Monday, September 1, 2014

Virgin Australia Embraer E-190 Jet VH-ZPO Calls into Gladstone Airport Sunday Evening

Virgin Australia Embraer E-190 jet VH-ZPO made a welcome visit to Gladstone Airport late on the afternoon of Sunday 31 August.  It was operating the scheduled VOZ1717 service from Brisbane.

Local plane spotter Anthony S was on hand to capture its arrival.

It later departed back to Brisbane as VOZ1720.

Meanwhile, also spotted by Anthony calling into Gladstone late on Sunday 31 August was QantasLink (Cobham Aviation) Boeing B717-200 VH-NXJ which was captured touching down also from Brisbane but as QJE1716.

He also spotted the locally-based Air Charter CQ / Australia by Seaplane De Havilland Canada DHC-2 Beaver Mk1 Floatplane VH-IDO returning to Gladstone after completing one of its many flights to the nearby Heron Island.

Finally, Anthony captured a great photo of the new Gladstone Airport fire station - complete with its two fire trucks resting the late afternoon sunshine.

Consecutive increases in travelers has led to the requirement of the $10-million AirServices Australia Aviation Rescue Fire Fighting service dedicated to the travelling public at Gladstone Airport.  The local Gladstone Observer newspaper recently took a look at the recently completed fire station, which, following inspections and testing, was expected to be operational by the start of September.

Take a look at the Gladstone Observer's great report - including photos and a video - HERE.

Australian legislation declares that airports with more than 350,000 passengers per annum for consecutive years, require their own fire fighting services. The station has two second-hand trucks, with three commanders and 15 firefighters.  One commander and four firefighters are on shift at any one time.

Sincere thanks to Anthony for capturing these great photos and allowing us to share them with you all!

All photos taken by Anthony Schulz  ©

CQ Plane Spotting Historic Spot - Antonov Airlines (Antonov Design Bureau) Antonov AN-124-100M-150 UR-82073

This month, I thought I'd share some of my photos from Friday 5 October 2007 when Antonov Airlines (Antonov Design Bureau) Antonov AN-124-100M-150 UR-82073 called into Rockhampton Airport.

The giant Ukrainian-registered aircraft delivered several Republic of Singapore Air Force (RSAF) Boeing AH-64D Apache Helicopters to Rockhampton to participate in the Singapore Armed Force's Military Exercise Wallaby which is held annually in the nearby Shoalwater Bay Training Area (SWBTA).

With the 2014-version of Exercise Wallaby starting on Monday 15 September, Rockhampton Airport is again set to play host to several RSAF Apache helicopters, along with RSAF Aerospatiale / Eurocopter AS332M Super Puma and Boeing CH-47SD Chinook helicopters.  There are rumours floating around of two arrivals from a giant Antonov AN-124 transport plane around Saturday 6 September and again around Tuesday 9 September, bringing some of the RSAF helicopters into Rockhampton Airport.  The rumours are suggesting that Antonov Airlines will be operating the uplifts this year, with UR-82008 being the aircraft.  As shown below, this particular AN-124 has visited Perth, Darwin and Adelaide already this year!

Ben Cambridge /

Stay tuned to the CQ Plane Spotting Blog - and our Facebook page and Twitter feed - for all the latest updates!

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Australian Army NH Industries MRH-90 Helicopter A40-029 Pops into Rockhampton Airport Sunday

Making it a double surprise for plane spotters in Rockhampton this weekend, Australian Army NH Industries MRH-90 Multi-Role Helicopter A40-029 called into Rocky Airport on Sunday 31 August.

It flew in from the south and later departed further north to Townsville.

A40-029 was heard to be using the radio callsign of "Poseidon 29" and is believed that this MRH-90 is on delivery to the 5th Aviation Regiment in Townsville.

Thanks to 'IAD' for capturing these great photos!

All photos taken by 'IAD'  ©

Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) Airbus A330-203 / KC-30A (MRTT) A39-004 Calls into Rockhampton Airport

Making a rare weekend visit to Rockhampton Airport, Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) Airbus A330-203 / KC-30A (MRTT) A39-004 was photographed by local plane spotters Kayanne H and 'IAD' as it approached and then touched down as "Dragon 23" from RAAF Base Amberley on Saturday 30 August.

The KC-30 parked on Gate 6 at the southern end of the Rockhampton Airport parking apron. It came to Rocky to transport troops back south to Amberley.

After about an hour on the ground, A39-004 departed Rocky again as "Dragon 27".

Certainly a great sight and sound - and certainly a wonderful surprise weekend arrival into Rockhampton!

Thanks to 'IAD' and Kayanne H for sending through their awesome images!

All photos taken by Kayanne Hardsman and 'IAD'  ©

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Also Spotted at Rockhampton Airport - Virgin B737-800 VH-VOL in New Colours & Alliance Fokker 100 VH-XWN

The recent military movements into Rockhampton Airport haven't been the only interesting visitors over recent days.  Touching down twice at Rockhampton Airport on Friday 29 August was Virgin Australia Boeing B737-800 VH-VOL which has recently been repainted into Virgin's new livery.

VH-VOL initially operated the morning VOZ1235/1238 service from and back to Brisbane, before returning later in the day operating the VOZ1243/1246 service also from and back to Brisbane.

VH-VOL has been noted wearing the new name of "Newport Beach".  It is believed that VH-BZG has now entered the paintshop in Townsville.

Meanwhile after the sun went down on Friday 29 August, Alliance Airlines Fokker F-100 VH-XWN also touched down at Rockhampton Airport.  It appeared to be operating a scheduled service on behalf Virgin Australia as it was noted operating the VOZ1249/1252 service from and back to Brisbane.

File photo taken by Travis Whiting  ©

Alliance Airlines Fokker 100s have been noted operating at least one flight per day over recent days on behalf of Virgin including flights to Mackay, Townsville and Cairns.  As mentioned below, VH-XWS called into Rockhampton and Gladstone Airports on Tuesday 26 August, although this was believed to be a flight operated on behalf of QantasLink.

A Trip Report and Photos from JetGo Australia's RPT Route Proving Flight from Sydney to Roma Airport

I had the special privilege of being invited by Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Jason Ryder to join the JetGo Australia Regular Passenger Transport (RPT) Route Proving Flight from Sydney to Roma on Friday 29 August.

JetGo's Embraer ERJ-135LR VH-JGB was tasked with flying the passengers - consisting mostly of JetGo operations staff and representatives from the Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) - North from a wet and miserable Sydney to the beautiful sun-bathed Western-Downs town of Roma.

The route proving flight was the opportunity for JetGo to demonstrate, and have its written policies and practices assessed, prior to them starting RPT flights out of Sydney in the future.  Jason Ryder told me that Roma was only the first destination for RPT flights out of Sydney, with other Central Queensland cities including Bundaberg, Gladstone and Rockhampton all mentioned as possible future candidates for RPT services.  He hopes to introduce RPT flights with the ERJ-135s along with the soon-to-be delivered EMB-140 jet aircraft.  They actually look and feel like you're riding in a bizjet!

The flight started with us all checking-in and having bags weighed and checked.  Boarding passes were issued and VH-JGB was boarded via a bus trip from Terminal 3 at Sydney Airport to the General Aviation (GA) Area.

Once we'd taken our seats (I was in 8C - a window on the right-hand side) CASA staff proceeded to enact several 'scenarios' that were given during the day to assess JetGo's policies and procedures.  I was given the scenario of not fastening my seat belt prior to the final check before take-off.  As it happens, the passenger in the exit-row behind was given a 'scenario' that he could not assist in an emergency and thus had to be re-seated.  He was swapped with me and as a result I was seated in the exit-row for the flight North.

After a short wait for departure out of Sydney, we were airborne off Runway 16R (and captured by Sydney plane spotter Bernie P) and heading North.  A snack was about to be served when another 'scenario' of a passenger using a mobile phone in the toilet was acted out.

The flight to Roma was very smooth.  It was notable how the view out the window changed as we flew closer to country Queensland - dry and brown - and not a cloud in the sky.  We landed on Runway 18 at Roma and back-tracked and parked on the apron.

After landing the JetGo were very accommodating with allowing me to snap a couple of photos inside the Embraer ERJ-135LR both of the cabin - with its 37 seats - and of the flight deck - which both captains agreed was a delight to work in!

A few photos outside the aircraft in Roma as we then had to check-in again for the flight back to Sydney.

Again VH-JGB was loaded - all under CASA scrutiny - and soon we taxied out then backtracked and departed off Runway 18 heading South.

One of the more serious 'scenarios' was then acted out shortly after we received a snack - we were to 'make an emergency diversion and landing at Moree Airport'.  We didn't actually divert to Moree - we maintained a steady 37000 feet in the cruise - but the flight attendant and flight crew addressed the passengers as if there was to be a real emergency landing - complete with an emergency brace for landing.

Quite a surreal experience!

After that 'scenario' was completed, it was a pretty uneventful remainder of the flight.  We soon after were descending into Sydney, landing on Runway 16L.

VH-JGB was again parked on the GA Apron and we were bussed back to the terminal.  Some JetGo staff and CASA officials remained with the aircraft to discuss the flight.  The good news - as reported by JetGo later on their Facebook page ( - was that they successfully 'passed' the route proving flight with CASA!  Well done guys and all the best for the future of your RPT operations!  We certainly look forward to seeing you in Central Queensland!

My sincere thanks again to Jason Ryder - CEO of JetGo Australia - for providing me wtih this unique experience which I can share with you all!

Additional photos taken by Bernie Proctor  ©