Wednesday, November 30, 2011

American Gulfstream Bizjet at Gladstone Airport Wednesday

Reports that an American Gulfstream G450 bizjet was at Gladstone Airport on Wednesday 30 November.  It is believed to be registered N703LH.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Polet Aviakompania (Polet Airlines) Antonov AN-124 RA-82077 at Rockhampton Airport

Polet Aviakompania (Polet Airlines) Antonov 124-100 RA-82077 arrived at Rockhampton Airport on Sunday 27 November, as "POT4765" from Perth, touching down around 10am in the morning.

It was a beautiful day for photos, and as Ben O's pictures show, the giant Antonov was loaded almost immediately with four Republic of Singapore Air Force (RSAF) Boeing AH-64D Apache helicopters, and one RSAF Eurocopter AS332M Super Puma helicopter.

The four Apaches - serials 065, 066, 063, and 067 - were loaded one at a time.

Super Puma '281' was prepared and then slowly loaded into the Antonov.

The loading was done by the middle of the afternoon, and the Antonov was refueled and closed up for the night. It is believed to be leaving in the early hours of Monday morning bound for Singapore.

Mining Giant Denies Plan to Mine Blackwater Airport

From The Central Queensland News:

Mining giant BMA has hit back at claims the company has made plans to mine the Blackwater Airport.

A spokeswoman for the company yesterday said there were no plans to mine the area, 3km west of the town and therefore outside the State Government's 2km buffer zone of resource communities.

"While the airstrip is located on the Blackwater mine lease, BMA is not currently planning to mine the area. BMA will inform and work with the community should there be any change to the situation," the spokeswoman said.

Since commercial flights to the Blackwater Airport ceased last year, BMA has continued to maintain and make available the airstrip for emergency medical services.

Blackwater Airport also sees several fly-in fly-out (FIFO) charter flights touching down most weeks.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Polet Aviakompania (Polet Airlines) Antonov 124 Expected at Rockhampton Airport Sunday

Information from various sources suggests that Polet Aviakompania (Polet Airlines) Antonov 124-100 RA-82077 will be touching down at Rockhampton Airport in the early hours of Sunday 27 November as POT4765 from Perth.

Sistership, RA-82075, visited Rockhampton Airport in late September.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Singapore Defence Force Exercise Wallaby Just About Finished

As mentioned in a previous Blog post, the Singapore Defence Force Exercise Wallaby 2011 has finished, and the packing up is in full swing.

Arriving into Rockhampton Airport this week has been the final four Singapore Airlines charters to transport personnel back to Singapore.

On Tuesday 22 November, Boeing B777-200 9V-SQE operated as SIA8931/8932.

On Wednesday 23 November, B777-200 9V-SQF (pictured below) operated as SIA8931/8932 and 9V-SQC operated at SIA8935/8936.

Finally, on Thursday 24 November, B777-200 9V-SQE returned once again as SIA8931/8932.

Seemingly the only equipment that is left at Rockhampton Airport now is the four Republic of Singapore Air Force (RSAF) Boeing AH-64 Apache helicopters. As Ben O showed earlier in the week, they have had their rotars removed, and have been prepared for transportation back to Singapore.

An Antonov 124 freighter is expected to arrive into Rockhampton sometime over the next couple of days - latest word is arriving Sunday 27 November - to take the choppers home.

In all it's been a pretty quiet exercise this year - one of the longest I can remember - with only RSAF helicopters supporting the ground exercises in the Shoalwater Bay Training Area. Spotters are looking forward to next year already and the hope of the return of some fast jets!!

Survey Aircraft VH-TEQ at Gladstone Airport

Seen resting at Gladstone Airport on Thursday 24 November was 2008 New Zealand built Pacific Aerospace (PAC) 750XL, VH-TEQ.

The aircraft is operated by Thomson Aviation in New South Wales, and has a the tail boom extending from the back of the plane suggests, it is used in Geophysical Surveys.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Clermont Aerodrome Fly-In Fly-Out (FIFO) Movements on Wednesday

A somewhat busy afternoon and evening at Clermont Aerodrome on Wednesday 23 November.

Arriving just after 4pm was Raytheon B300 Super King Air VH-WXC.

This very attractive looking aircraft is operated by Coastwings / Sutherland Aviation in Brisbane. It has been noted operating fly-in fly-out (FIFO) charter flights throughout central Queensland in recent weeks.

The colour scheme is very distinctive, and is from the aircraft's former operator Titan Airways of Great Britain.

Later AeroComander 500-S VH-JPO - which is registered in New South Wales - arrived.

These two aircraft seemed to wait for the arrival of Skytrans Dash-8-100 VH-QQJ, which touched down at about 5pm.

This FIFO charter is operated for a different company to the usual flights we see at Clermont. This Wednesday afternoon arrival seems to occur every second week, and is believed to operate from the Sunshine Coast Airport to Clermont and return.

Later in the evening, Skytrans Dash-8-100 VH-QQH operated the 'usual' Wednesday night FIFO charter from and back to Brisbane.

QantasLink to Operate a Boeing B717 Jet Service to Gladstone Airport

QantasLink is on the verge of a new era in Gladstone, as it plans to fly Boeing B717-200 jet aircraft to the region in the new year.

The airline has told The Gladstone Observer newspaper the move will substantially boost the number of passengers it can transport each week.

The move would be a big step for Gladstone's travelling public, since QantasLink has thus far relied on its Dash-8-Q400 turboprop aircraft. The Boeing B717-200 has greater capacity than the Dash-8-Q400.

The Boeing B717-200 is a twin-engine, single-aisle jet airliner, developed for the 100-seat market. Cobham Aviation Australia (formerly National Jet Systems Australia) operate a fleet of 11 Boeing B717-200s for QantasLink throughout the Northern and Western parts of Australia. B717-23S VH-NXE is pictured on approach to Cairns Airport late last year.

A Qantas group executive flew to Gladstone recently for a meeting with key stakeholders, to outline the airline's vision for Gladstone.

He told The Gladstone Observer that Qantas is going to be substantially increasing capacity into Gladstone by operating jets from the first quarter of next year.

A more formal and detailed announcement will be made in coming weeks.

Since Virgin Australia entered the Gladstone market two months ago, travellers have been hoping competition would lower prices. With this increase in capacity, prices could reduce even more.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

An Aero Commander and an ATR at Gladstone Airport

Aero Commnader 500-S, VH-UJM, is becoming a ‘resident’ at Gladstone Airport.  The aircraft noted on Tuesday 15 November was built in 1973 and is currently owned and operated by General Aviation Maintenance (GAM AIR Pty Ltd) in Melbourne. This, and other GAM operated Aero Commanders move around Central Queensland airports, like Rockhampton and Mackay, and are predominately used for general cargo work and newspaper deliveries around the region.

Virgin Australia ATR 72-500 then arrived into Gladstone Airport from Brisbane on Tuesday 15 November, and made some interesting observations on its post engine shutdown procedures.  This afternoon's service was operated by VH-FVH, and as most have noticed about the ATR, passengers get on and off the plane using the rear door, which is obviously rare for a passenger plane.

The front door is used to load bags and other cargo. A tail stand is also generally installed when passengers are boarding or disembarking in the case the nose lifts off the ground, which is seemingly common if this type of aircraft is loaded or unloaded incorrectly.

The ATR also appeared to be attached to a mobile air-conditioning unit to maintain the comfort of the cabin. This turns out to be quite common as the ATR aircraft does not have an auxiliary power unit (APU) as normally equipped.

The APU is an option and would be placed in the cargo section of the aircraft. Most airlines around the world that operate the ATR normally equip their aircraft with a propeller brake (referred to as "Hotel Mode") that stops the propeller on the #2 (right) engine, allowing the turbine to run and provide air and power to the aircraft without the propeller spinning. The downside to the prop brake is improper usage; many airlines have burned these brakes up, and furthermore the companies have removed them from the aircraft entirely. This does however, eliminate the need for the added weight and expense of an APU and prop brake system.

Gladstone Airport is an Award Winner!

The Gladstone Observer has reported that Gladstone Airport was recently announced as the winner of the coveted "Regional Airport of the Year" award for airports servicing 50,000 to 499,000 passengers.

Gladstone Airport beat out airports in Albury, Geraldton, Emerald and Mt Isa to win the award.

The Australian Airports Association's (AAA) National Airport Industry Awards were announced last week in Brisbane.

Councilor Clyde Cameron was there to accept the honour and said the award was great recognition for the airport and the recent Council upgrade. The airport upgrade included an upgrade of the runway pavements to B737/A320 capability, terminal works and passenger and checked bag screening.

AAA executive director Caroline Wilkie said the major upgrade at Gladstone Airport was a planning success story.

Meanwhile, Council has announced new measures to be implemented to limit night time aircraft noise at Gladstone Airport.

Commercial and charter airline operators will need to seek Gladstone Regional Council approval before scheduling any flights outside of the current Gladstone Airport operating schedule - 6.45am to 7.45pm.

Councillors last week voted unanimously to implement measures to limit night time aircraft noise at the airport.

Council stated that the control measures were required - without the need to impose a formal curfew - in response to regional growth and record passenger movements at Gladstone Airport.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Republic of Singapore Air Force (RSAF) Exercise Wallaby Packing Up Begins at Rockhampton Airport

Ben O has recently been keeping an eye on the Exercise Wallaby happenings at Rockhampton Airport and was lucky enough to catch two Republic of Singapore Air Force (RSAF) Eurocopter AS332M Super Puma helicopters depart on one of their final sorties for the exercise on Sunday 20 November.

Serials 292 and 296 are pictured above departing for the Shoalwater Bay Training Area.

Meanwhile, the packing up had begun, with Exercise Wallaby 2011 coming to a close for the Singapore Defence Forces. On Monday 21 November Ben O noted that the four RSAF Boeing AH-64D Apache helicopters have had their rotars removed, and have been taped up in preparation for uplift back to Singapore.

It was thought that two RSAF Lockheed C-130H Hercules transport planes departed Rockhampton Airport on Monday 21 November with equipment.

Meanwhile, several more Singapore Airlines Boeing B777 charters are expected this week to uplift the remaining personnel back to Singapore. The first was operated by B777-200 9V-SQE and arrived at Rockhampton Airport late on Tuesday 22 November.

And lastly, local spotters are expecting the arrival of an Antonov 124 over this coming weekend to complete the uplift of equipment.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Pictures from the Qantas Founders Outback Museum at Longreach Airport

As mentioned on the Blog in September, The Qantas Foundation Memorial (QFM), which operates the Qantas Founders Outback Museum at Longreach Airport in Central Western Queensland, has finally taken delivery of its Consolidated PBY-6A Catalina, VH-EAX.

Paul D and Andrew B both recently sent through some photos from Longreach of the Catalina, which has now been retired as an exhibit at the Qantas Founders Outback Museum. It will be restored to original camouflage colours and will illustrate the role Qantas pilots played during World War II, and also reveal the details of the rare and secret Order of the Double Sunrise.

The Catalina joins several other aircraft that Qantas has operated, that the Museum has been steadily obtaining. We thank Paul D and Andrew B for their pictures of these fantastic aircraft.

Boeing B707-138, VH-XBA (which is ex-Qantas VH-EBA).

Boeing B747-238B, VH-EBQ.

Douglas DC-3, VH-EAP (which is its original Qantas registration, and is ex-VH-BPL)

As well as replicas of a De Havilland DH.50 Iris and De Havilland DH.61 Giant Moth "Apollo", and Avro 504.

The Qantas Founders Museum in Longreach is devoted to telling the story of Q.A.N.T.A.S. and the struggles that Hudson Fysh and Paul McGinness endured to build the second registered airline in the world. The Queensland and Northern Territory Aerial Services LTD. was formed on the 16th November 1920 in Winton but the next year relocated to Longreach. Built around the original 1922 national heritage hangar, the museum blends historical artifacts and multimedia displays for all ages to enjoy.

The Qantas Founders Museum is open daily from 9:00am to 5:00pm (except Christmas Day). Come and see the museum housed in the air-conditioned main exhibition hall, in contrast wander into the original Q.A.N.T.A.S hangar to discover what it was like in the 1920s. Enjoy the McGinness cafe as well as the Founders gift store where you can purchase souvenirs, clothing, jewellery, books and Qantas memorabilia.