Wednesday, April 30, 2014

A Plane Spotting Report and Some Photos from Emerald Airport on Wednesday

Brisbane-based plane spotter Brendan B travelled to Emerald this week and has kindly sent through some great plane spotting photos from Tuesday 29 April and Wednesday 30 April - both days being possibly the busiest days during the week at the Airport.  

One of the highlights on a Wednesday at Emerald Airport is the visit by an Alliance Airlines Fokker jet on the weekly Fly-in Fly-out (FIFO) charter from Brisbane.  On Wednesday 30 April, Fokker F-70 VH-QQR had the duty of flying into Emerald as UTY1070.  It later departed back to Brisbane as UTY1071.

As mentioned on our Facebook page, later on Wednesday 30 April, Regional Express (REX) / Pel Air SAAB 340B VH-ZLO also operated a FIFO charter into Emerald Airport from Brisbane, touching down as PFY9286.

On the commercial front, Brendan captured QantasLink Dash-8-Q400s VH-QOR, VH-QON, VH-LQF and VH-QOI on Tuesday 29 April

Virgin Australia Regional Airlines (VARA) ATR 72-600 VH-FVN was also captured by Brendan on Tuesday 29 April.

On Wednesday 30 April, Brendan also captured some of the 'other' movements into Emerald Airport including Toll Express Freight Metro III VH-UZG as it rested during the day before departing later that evening to Biloela / Thangool and Brisbane.

A couple of interesting light aircraft were also visiting Emerald Airport on Wednesday 30 April including Vanderfield Pilatus PC-12/47 VH-WPH.

Along with Gold Coast-based Gulfstream Aerospace (AeroCommander) 695-A JetProp 1000 VH-LMC which was captured by Brendan as it departed for Weipa.

Finally, as the sun was getting lower in the sky, Advance Aviation's Piper PA-32R-301 Saratoga VH-LPW was captured as it (presumably) arrived from Barcaldine and Longreach on the week-daily freight run from the Central West.

Some great photos, and we sincerely thank Brendan for sending them through!

All photos taken by Brendan Berry  ©

Bundaberg-based CromAir Cessna 414A VH-CBT Has a Busy Couple of Days of Flying Around Central Queensland Airports

Bundaberg-based Cessna 414A VH-CBT - which is operated by CromAir Air Charter Service - a general air charter company offering aerial photography, scenic flights, surveys or surveillance - has had a busy couple of days.

File photo taken by 'IAD'  ©

On Saturday 26 April, VH-CBT flew into its Bundaberg base after spending some time at Archerfield.  On Sunday 27 April, it ferried North to Cairns, before on Monday 28 April, it flew from Cairns to Innisfail and on to Townsville.  Tuesday 29 April was VH-CBT’s busiest day flying from Townsville back to Bundaberg, calling in at Mackay, Rockhampton, Gladstone and Hervey Bay along the way.  Finally, on Wednesday 30 April, VH-CBT flew from Bundaberg back to Hervey Bay, and then on to Maryborough, Gympie and Archerfield, before finishing the day at Toowoomba.

UPDATE!  VH-CBT flew into Northern New South Wales on Thursday 1 May.

Qantas Airways Boeing B767-338ER VH-OGG - City of Rockhampton - Disney's Planes Livery

While some of our regular contributors are taking 'time-out' and enjoying well-earned holidays, its a great opportunity to share some images of interesting aircraft that I've recently captured while on a plane spotting trip to Brisbane and Perth.

This post focuses on one of the remaining Qantas Boeing B767-338ER aircraft, VH-OGG, which is rather appropriately named 'City of Rockhampton'.  VH-OGG is also currently adorned in a bright and colourful livery promoting the Disney movie 'Planes'.

I recently spotted VH-OGG arriving into Perth on two occasions from Sydney, and was on hand to capture its departure back to the East coast.

VH-OGG was ordered by Qantas in April 1989, and rolled off the production line at Boeing's Everett factory in November 1990.  VH-OGG was registered and accepted in December 1990.  It is powered by a pair of General Electric CF6-80C2B6 engines.

VH-OGG's first revenue service was from San Franciso to Sydney via Honolulu on December 12, 1990, arriving in Sydney on December 14.  VH-OGG was named 'City of Rockhampton', and was in fact noted visiting Rockhampton in early October 1993, operating a charter for the Singapore Armed Forces.

In 2011, VH-OGG was re-painted in the new Qantas corporate colours, and in 2013, it was rolled out in Sydney in a special livery to promote the Disney movie 'Planes'.  It then operated a special 'Première Planes Flight' on September 14, 2013.

I was able to capture some atmospheric early morning photos of VH-OGG parked at Brisbane Airport before it later departed to Sydney and later Perth.

VH-OGG is expected to be leaving the Qantas fleet in the coming months, and hence is staying in its current livery until the day it departs our shores for storage in the United States desert.

Such a beautiful aircraft - and a nice link to Central Queensland!

Acknowledgement to the Australian Airliners (AussieAirliners) web site - - for the historic information on VH-OGG.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

And Mackay Airport Welcomes new Aviation Firefighters as well

The Mackay Daily Mercury newspaper has also profiled and welcomed two new firefighters at Mackay Airport's Aviation Rescue Fire Fighting Station.

Tony Martin / Daily Mercury

Self-described as one of the best crews, Mackay Airport's firefighters work 14-hour shifts and perform continuous training, as well as attending emergencies such as:
•Aviation emergencies
•Medical emergencies
•First aid
•Fire alarms
•Warning lights on planes
•Bush fires
•House fires

The Daily Mercury posted a great video of Mackay Airport's firefighters undertaking a recent training exercise.

Mackay Airport to Undergo $900 Million Expansion as Key Freight Hub

The Mackay Daily Mercury newspaper has reported on a $900 million expansion plan to develop Mackay Airport as a key transport and freight hub which has been announced this week.  The Mackay regional economy is set to soar following plans released by Mackay Airport's owner North Queensland Airports Group (NQA) to the Joint Select Committee on Northern Australia, as part of an inquiry into the development of the north.  

NQA has great ambitions as a major player in the region's continued economic growth.  Its two North Queensland airports, Mackay and Cairns, will have a key role in helping drive economic growth.  NQA revealed a billion-dollar expansion plan for Cairns Airport, citing the rapid growth in tourism from China as well as potential for growing trade.

The State Government already lists Mackay Airport as the fifth busiest in Queensland, and recognises its contribution to the regional and state economies.  NQA said Mackay Airport had grown to one million passengers each year and would continue to develop as an integrated transport and logistics hub for Central Queensland.

Construction of the new land uses within the Mackay Airport Terminal Business zone and the Commercial and Aviation Enterprise precincts would generate major financial benefits to the city:
• $902m of site construction costs would contribute $721m to the Mackay Gross Regional Product.
• Employment created on site was forecast at 2100 full-time jobs.
• The project would generate 3100 full-time 'equivalent jobs' in Mackay.

NQA told the Government that the challenge for Mackay was to now reinvent itself, develop strategies to diversify away from its 50% reliance on mining and build a more sustainable economic model.

The NQA plan includes Mackay's first international air service operating to Auckland by 2019 and direct services to Newcastle.

Tigerair (Tiger Airways) Airbus A320 VH-VNK First Visit to Proserpine / Whitsunday Coast Airport

As the first month of operations into Proserpine / Whitsunday Coast Airport for Tigerair (Tiger Airways) comes to an end, I note that on Tuesday 29 April, A320 VH-VNK made its first visit on the TGW394/397 run.

VH-VNK at Mackay Airport  (File photo taken by Dave  ©)

For the 'rego hunters' I believe that only VH-VNC, VH-VND, VH-VNF, VH-VNP, VH-VNQ and VH-XUG are yet to visit Prosie!

Monday, April 28, 2014

Balmoral Air Dassault Falcon 2000EX Bizjet F-GZLX Touches Down at Hamilton Island Airport

Balmoral Air-operated Dassault Falcon 2000EX F-GZLX touched down yet again at Hamilton Island on Monday 28 April.  It touched down from Brisbane and Bankstown.

Rob Hodgkins Collection /

Meanwhile, out at Emerald Airport, there has been a nice pair of bizjets to visit the Central Highlands in recent days, including the frequently visiting Mackellar Mining Equipment / Flight Options (Australia) Cessna 560 Citation Ultra VH-MMC.

File photo

VH-MMC touched down from the Sunshine Coast last Tuesday 22 April, with local newspaper, the CQ News reporting that a "small jet" made an emergency landing at Emerald on Tuesday with a "technical problem".  I presume this was VH-MMC.  VH-MMC departed Emerald without incident on Thursday 24 April, returning to the Sunshine Coast.

Also visiting Emerald last week was the Queensland Government (State of Queensland) Raytheon Hawker 850XP bizjet VH-SGY.  It touched down from Brisbane on Wednesday 23 April, and departed back there on Thursday 24 April.

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Rockhampton Aero Club Flyaway to Gladstone Airport Sunday 11 May

The Rockhampton Aero Club has announced plans for a Gladstone Breakfast Flyaway to be held on Sunday 11 May.

All pilots and student pilots - along with passengers - are strongly encouraged to take part.  Hire costs will be shared across flying pilots.  Being Mother's Day, it's a perfect opportunity to fly her away and take her out for a delicious breakfast!

Departure is planned from Rocky Airport as 7am, with breakfast to be had at the Coffee Club at Gladstone Airport.  After breakfast, departure back to Rockhampton is planned for 9.30am.

Rocky Aero Club's Cessna 172 VH-ZDX

As the Rockhampton Aero Club secretary Paul Tyler has said "The desired outcome is fun for all! It is important that we do not forget the fun part of flying and this is one of those times. It's your club and we are seeking your support with this event so that we can plan further events like this during the year.  Students are very strongly encouraged to fly a fun leg with an instructor."

It is also important to note that all club aircraft have been booked out for this event and no student training will be take place in Rockhampton until the return of the instructors from Gladstone

Anyone planning on taking part in the day are urged to contact Paul ASAP via email -

Saturday, April 26, 2014

RAAF Boeing F/A-18F Super Hornet A44-210 Spotted Overhead Maryborough on Anzac Day

Local photographer - and part time aviation enthusiast - Rowena B has kindly allowed me to share some of her spectacular photos from Friday 25 April - Anzac Day - as Royal Australian Air Force Boeing F/A-18F Super Hornet A44-210 flew over Maryborough at 500 feet as a part of Anzac Day commemorations throughout parts of Queensland.

A44-210 was heard to be using the radio callsign on "Buckshot 31".  It is believed that A44-210 also overflew Hervey Bay, Calliope, Gladstone, Mt Larcom and Theodore during the morning.

Of interest, fellow Super Hornets (or "Rhinos") A44-202 and A44-224 were spotted overflying the Brisbane Anzac Day parade and commemorations, and featured on the state-wide television coverage.

Big thanks to Rowena for capturing these stunning photos and allow me to share them with you all!

All photos taken by Rowena Baumgart  ©

Heli Support (PNG) AS350 Squirrel Chopper P2-EGF Passes Through Proserpine and Gladstone Airports

On Friday 25 April, Heli Support - of Papua New Guinea (PNG) - Aerospatiale AS350B2 Squirrel helicopter P2-EGF was noted to pass through Proserpine / Whitsunday Coast and Gladstone Airports while venturing from Cairns to Caloundra on the Sunshine Coast.

James K ventured to Caloundra and captured this great pic of the very attactive looking helicopter.

Thanks mate!

Photo taken by James Kirk  ©

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) ANZAC Day Flypast Details for Central Queensland

With ANZAC Day tomorrow, the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) have released details of planned flypasts during Queensland commemorations - including some Central Queensland locations.

File photo

Details from the RAAF's Facebook page include single Boeing F/A-18F Super Hornet flypasts at:
10.00am Charters Towers
10.35am Maryborough
10.40am Hervey Bay
11.02am Calliope
11.05am Gladstone
11.10am Mt Larcom
11.25am Theodore

While, a single RAAF Beech B350 Super King Air is expected to flypast at:
8.50am Airlie Beach
9.05am Proserpine

A full list of Queensland flypasts is shown below..

The RAAF Facebook page contains a full Australia-wide list, and advises everyone that "Please note that flypasts have been allocated based on available resources, and are subject to operational and weather considerations. All activities and times are subject to variation."

Incidentally, local plane spotter Micah S reports that three Australian Army Commonwealth CA-32 (Bell 206B/OH-58A) Kiowa helicopters are parked at Bundaberg Airport, presumably to participate in local Anzac Day commemorations.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Australian Helicopters Bell 412EP VH-VAU Passes Through Mackay and Gladstone Airports Wednesday

As predicted, Australian Helicopters Bell 412EP VH-VAU ferried South via Mackay and Gladstone Airports on Wednesday 23 April.

Local plane spotters Jamie and Tash captured the big Bell as it called into Gladstone Airport from Mackay late on Wednesday.  It had earlier flown from Townsville.

After taking on fuel, VH-VAU departed further South for Redcliffe.

A couple of great Australian Helicopters movements over the last few days at Gladstone, and we thank the local spotters for sending through their great photos of these lovely choppers!

Photos taken by Jamie and Tash  ©

A Few More Photos of Australian Helicopters Agusta AB412 (Bell 412) VH-LSV at Gladstone Airport

Local plane spotter Michael F was also on hand on Saturday 19 April as Australian Helicopters Agusta AB412 (Bell 412) VH-LSV passed through Gladstone Airport heading North.


At the time of writing, it is believed that fellow Australian Helicopters Bell 412 VH-VAU was preparing to ferry South as it has flown into Townsville from Cairns.

Thanks Michael for the great photos!

All photos taken by Michael Fleetwood  ©