Friday, August 31, 2012

Royal Flying Doctor Service (RFDS) Operations at Rockhampton Airport

Recently, we ventured to Rockhampton Airport, and spent some time looking through some of the local operators that call the Airport home. One of the more prominent hangar buildings on the General Aviation (GA) side of Rockhampton Airport houses the Royal Flying Doctor Service (RFDS) operations office and hangar.

We were fortunate enough to be given a tour by one of the pilots based at Rockhampton, and sitting in the warm Rockhampton sun, was one of the RFDS's recent acquisitions in the form of Hawker Beechcraft B200C King Air VH-FDI.

The aircraft is one of three RFDS King Air aircraft that are based at the Rockhampton hangar - VH-FDR VH-FDW are the other aircraft.

VH-FDI is one of three recently acquired King Airs that feature the larger rear cargo door, coupled with on-board loading winch designed for easier passenger/patient loading and unloading.

These new build aircraft from the manufacturer that are destined for the RFDS, are flown to Australia as a bare-bones aircraft, which then undergo a 4-6 month fit-out by a specialist company before entering service as an air ambulance.

After returning inside the RFDS hangar, Hawker Beechcraft B200 King Air VH-FDA was receiving maintenance in the immaculately maintained facilities at Rockhampton.  Moreover, the staff were going about their duties in a thoroughly professional manner. A full credit to the RFDS.

Sincere thanks to all of the staff at the RFDS Rockhampton Base for their time and courtesy during our visit.

Former Rockhampton Airport Based Aircraft to Leave Australia

From Mike C on the GA Long Haul News Blog, former Rockhampton-based Cessna 172P VH-DBG has recently departed Australia on delivery to an operator in Samoa.  VH-DBG was operated by Air Capricorn for some years out of Rockhampton Airport operating pilot training and general charter flights from the Air Capricorn hangar, which has now been taken over by Peace Aviation.

Now registered 5W-RJO, the little Cessna was noted arriving at the Gold Coast from Archerfield on Monday 27 August on the first leg of its delivery to Samoa Air.  A photo of 5W-RJO can be found HERE.

Meanwhile, another aircraft that has been based at Rockhampton Airport in the form of Royal Flying Doctor Service (RFDS) Beech B200 King Air VH-FDO, is set to depart Australia soon.

The now former-VH-FDO has recently completed a maintenance lay-up at Rockhampton Airport, and has been noted this week devoid of RFDS titles, sponsor stickers, and also its Australian registration markings. Word is that the aircraft will ferry out of Australia shortly in the colour scheme shown, and will maintain some of the aero-medical layout inside of the aircraft.  VH-FDO is reportedly bound for the United States of America (USA).

I'm told that the RFDS staff at the Rockhampton Airport base who used to fly in VH-FDO when it was based there are sad to see it go, as it is the last analogue B200 King Air in the RFDS fleet.  VH-FDO was also the original aircraft that the Rockhampton Airport base operated. It was manufactured in 1982 and was first registered in Australia in April 1995.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Pilatus PC-12 Aircraft Galore at Emerald Airport This Week!

I popped into Emerald Airport briefly on Monday 27 August and spotted Pinnacle Drilling's Pilatus PC-12/45 VH-PID.  The aircraft had earlier arrived from Theodore, and I believe departed back there later.

Pinnacle Drilling is based at Orange in New South Wales.

VH-PID wasn't the only PC-12 to visit Emerald Airport this week, with the frequently visiting PC-12/45 VH-YDO again popping in from Middlemount and Mackay, along with Argyle Charter PC-12/47 VH-WPH (file photo below) which was noted arriving on Thursday 30 August.

One other PC-12/47, VH-ZBD of Tom Browne Aviation at Dubbo, is also becoming a frequent visitor to Emerald visiting multiple times over the last couple of weeks.  It was also noted at Emerald Airport on Sunday 26 August, arriving from Mount Isa and departing to Brisbane.

Another Pair of Pacific Aerospace (PAC) 750XL Aircraft Pass Through Mackay Airport on Thursday

In what has been an exodus of these aircraft from New Zealand, another pair of  PAC 750XL aircraft passed through Mackay Airport on Thursday 30 August.  This followed Papua New Guinea-based PAC 750XL P2-BWC which passed through Rockhampton on Tuesday 28 August.

Early on Thursday, ZK-KBU was the first to arrive in Mackay, touching down from the Gold Coast.  Later in the day, ZK-KBN joined ZK-KBU in Mackay, arriving from Toowoomba.  Both aircraft were scheduled to depart to Cairns.

Incidentally, it was a busy morning at Mackay Airport on Thursday 30 August, with a number of other interesting light aircraft arriving and departing.  Seair Beech B200 VH-MWQ, J.M. Kelly (Project Builders) Cessna 310 VH-FFA, and the Queensland Government Raytheon B300 Super King Air VH-SGQ were all noted arriving into Mackay during the morning.  Meanwhile, noted departing Mackay were Bundaberg-based Cessna 414 VH-CBT and Shadforth's Civil Engineering Cessna 414 VH-SMX which departed to Gladstone (where Shane T photographed it below).

All these light fly-in fly-out (FIFO) and other charter aircraft made for a busy morning at Mackay Airport, which also saw the arrival and departure of the 'usual' commercial jet and turbo-prop traffic.  If there are any plane spotters or aviation enthusiasts in Mackay that would like to take photos of planes for the CQ Plane Spotting Blog please get in contact with us!!

A Few Spottings from Clermont Aerodrome This Week

It's been a busy week for Clermont Aerodrome this week, with what is becoming an increasing number of fly-in fly-out (FIFO) and other general charter visitors.

On Monday 27 August, I managed to catch Barrier Aviation Cessna 402C VH-THX (which arrived from Innisfail) and Hinterland Aviation Cessna 208 VH-HLL (which arrived from Townsville as HND615).

This pair of aircraft arrived and then both departed to Cairns at pretty much the same time.

On Tuesday 28 August, as has happened on most Tuesdays, a pair of Australasian Jet B200 King Air aircraft popped into Clermont Aerodrome from Bourke and from Brisbane.  This week, Beech B200 VH-ZMO (file picture below) operated from and back to Bourke, while Hawker Beechcraft B200 VH-ZMW operated from and back to Brisbane.

On Wednesday 29 August, I caught another Australasian Jet aircraft in the form Beech B58 Baron VH-TTH on the ground at Clermont Aerodrome.  It had earlier arrived from Mackay.

Also present was Ostwald Brothers Civil Piper PA-31 VH-AYT, which had earlier arrived from Archerfield.  It looked to be staying the night.

Later on Wednesday 29 August, a pair of Skytrans Dash-8s operated FIFO charters to Clermont from and back to Brisbane.  Dash-8-300 VH-QQP operated the new SKP1828/1829 flight, while Dash-8-100 VH-QQL operated the 'regular' SKP872/875 flight.

Just as I was writing up this post, I've noted that Skytrans Dash-8-300 VH-QQP has returned to Clermont again early on Thursday 30 August, operated a 'new' charter flight as SKP1820/1821 from and back to Brisbane.

Gladstone Airport Spottings on Wednesday Morning

A few interesting spottings at Gladstone Airport on Wednesday 29 August, including the 'usual' commercial traffic, but also inside the local aeroplane and helicopter maintenance provider, Aerotor, where we noted a couple of helicopters that were in for maintenance.

First up, Virgin Australia (Skywest Airlines) ATR 72-500 VH-FVM, arrived from Brisbane as DJ1711.  It later depared back to Brisbane as DJ1712.

A pair of QantasLink Dash-8-Q400 were sighted with VH-QOV passing through Gladstone operating the QLK2332/QLK2335 service from and back to Brisbane, and VH-QOA, which arrived from Rockhampton and later departed to Brisbane as QLK2301.

A little later, Royal Flying Doctor Service (RFDS) Raytheon B200 King Air VH-FDR arrived and departed as "FlyDoc 414".

Meanwhile, at Aerotor, Urangan-based Robinson R-44 VH-RZZ which was undergoing a 100-hour service.  Also in the hangar was Robinson R-22 BETA VH-HBG. While parked outside were Robinson R-44 VH-JXQ and Cessna 210 VH-SOV, which has recently taken up residence at Gladstone.

Outside, Eurocopter EC135-P2 helicopter VH-ZGZ was noted returning to its apron after completing another pilot transfer flight.  This chopper is based at Gladstone Airport.

Lastly, a quick look over the General Aviation (GA) apron at Gladstone Airport revealed the 'usual' aircraft that call Gladstone home, plus one visiting Robinson R-44 in the form of VH-DQA, which is operated by Forster Helicopters in Charters Towers.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Pacific Aerospace (PAC) 750XL P2-BWC Passes Through Rockhampton Airport

Don W photographed this Pacific Aerospace (PAC) 750XL P2-BWC at Rockhampton Airport on Tuesday 28 August. This aircraft was noted flying to New Zealand in January this year, and was returning North to Papua New Guinea where it is based operating from Central Aviation.  It was originally delivered to Papua New Guinea during January 2008.

Monday, August 27, 2012

More Photos of the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) Roulettes at the Whitsunday Airport Last Week

Jimi L has sent through some fantastic photos he took last week at Whitsunday Airport at Shute Harbour of the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) Roulettes.

The Routlettes - the RAAF's Aerobatic Display Team - were in the Whitsundays last week for a series of performances over Airlie Beach and then Hamilton Island Race Week.  While at Rockhampton Airport earlier in the week, the seven Pilatus PC-9/A aircraft of the Roulettes that made the trip to the Whitsundays were noted as being A23-012, -046, -059, -061, -064, -066, and -067.

Supporting the Roulettes was RAAF Rescue Sikorsky S-76A VH-LHN, which was also based at the Whitsunday Airport.  VH-LHN is operated by Lloyd Off-Shore / CHC Helicopters

Great photos - thanks Jimi!

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Whitsundays-based GSL Aviation Launches Scenic Flights from Bowen

Jimi L flew in to Bowen Aerodrome on Sunday 26 August as Whitsundays-based GSL Aviation launched operations from the seaside tourist town today.

GSL Aviation will be initally offering 90-minute scenic flights 2 days per week to the Great Barrier Reef and Whitsunday Islands.  The 'Bowen Reef Adventure' flight will be the signature product on offer, however GSL Aviation will also look to offer charter flights on request, and are looking to introduce transfer flights to the Bowen Basin, for workers in the resource sector.  

Tourism Bowen is very enthusiastic about the start-up, due to the current lack of tours in the Bowen area. 

GSL Aviation flew their Cessna 210, VH-FOC, up from the Whitsunday Airport at Shute Harbour, and operated 2 flights out of Bowen Aerodrome, focussed on providing agents and caravan park proprietors with the opportunity to trial the GSL Aviation product.  

More information on the new Bowen-based scenic flights and other services that GSL Aviation offer can be obtained from their website - HERE.

Meanwhile, on the plane spotting front, Jimi took a few photos of the Bowen Aerodrome Runways, and he also captured three light aircraft visiting on Sunday 26 August.

Local Cessna 172 VH-BNC

Local Cessna 152 VH-VWE

Cessna 172 VH-RIS

Runway 22 at Bowen Aerodrome is a sealed runway some 1308m long, while Runway 12 is part sealed and part gravel only 901m long. 

A great day and great new service!

Newly Repainted QantasLink Dash-8-Q300 Highlights Spotting at Gladstone Airport Sunday

Shane T spent a nice morning at Gladstone Airport on Sunday 26 August, and managed to capture a few images of the morning QantasLink flights, and a few visiting light aircraft.  

When he arrived, QantasLink Dash-8-Q400 VH-QOA was resting on the lower apron waiting for its first flight of the day - QLK2331 - from Gladstone to Brisbane.   

Soon after, QantasLink Dash-8-Q300 VH-SBT arrived from Rockhampton, operating the 'milk run' service - QLK2301 - Cairns to Brisbane, via Townsville, Mackay, Rockhampton, and Gladstone.

VH-SBT is also pictured by Shane departing on its final leg to Brisbane.

However, the highlight of the morning was the arrival and subsequent departure of QantasLink Dash-8-Q300 VH-SBG which was operating the North-bound 'milk run' QLK2308 service.

Most notable about VH-SBG is that this aircraft is now wearing QantasLink's new titles and livery.  VH-SBG only returned to service late last week after being repainted in Townsville.

On the General Aviation apron at Gladstone Airport on Sunday 26 August, Shane spotted Beech 95-B55 VH-GKB.

Also, visiting from Rockhampton was Cessna 172 VH-XUI.

Lastly, Piper PA-28-151 VH-DDI was visiting from Mackay - VH-DDI wears the titles of 'Horizon Airways', which is a flight training and charter company based at Mackay Airport.

Great stuff Shane, many thanks!

Mackay Airport Movements and Disruptions on Saturday

It seemed to be all happening at Mackay Airport on Saturday 25 August, with some interesting aircraft visiting, as well as more fog and low cloud rolling through, causing more disruptions to flights.

The interesting visitors included a nice pair of bizjets, and a Skytrans Dash-8 charter from Cairns.  After the weather cleared, the Queensland Government Raytheon Hawker 850XP bizjet VH-SGY was first to land at Mackay Airport.  VH-SGY was closely followed by Cessna 525 CitationJet VH-KXL, which is operated by Edwards Coaches of Armidale in New South Wales.  Later Skytrans Dash-8-100 VH-QQK arrived at Mackay from Cairns as SKP1053.  It is scheduled to depart later as SKP1054.

Virgin Australia B737-800 VH-YIE was the victim of the inclement weather at Mackay on Saturday 25 August, with the aircraft unable to land at Mackay Airport after operating VOZ609 from Brisbane.  VH-YIE diverted to the Whitsunday Coast / Proserpine Airport, and was later noted re-positioning to Mackay as VOZ9926.  VH-YIE later departed Mackay Airport to Brisbane as VOZ610.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Another Virgin Australia Embraer E-190 into Gladstone Airport on Saturday

Virgin Australia Embraer E-190 VH-ZPR arrived at Gladstone Airport this morning from Brisbane as VOZ1711.  It later departed back to Brisbane as VOZ1712.