Monday, June 18, 2012

A Closer Look at General Aviation Maintenance (GAM) Operations out of Gladstone Airport

Recently, local plane spotter Jamie C popped out to Gladstone Airport, and was at the right place at the right time to meet the weekday General Aviation Maintenance (GAM) AeroCommander 500-S (Shrike Commander) freight service arrival from Thangool.

File photo

He was even luckier enough to be invited by the pilot of this particular mornings' flight for a chat about the Shrike and the freight run that it operates.

As it turns out, the regular weekday service is a contract to transport bank documents.  The service is operated by GAM on behalf of Toll Freight Aviation.  Each weekday evening the GAM-operated Shrike transports bank documents from Gladstone and Rockhampton to Thangool, were it is then transferred to the Toll Freight Aviation Metro-operated freight service that operates between Emerald and Brisbane (via Thangool).

The GAM Shrike overnights in Thangool, and then in the morning, transfers bank documents to Gladstone from Thangool from the early morning Brisbane to Emerald (via Thangool) Toll Freight Aviation service.

GAM has a dedicated number of AeroCommander 500-S aircraft, as well as crew, based in Brisbane.  These service a wide range of freight and other contracts in Queensland, particularly the Western part of the state.  GAM usually has a weekly rotation of aircraft and pilots to service the Central Queensland bank contract on behalf of Toll Freight Aviation.

The Lycoming engines on the Shrike undergo a minor overhaul every 75 hours, and a major overhaul every 150 hours.

Operationally, the AeroCommander 500-S generally cruises at about 10,000ft, and has proven to be mechanically reliable.  GAM maintains all its aircraft, and pilots have high praise for GAM with their maintenance procedures, but in they are just a great company to fly for!

An aircraft and pilot typically depart Brisbane very early every Monday morning for Gladstone via Thangool.  They then complete the week after operating a Friday evening Gladstone to Brisbane via Rockhampton service.  Thangool is not visited on Fridays.

When in Gladstone, the pilot is provided with a unit and a car so that they have somewhere to rest during the day, as well as a convenient mode of transport.  The pilot is also accommodated in a Motel when spending the night at Thangool. During the day while in Gladstone, and then when overnighting in Thangool - the pilot's time is theirs to do as they please, so long as they are fit for duty when it comes to flying the plane.

Jamie and the CQ Plane Spotting Blog would like to sincerely thank the GAM pilot for allowing us to have a chat and discovering more about this very interesting and important freight service.

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