings of C-47A "Jungle Skippers" 43-48234 code X6A - it was transported to Air World at Wangaratta Airfield and restored to flying condition.  It then was further re-painted in the markings of C-47 "Oklahoma Gal" code X16A and was displayed until the museum closed in January 2002 and was by then no longer in flyable condition.

The Dakota was then sold at auction to owners in New Zealand but was never delivered and instead, was sold to North Queensland Warbirds (Warbird Adventures) where it arrived at Mareeba Aerodrome in January 2005.

Certainly a great old bird!

Photos taken by Kayanne Hardsman and from Caboolture Warplane & Flight Heritage Museum Facebook page  ©