Reports and now these photos suggest that United States Air Force (USAF) Boeing C-17A Globemaster III transport aircraft - 90-0533 - which touched down at Rockhampton Airport late Sunday 28 July, has gone unserviceable and failed to depart as planned late on Monday 29 July.
Local plane spotters Ben O and Don W ventured to Rockhampton Airport on Tuesday 30 July and captured more wonderful images (in less than perfect conditions mind you) of the massive C-17 parked on the Southern end of the Rockhampton Airport apron.
There are rumours around Rockhampton Airport that the broken down C-17 will have parts come in to Rockhampton in another USAF C-17. When 90-0533 departs, there are reports that a USAF Lockheed C-5 Galaxy - the largest military transport aircraft in the USAF fleet - will touch down at Rockhampton to transport the four United State Navy (USN) Sikorsky HH-60H Seahawks out of the beef capital.
Incidentally, 'sister-aircraft', C-17 05-5152 departed Rockhampton Airport for Hickam Air Force Base at Honolulu, Hawaii late on Monday 29 July as "Trek 515".
While Ben was at Rockhampton Airport on Tuesday 30 July, he photographed three of the four USN Sikorsky HH-60H Seahawks - which are flown by the Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron 85 (HSC-85) "Firehawks", which is a United States Navy Reserve helicopter squadron based at Naval Air Station North Island, San Diego, California. As his photos show, they have been 'packed up' and are ready for transport.
165259 / NW-303
165257 / NW-311
163785 / NW-312
And what turned out to be a great surprise for Ben was the arrival of fellow US Navy Sikorsky SH-60B Seahawk 164464 (Coded 'TH-55') of the Helicopter Anti-Submarine Squadron Light 37 Squadron (HSL-37) "Easyriders".
It was noted arriving from sea, and later (presumably) departing back to sea using the unique radio callsign of "Easyrider 55".
Also captured by Ben, but visiting "Camp Rocky" near Rockhampton Airport on Tuesday 30 July, was United States Marine Corps (USMC) Sikorsky CH-53E Super Stallion helicopter of the Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron 265 (VMM-265) "Dragons". With the tail code of 'EP-22', a well known online military serial database has this chopper as '161388'.
So as shown above, despite Military Exercise Talisman Saber 2013 coming to a conclusion, there are still plenty of interesting aircraft flying around Central Queensland skies. It's also worth mentioning that the 'resident' United States Navy (USN) Grumman C-2A Greyhounds - 162152 / NF-32 and 162175 / NF-33 - which are flown by the Fleet Logistics Support Squadron 30 (VRC-30 Detachment 5) - are still parked at Rockhampton Airport despite the USS George Washington docking in Brisbane this week.
My sincere thanks to Ben and Don for sending through their fantastic photos from Rockhampton Airport - your coverage of Military Exercise Talisman Saber 2013 - and continuing support of the CQ Plane Spotting Blog is really appreciated!
Photos taken by Ben O'Dowd and Don Williams ©