Thursday, February 23, 2017

RAAF Search and Rescue (CHC Helicopters) Sikorsky S-76A VH-LHZ Returns South via Mackay and Gladstone Airports

On Thursday 23 February, Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) Search and Rescue (SAR) Sikorsky S-76A helicopter VH-LHZ was noted heading back South from Townsville, calling into Mackay and Gladstone Airports, while heading back to RAAF Base Amberley.

Fellow RAAF SAR S-76A VH-HRP at Gladstone Airport recently  (File photo)

VH-LHZ - which was heard to be flying as "Choppa 9" - was believed to be returning from Townsville where it provided support to the United States Air Force (USAF) which recently deployed some Lockheed Martin F-22A Raptor fighter aircraft of the 90th Fighter Squadron (90 FS) "The Dicemen" based at Elmendorf in Alaska.

The Raptors deployed from RAAF Base Tindal in the Northern Territory and participated in a wide range of general flying and tactical exercises in the Townsville Field Training Area (TFTA).

Of interest, VH-LHZ is owned by Lloyd Helicopters and operated by CHC Helicopters Australia, and is one of a number of choppers used for RAAF Search and Rescue jobs.

Photos taken by Michael Fleetwood and Leroy  ©

Business Aviation Solutions Challenger 604 Bizjet VH-BLM Calls Into Hervey Bay (Fraser Coast) Airport

Business Aviation Solutions Bombardier CL-600-2B16 Challenger 604 bizjet VH-BLM was noted calling into Hervey Bay (Fraser Coast) Airport around lunch time on Thursday 23 February from its Gold Coast base.

File photo taken by Tony Haynes  ©

After a very short time on the ground it returned South to the Gold Coast.

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Cessna 560 Citation Ultra Bizjet VH-MMC Back at Emerald Airport Once Again - Plus More!

On Tuesday 21 February, the familiar sight of Mackellar Mining Equipment / Flight Options (Australia) Cessna 560 Citation Ultra bizjet VH-MMC was yet again back at Emerald Airport.  It arrived from its Sunshine Coast base.

At the time of writing, it was due to return to the Sunny Coast on Thursday 23 February.

It's also worth noting that a couple of familiar corporate turboprop aircraft have also called into Emerald Airport in recent days, including the Queensland Government (State of Queensland) Raytheon B300 Super King Air VH-SGQ which arrived from Brisbane on Wednesday 22 February.  It departed to Kidston and then Townsville before returning to Brisbane later in the day.

And visiting Emerald Airport once again this week was the smart little Vanderfield Pilatus PC-12/47 VH-WPH which is becoming a very familiar sight at CQ Airports.  As mentioned below, it flew in from Toowoomba and Bundaberg Airports on Monday 20 February before departing back to Toowoomba on Tuesday 21 February.

VH-SGQ also visited Bundaberg Airport on Tuesday 21 February - see Blog post below.

Meanwhile, a bit more bizjet action around CQ with the Queensland Police Service (Airwing) Cessna 560 Citation Ultra bizjet VH-PSU back on prisoner transfer duties on Wednesday 22 February.  It flew from Brisbane to Cairns via Rockhampton and Townsville.  It later returned to the capital over the same route.

And finally, after spending the last month in Sydney, locally-based Embraer EMB-550 Legacy 500 bizjet N142GZ was due to return to its Mackay Airport base on Thursday 23 February.

Local aviation photographer Grahame H captured N142GZ on a busy General Aviation (GA) apron at Sydney Airport on Tuesday 21 February.  N142GZ was due to return to Mackay on Wednesday 22 February but this flight was cancelled.

Grahame runs the fantastic website which features more of his quality images, along with excellent live aircraft tracking resources via ACARS and ADSB.  Check the website out at:

Photos taken by 'AC' and Grahame Hutchison  ©

Skyline Aviation (NSW) MBB BO105 S Helicopter VH-ZXW Also Spotted at Rockhampton Airport

Also spotted at Rockhampton Airport on Wednesday 22 February was another nice helicopter in the form of Messerschmitt Bolkow Blohm MBB BO105 S VH-ZXW.

The German-built helicopter is operated by Skyline Aviation of Marks Point in New South Wales (NSW).

VH-ZXW was reportedly on a flight from North to Mackay Airport but turned back and landed at Rockhampton Airport reportedly due to inclement weather in and around Mackay.  It was earlier noted completing a flight from Balina / Byron Gateway Airport in the Northern New South Wales to the Sunshine Coast.

Sincere thanks to local plane spotter Kayanne H who was at the right place at the right time to capture these great photos!

All photos taken by Kayanne Hardsman  ©

Pacific Helicopters Ltd (PNG) Airbus Helicopters H145 P2-PHC (ex ZK-HPB) Passes Through Whitsunday and Rockhampton Airports

A nice helicopter to pass through parts of Central Queensland during the middle part of this week was Pacific Helicopters Ltd in Papua New Guinea (PNG) Airbus Helicopters H145 P2-PHC.

The smart looking helicopter flew into the Whitsunday Airport at Shute Harbour from points North and then Cooktown and Townsville on Tuesday 21 February.

Then on Wednesday 22 February, P2-PHC flew South to Rockhampton Airport where it was spotted taking on fuel.  It then departed to Brisbane.

Of interest, research reveals that P2-PHC was previously registered ZK-HPB and passed through both Rockhampton and Proserpine (Whitsunday Coast) Airport in July 2016 while on delivery from Airbus Group Australia Pacific (New Zealand) to Pacific Helicopters Ltd in Papua New Guinea.

See more photos of ZK-HPB in our Blog post HERE.

Sincere thanks to local plane spotter Kayanne H for taking the time to capture and send through these great photos!

Photos taken by Kayanne Hardsman  ©

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

And Queensland Government (State of Queensland) Raytheon B300 Super King Air VH-SGQ Spotted at Bundaberg Airport

On Tuesday 21 February, local plane spotter Micah S was on hand at Bundaberg Airport as the Queensland Government (State of Queensland) Raytheon B300 Super King Air VH-SGQ popped in for a couple of hours from Brisbane.

It later returned to the capital.

Meanwhile, on Monday 20 February, the now becoming familiar sight of Vanderfield Pilatus PC-12/47 VH-WPH passed through Bundy arriving from its Toowoomba base and later departing to Emerald Airport.

UPDATE!  Of interest, VH-WPH returned to Bundaberg Airport twice on Wednesday 22 February during a busy day of flying which saw it fly from Toowoomba to Boonah then Bundaberg before continuing to Bowen Airport.  It later returned to Toowoomba over the same route.

Sincere thanks to Micah for taking the time to capture and send through these great photos!

All photos taken by Micah S  ©

Queensland Government (State of Queensland) Raytheon Hawker 850XP Bizjet VH-SGY Pops into Mackay Airport

On Tuesday 21 February, the Queensland Government Airwing (State of Queensland) Raytheon Hawker 850XP VH-SGY was noted visiting Mackay Airport.

VH-SGY at Mackay Airport during a previous visit  (File photo)

It arrived from Brisbane around mid-morning and departed back there during the early part of the afternoon.

It is believed that Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk came to Mackay to visit the local Council and also announce a planned concert by multiple Grammy-winning legend and flamboyant superstar, Elton John.

Photo taken by 'AC'  ©

Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) Airbus A330-203 / KC-30A (MRTT) A39-001 Calls into Rockhampton Airport

On Tuesday 22 February, local plane spotters Kayanne H and Trevor H were on hand as Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) Airbus A330-203 / KC-30A (MRTT) A39-001 touched down at Rockhampton Airport.

This is the second time in as many weeks that a RAAF KC-30A has landed at Rocky on what looked to be a crew training flight.


A39-001 was heard to be using the radio callsign of "Dragon 20" and after landing, taxied and stopped for a short time on  Taxiway Juliette while undergoing a crew change.

After a short time, A39-001 departed Rockhampton Airport for the South, heading towards the Gold Coast before flying on to Amberley.


Sincere thanks to Kayanne and Trevor for taking the time to send through these great photos and videos of a great visitor to the beef capital!

Photos and videos taken by Kayanne Hardsman and Trevor Hardsman  ©

Monday, February 20, 2017

Deer Jet (China) Gulfstream G550 Bizjet B-8108 Departs Hamilton Island Airport - Plus RAAF B737BBJ A36-001 Visits!

Early on Monday 20 February, Deer Jet (China) Gulfstream Aerospace G-V-SP (G550) bizjet B-8108 departed Hamilton Island Airport.  The Gulfstream departed Hamo for Cairns and Honolulu, Hawaii.  It had arrived from Honolulu and Cairns last Friday 17 February.

Ryan Hales /

Meanwhile, also noted visiting Hamilton Island Airport for a very short time on Monday 20 February was Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) Boeing B737-7DT(BBJ) A36-001 which called in from the South on what looked to be a training flight as "Consort 58".  It departed a little later for airwork at Cairns and then Townsville where it also landed for a short time.  A36-001 was then noted returning to the South.

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) Lockheed AP-3C Orion A9-659 at Longreach Airport

On Saturday 18 February, Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) Lockheed AP-3C Orion A9-659 was noted completing airwork at Longreach Airport.  It possibly flew North from RAAF Base Edinburgh in South Australia and was heard to be using the radio callsign "Striker 06".

The "Striker" callsign suggests that it was from 10 Squadron which is based at Edinburgh.

A9-659 continued on to Townsville where local plane spotter Leroy captured these great images above as it was on final approach.

A9-659 was then believed to have departed Townsville for Darwin.

Of interest, also on Saturday 18 February, fellow RAAF Lockheed AP-3C Orion A9-660 which was flying as "Striker 60" was also noted arriving into Townsville from the South but is not believed to have completed airwork while on the way!

All photos taken by Leroy  ©