Friday, March 31, 2017

Many Civilian Helicopters Noted Flying Around CQ Airports on Friday Assisting with TC Debbie Clean up

On Friday 31 March, there were many civilian helicopters heard and seen flying all over the Central Queensland coast.  Many were heading to Mackay including several from Sunshine Coast-based Becker Helicopters, while most of the larger rescue-type helicopters were noted flying back the South-East corner of the state to provide emergency assisting with the worsening flood crisis all in the wake (now) ex-Tropical Cyclone Debbie.  Here is a summary:

Becker Helicopters Bell 206 Jetranger VH-WCF at Gladstone Airport  (File photo)

Becker Helicopters Bell 206 Jetranger helicopters VH-NXZ, VH-NXB, VH-XJA and VH-XJK were all heard flying North towards Mackay Airport while VH-WCJ was heard flying South possibly back to the Sunshine Coast.

VH-XJK was heard to be departing Rockhampton Airport for the Moranbah area with Ergon staff.  It was heard to be flying in close quarters with Calibre Aviation (Central Queensland Aviation) Bell 206 VH-EWI which is also believed to have departed Rockhampton Airport for Moranbah.  Fellow Becker Helicopters Aerospatiale AS.350D Squirrel VH-PIH was also believed to still be operating out of Rockhampton Airport in support of Ergon Energy on powerline infrastructure inspection flights.

Of the other civilian helicopters heading North on Friday 31 March, Wagners Aviation Services / Wagners Development Company Agusta Westland AW119 MK2 VH-WJY was noted arriving at Rockhampton Airport from the South before it departed to Mackay.  While Eurcopter AS.350B3 Squirrel VH-XKW of Pacific Crown Helicopters (Sunshine Coast) / NQ Heli-worx and Aerospatiale AS355F1 Squrrel helicopter VH-YUG of McDermott Aviation Group / Machjet International were also noted arriving at Mackay Airport from the South.  Of interest, McDermott Aviation Group / Machjet International Beech B200 VH-MWZ also called into Mackay Airport from the South.

VH-WJY at Mackay Airport on a previous visit  (File photo)

A pair Queensland Government (QGAir) Rescue helicopters headed South.  As mentioned below, Agusta AW139 helicopter VH-ESZ "Rescue 500" departed Mackay Airport for Rockhampton and Gladstone late on Thurday 30 March.  On Friday 31 March, VH-ESZ continued South from Gladstone to Hervey Bay (Fraser Coast) Airport before later continuing to Archerfield. Fellow QGAir AW139 VH-ESH also flew South from Townsville to Bundaberg Airport and Archerfield.

https://www.facebook.com/rescue500queensland/

The two McDermott Aviation / Heli-Lift Australia AS365N2 Dauphin helicopters - Aerospatiale SA365N1 Dauphin 2 N38MD 'Helitack 429' and Aerospatiale AS-365N-2 Dauphin 2 N365JL 'Helitack 475' - have both been noted back in the South-East corner of Queensland.  N365JL was seen departing Rockhampton Airport early on Friday 31 March for Archerfield.

Photos taken by 'Mick' and 'AC'  ©

More Recovery Flights at Hamilton Island Airport Evacuating Stranded Travellers as Operations Seem to be Returning to Normal

On Friday 31 March, several extra flights - labelled as 'Recovery Flights' - were again operated in and out of Hamilton Island Airport by Jetstar Airways, Qantas Airways (including QantasLink) and Virgin Australia Airlines.  These flights again operated from and to various destinations up and down the East Coast of Australia.  Here is a summary...

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Qantas and QantasLink:
QantasLink Dash-8-Q400 Next Gen VH-LQH positioned Cairns to Hamilton Island as QLK2670 before operating the scheduled Hamilton Island to Cairns service as QLK2504.
QantasLink Dash-8-Q400 VH-QOR positioned Brisbane to Hamilton Island as QLK2674 before operating an additional Hamilton Island to Cairns service as QLK2827.
Boeing B737-800 VH-VZW operated an additional Melbourne to Hamilton Island flight as QF6162 in place of the regular QF870 service. The aircraft then operated the regular QF871 Hamilton Island to Melbourne service.

Virgin Australia:
Boeing B737-800 VH-YIE operated an additional Brisbane to Hamilton Island rotation in the early hours of the morning as VA9555/VA9536.
Boeing B737-800 VH-YIV operated an additional Brisbane to Hamilton Island rotation during the morning as VA9557/VA9540.
Boeing B737-800 VH-YVA operated an additional Sydney to Hamilton Island flight as VA9547 in place of the regular VA1281 service. The aircraft then operated the scheduled VA1282 Hamilton Island to Sydney service.
Boeing B737-800 VH-YVD operated an additional Brisbane to Hamilton Island flight as VA9539 in place of the regular VA1497 service. The aircraft then operated the scheduled VA1498 Hamilton Island to Brisbane service.

Jetstar:
Airbus A320 VH-VFJ operated an additional Brisbane to Hamilton Island flight as JQ7846 in place of the regular JQ846. The aircraft then operated the scheduled Hamilton Island to Brisbane service.

With regular passenger transport (RPT) flights still not operating out of Proserpine (Whitsunday Coast) Airport, these extra flights out of Hamilton Island Airport is presently possibly the only way hundreds of stranded tourists are able to head out of the disaster zone.

Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) Canadair CL-600-2B16 Challenger 604 Bizjet A37-001 at Hamilton Island Airport

Australian Governor General Sir Peter Cosgrove came to the cyclone damaged Whitsundays on Friday 31 March on board Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) Canadair CL-600-2B16 Challenger 604 bizjet A37-001.

File photo

Flying as "Consort 59" the Challenger was forced to land at Hamilton Island Airport due to the Proserpine (Whitsunday Coast) Airport still being out-of-action.

The Governor General was ferried to the mainland via an Australian Army helicopter and landed in Proserpine to inspect the damage inflicted in the Whitsundays by Tropical Cyclone Debbie during the last week.

Once Mr Cosgrove returned to Hamo, A37-001 returned to the South.

Meanwhile, also noted departing Hamilton Island Airport on Friday 31 March was Henty Aviation Cessna 425 VH-BSM.  At the time of writing, its exact movements are not known.

Photo taken by David Geck  ©

Skytrans Dash-8-100 VH-QQG Calls into Mackay and Emerald Airports in Support of TC Debbie Relief Efforts

On Friday 31 March, Skytrans Airlines Dash-8-100 VH-QQG was noted visiting both Mackay and Emerald Airports on a closed charter flight to take emergency service teams down to the Central Highlands district in the wake of severe Tropical Cyclone Debbie.

File photo

VH-QQG departed Cairns around dawn and touched down at Mackay Airport as SKP9004.  About an hour later, it then flew down to Emerald Airport again as SKP9004.  VH-QQG then returned North to Townsville and eventually Cairns as SKP9005.

JetGo Australia Embraer ERJ-135LR Jet VH-JGB Flys into Emerald and Longreach Airports

On Friday 31 March, and for the second day in a row, JetGo Australia Embraer ERJ-135LR jet VH-JGB has operated a charter flight into CQ.  On this occasion, it was noted flying into Mackay Airport from Townsville as JG91 before it continued to Emerald Airport as JG92.  From Emerald it flew West to Longreach Airport as JG93.

https://www.facebook.com/MackayAirport/

After Longreach, VH-JGB flew out to Osborne Mine, which is 195km south east of Mount Isa, where it then operated back to Townsville on one of its usual Fly-in Fly-out (FIFO) resource charter flights.

As mentioned below, VH-JGB visited Mackay on Thursday 30 March during one of the busiest days at Mackay Airport due to the relief effort after severe Tropical Cyclone Debbie.

Meanwhile, as the photo below from the Mackay Airport Facebook page shows, Fly Corporate (Corporate Air) SAAB 340B+ (WT) VH-VEP also visited on Friday 31 March.

https://www.facebook.com/MackayAirport/

It looked to arrive from Brisbane and later depart to Moranbah Airport.  From Moranbah, it then returned to Brisbane.

Regional Express (REX) SAAB 340B VH-ZLW Spends a Night at Rockhampton Airport

Early on Friday 31 March, I noticed that Regional Express (REX) SAAB 340B VH-ZLW departed Rockhampton Airport for Cairns as PFY9344.  With the flight number being for Pel-Air Express, I presume the SAAB's visit was on a closed charter.

File photo

It appears that VH-ZLW had arrived into Rockhampton Airport during the afternoon on Thursday 30 March as PFY9869 from Normanton.

Meanwhile, making a before-dawn visit on Thursday 30 April was Flight-Tech Aviation (Townsville Airlines) Beech B200 King Air VH-WZN.  It arrived from and later departed back to its Cairns base.

Interesting!

LifeFlight Cessna 680 Citation Sovereign Bizjet VH-VPL Calls Into Mackay and Longreach Airports

UPDATED!

As a part of the relief efforts in the wake of severe Tropical Cyclone Debbie, during the afternoon on Thursday 30 March, RACQ LifeFlight Cessna 680 Citation Sovereign bizjet VH-VPL was noted arriving into Mackay Airport from Brisbane.

VH-VPL at Rockhampton Airport recently  (File photo)

For the first time, VH-VPL was noted using the new LifeFlight radio callsign of "Ambulance 680".

In the early evening, VH-VPL returned to Brisbane.

UPDATE!  Early on Friday 31 March, VH-VPL called into Longreach Airport from Brisbane.  It looked to be operating a med-evac flight and returned to Brisbane a couple of hours later.  VH-VPL then flew North back to Mackay Airport.  About 30 minutes later, it departed back to Brisbane.

Photo taken by Kayanne Hardsman  ©

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Many Recovery Flights at Hamilton Island Airport Evacuating Stranded Travellers - Plus Diversions to Rockhampton Airport on Brisbane Bound Flight from Mackay

On Thursday 30 March, commercial operations re-commenced at Hamilton Island Airport.  The Airport has been closed to commercial flights since Sunday due to severe Tropical Cyclone Debbie hitting the Whitsunday region.  Labelled as 'Recovery Flights', Jetstar Airways, Qantas Airways (including QantasLink) and Virgin Australia Airlines all operated extra commercial flights in and out of Hamo, while Alliance Airlines has operated a handful of charter flights out of Hamo as well.  These flights are operating from and to various destinations up and down the East Coast of Australia.  Here is a summary...

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Alliance Airlines:
Fokker F-100 VH-FKG was the first commercial jet aircraft to land at Hamilton Island Airport, touching down on a charter flight from Brisbane late on Wednesday 29 March as UTY555.  It returned to Brisbane a little later in the evening as UTY556.
Fokker F-100 VH-XWO flew into Hamilton Island from Brisbane and Mackay as UTY550/2 before operating a flight to Townsville as UTY552.  It then flew from Townsville to Sydney and Brisbane as UTY3381/2.
Fokker F-70 VH-QQY flew into Hamilton Island from Cairns as UTY3361 before returning to Cairns as UTY3362.

Jetstar Airways:
Airbus A320 VH-VGH positioned Sydney to Hamilton Island as JQ7992 before operating the scheduled JQ849 Hamilton Island to Sydney.
Airbus A320 VH-VFJ originally positioned Sydney to Townsville before continuing to Hamilton Island as JQ7994.  It then operated an additional Hamilton Island to Sydney sector as JQ7401.
Airbus A320 VH-VFL positioned Sydney to Hamilton Island as JQ7996 before operating an additional Hamilton Island to Sydney sector as JQ7403.

Qantas and QantasLink:
QantasLink Dash-8-Q400 VH-QOD positioned Cairns to Hamilton Island as QLK2827 before operating the scheduled Hamilton Island to Cairns service as QLK2504.
QantasLink Dash-8-Q400 VH-QOD positioned Cairns to Hamilton Island as QLK2679 before operating an additional Hamilton Island to Cairns service as QLK2506.
Boeing B737-800 VH-VZP positioned Sydney to Hamilton Island as QF6162 before operating an additional Hamilton Island to Townsville then Sydney service as QF1342.
Boeing B737-800 VH-VZS positioned Brisbane to Hamilton Island as QF6164 before operating an additional Hamilton Island to Townsville then Brisbane service as QF1340.

Virgin Australia:
Boeing B737-800 VH-YIF was believed to operate an additional Brisbane to Hamilton Island flight as VA9535 before operating the scheduled VA1498 Hamilton Island to Brisbane.
Boeing B737-800 VH-YIO was believed to operate an additional Melbourne to Hamilton Island flight as VA9545.
Boeing B737-800 VH-YVD operated an additional Brisbane to Hamilton Island and back rotation as VA9533/VA9534.
It's also worth noting that Boeing B737-800 VH-YVC was operating an additional Sydney to Hamilton Island service as VA9533 in the morning, however when close to Narrabri the aircraft turned back to Sydney. This appears to have been due to a technical issue.

Meanwhile, on the lighter side of movements, some of the more notable light General Aviation (GA) aircraft to call into Hamilton Island Airport on Thursday 30 March included FKG Air (Redjet Aviation) Hawker Beechcraft B200GT VH-FKB which arrived from Toowoomba and departed to Dubbo (New South Wales).  Regional Air Gippaero GA-8 Airvan VH-OHN operated a return flight from Mackay Airport to Hamo, as did Mackay Helicopters Bell 222 VH-TOR twice!

Balmoral Air Dassault Falcon 2000LX bizjet VH-WIO was also noted visiting Hamilton Island from its Bankstown base also on Thursday 30 March.

Finally, a pair of Virgin Australia flights out of Mackay Airport flew to Brisbane via Rockhampton Airport on Thursday 30 March.  Boeing B737-800 VH-VUK was operating as VA608 Mackay to Brisbane and called into Rockhampton.  And Alliance Airlines Fokker F-70 VH-NKU which was operating as VA616 from Mackay to Brisbane also operated via Rockhampton this evening.

Australian Army and QGAir Rescue helicopters Continue Relief Effort After Tropical Cyclone Debbie

On Thursday 30 March, Australian Army and QGAir Rescue helicopters have continued their relief efforts in parts of CQ in the wake of Tropical Cyclone Debbie.

Several helicopters were spotted operating out of Mackay Airport including Australian Army NH Industries MRH-90 Multi-Role Helicopter A40-041.


Australian Army MRH-90s have been joined by Boeing CH-47F 'Foxtrot' Chinook helicopters which are providing airlift capabilities to affected regions like Bowen and Proserpine.  They are also believed to be providing passenger transfer capabilities as the evacuation of stranded guests from several Whitsunday Island resorts commenced on Thursday 30 March.

A15-306 at Daydream Island with HMAS Melville in the background  (https://www.facebook.com/5thAviationRegiment/)

Queensland Government (QGAir) Rescue helicopters continue to operate in the region providing mostly medical evacuation services, but also in one instance, evacuating as many as seven stranded residents from the small town of North Eton near Mackay.  QGAir Rescue Agusta AW139 helicopter VH-ESZ "Rescue 500" and QGAir Rescue Bell 412 helicopter VH-ESD "Rescue 521" both looked to be based at Mackay Airport on Thursday 30 March and were spotted on the western General Aviation (GA) apron.


Of interest, VH-ESZ was later noted returning South from Mackay to Rockhampton and then Gladstone Airports where it parked for the night.

Meanwhile several civilian helicopters continue to be noted operating in the disaster area - on a mix of airlift and survey flights.  As the photo below shows, Emerald-based Calibre Aviation has welcomed part of the Helitours North Queensland fleet from Cairns with one of their Bell 206 Jetrangers seen completing a survey flight of power line infrastructure for Ergon Energy around Clermont and Emerald.

https://www.facebook.com/calibreaviation/

Back at Mackay Airport, on Thursday 30 March, the pair McDermott Aviation / Heli-Lift Australia AS365N2 Dauphin helicopters - Aerospatiale SA365N1 Dauphin 2 N38MD 'Helitack 429' and Aerospatiale AS-365N-2 Dauphin 2 N365JL 'Helitack 475' - were also spotted on the Western GA Apron.  They seem to be based out of Mackay Airport assisting with the relief effort in the local area.


Nautilus Aviation Bell Helicopter Textron Canada 412EP helicopter VH-ZVP also looked to be parked on the western GA Apron at Mackay Airport assisting with the relief efforts - see photo above.  And Townsville-based Tude's Choppers Aerospatiale AS.350BA Squirrel helicopter VH-IDG was also believed to have visited Mackay Airport during the day.

Finally, also on Thursday 30 March, a pair of Becker Helicopters helicopters were heard completing powerline inspections around parts of CQ.



Bell 206 Jetranger VH-WCF was photographed at Gladstone Airport (above) after it returned from airwork in the area, while Aerospatiale AS.350D Squirrel VH-PIH was heard to depart Rockhampton Airport for airwork around the Moranbah area.

Photos taken by 'AC' and 'Mick'  ©

JetGo Australia Embraer ERJ-135LR Jet VH-JGB Also Pops into Mackay Airport

During a busy day of flying on Thursday 30 March, JetGo Australia Embraer ERJ-135LR jet VH-JGB has operated a charter flight into Mackay Airport.

File photo

VH-JGB started its day in Townsville and in fact called into Rockhampton Airport on the scheduled JG70 service from Townsville to Rocky and then the Gold Coast.  From the Gold Coast, it then positioned to Brisbane as JG90 before heading back North to Mackay Airport where it toucehd down as JG91.

After almost an hour on the ground, VH-JGB departed Mackay Airport heading straight back to the Gold Coast as JG92 where it was then promptly turned-around and operated the return JG73 scheduled service to Rockhampton and Townsville.

No doubt the visit by VH-JGB into Mackay Airport was to ferry crews to assist in the relief effort after severe Tropical Cyclone Debbie.

Photo taken by Dave  ©

A Visit by Federal Political Leaders Brings RAAF Challenger 604 Bizjets A37-001 & A37-003 to Mackay Airport

With the clean-up effort in full-swing in the wake of severe Tropical Cyclone Debbie, Federal politicians joined Queensland State politicians and local Council Mayors in a tour of affected regions on Thursday 30 March.  Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull was joined by Opposition Leader Bill Shorten as they arrived at Townsville from Canberra on board a pair of Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) Canadair CL-600-2B16 Challenger 604 bizjets A37-001 "Regent 57" and A37-003 "Wisdom 58".

http://www.theaustralian.com.au/

All the politicians were then ferried South to Bowen and the Whitsundays on board one (or more) Australian Army NH Industries MRH-90 Multi-Role Helicopter.  The two Challengers ferried South to Mackay Airport where it is believed that Mr Turnbull and Mr Shorten rejoined their aircraft and they soon after returned to Canberra.

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

The Aftermath of Tropical Cyclone Debbie Brings Various Civilian and Army Helicopters and Fixed Wing Aircraft to the Whitsundays Region

With severe Tropical Cyclone Debbie making land-fall in the Whitsundays earlier this week, the last couple of days has seen various civilian and Australia Army helicopters and fixed wing aircraft call into various parts of the damaged region including Mackay and Bowen.

https://twitter.com/BOM_Qld

On Wednesday 29 March, the Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk was noted touring Bowen after flying from Townsville on board an Australian Army NH Industries MRH-90 Multi-Role Helicopter - possibly A40-014.  Fellow MRH-90 A40-039 was believed to have visited Proserpine (Whitsunday Coast) Airport.

Brian Cassey / http://www.brisbanetimes.com.au/

Australian Army Boeing CH-47F 'Foxtrot' Chinook helicopter A15-307 was also possibly involved with the relief effort on Wednesday 29 March.

As we mentioned over the last few days, Queensland Government (QGAir) Rescue Agusta AW139 helicopters VH-EZJ "Rescue 510" and VH-ESZ "Rescue 500", and Bell 412 helicopters VH-ESB and VH-ESD "Rescue 521", are also operating throughout the region, including an airlift of patients from the badly damaged Proserpine Hospital to Townsville on Wednesday 29 March.

Of the civilian choppers, McDermott Aviation / Heli-Lift Australia AS365N2 Dauphin helicopters N38MD and N365JL are operating out of Townsville and Cairns respectively.  They were spotted passing through Gladstone Airport over the weekend - see Blog post below.

And AusJet Helicopters (Essendon) Bell 206L-1 helicopter VH-TWO has been noted in the region - parking for the night at Rockhampton Airport on Monday 27 March - and is being operated as a media camera platform.  It is flying as "Media 42" and I believe is usually based around Brisbane.

Photo taken by 'IAD'  ©

Finally, a trio of locally-based Stirling Helicopters choppers were also noted departing Rockhampton Airport for the North.  They possibly landed at Mackay Airport and will operate in the disaster zone from today.  Eurocopter AS.350B2 Squirrel VH-AGL was joined by fellow Eurocopter AS.350BA Squirrel helicopter VH-WHW and Bell 206B (II) VH-JAQ were also noted heading North from Rocky on Wednesday 29 March.

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Queensland Government (QGAir) Rescue Agusta AW139 Helicopter VH-ESZ "Rescue 500" Passes Through Roma and Clermont Airports Heading North

On Tuesday 28 March, Queensland Government (QGAir) Rescue Agusta AW139 helicopter VH-ESZ was spotted by me calling into Clermont Aerodrome while heading North to Townsville.


VH-ESZ had called into Clermont from Archerfield via Roma Airport and was heard to be using the radio callsign of "Rescue 500" - the usual callsign of the Archerfield-based QGAir Rescue helicopter that flys missions around the South-East corner of the state.

It is expected that VH-ESZ will join fellow QGAir Rescue Agusta AW139 helicopters VH-EZJ (which ferried North over the weekend) and Cairns-based VH-ESH, along with Townsville-based QGAir Rescue Bell 412 helicopters VH-ESB and VH-ESD in the emergency relief response in the wake of the of severe Tropical Cyclone Debbie around the Townsville and Whitsundays areas in the coming days.

Monday, March 27, 2017

Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) Boeing C-17A Globemaster III A41-207 Completes Airwork Around Gayndah Airport and the Fraser Coast

On Monday 27 March, the unmistakable sight and sound of Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) Boeing C-17A Globemaster III A41-207 filled the skies of the Fraser Coast region of Central Queensland.

File photo

The massive RAAF transport aircraft was believed to have completed airwork around Bundaberg Airport before it headed towards Gayndah where it is also believed to have completed airwork - including at least one missed approach at Gayndah Airport.

A41-207 was heard to be using the radio callsign of "Stallion 37".

RAAF Search and Rescue (CHC Helicopters) Sikorsky S-76A VH-HRP "Choppa 42" Calls into Clermont and Biloela / Thangool Airports

On Sunday 26 March, Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) Search and Rescue (CHC Helicopters) Sikorsky S-76A VH-HRP departed Townsville and was spotted (by me!) arriving into my local airport at Clermont Aerodrome.











After taking on fuel, VH-HRP departed Clermont for Biloela / Thangool Airport.  It then continued to RAAF Base Amberley.

It appears that VH-HRP was returning South from Townsville where it provided support during an abridged running of the RAAF's Exercise Black Dagger.

Exercise Black Dagger is the culmination of Number 58 Joint Terminal Attack Controller (JTAC) course designed to produce combat ready, certified  JTAC personnel.  It is a field training exercise that was planned to be held at RAAF Base Townsville and surrounding airspace.

RAAF Pilatus PC-9 aircraft from Number 4 Squadron were joined in Townsville over this last week by eight United States Navy (USN) Strike Fighter Squadron VFA-27 Boeing F/A-18E Super Hornets from Naval Air Facility Atsugi in Japan, which all participated in the Exercise over the last few days.



I suspect that VH-HRP flew South from Townsville via a more 'inland' route due to the 'coastal' route being affected by the looming severe Tropical Cyclone Debbie.

As we mentioned below, VH-HRP was again heard to be using the new radio callsign of "Choppa 42" - I've been told that this and other RAAF Rescue helicopters have now starting using new callsigns featuring two-numbers rather than one.

Of interest, all eight of the US Navy Hornets have also 'escaped' from Townsville, also flying South to Amberley over the weekend.

Photos taken by Leroy  ©

Sunday, March 26, 2017

United States Army (US Army) Cessna 560 Citation Ultra (UC-35A) Bizjet 97-0103 "Ninja 73" Pops into Rockhampton Airport

Certainly a surprise but most welcome visitor to Rockhampton Airport during the late afternoon on Sunday 26 March was United States Army (US Army) Cessna 560 Citation Ultra (UC-35A) bizjet 97-0103.


The smart little bizjet touched down at Rocky from Darwin via Mount Isa.







After dropping off some passengers, it departed to Alice Springs where it looked to be spending at the least the night - most likely escaping the heavy weather along the Central Queensland coast!





The UC-35A is believed to be operated by the 78th Aviation Battalion of the US Army in Japan and was heard to be using the radio callsign of "Ninja 73".

No doubt the visit of the smart little bizjet is a precursor to the Joint Military Exercise Talisman Saber 2017 which is due to be held yet again the Shoalwater Bay Training Area (SWBTA) during the middle part of this year.

Local enthusiasts are hoping that Rockhampton Airport will play a significant role in hosting several interesting visiting heavy jet and military aircraft arrivals.

Stay tuned!

Sincere thanks to local plane spotters Kayanne H and 'IAD' for taking the time to capture and send through these great photos of a great visitor to CQ!

Photos taken by Kayanne Hardsman and 'IAD'  ©

Queensland Government (QGAir) Rescue Agusta AW139 Helicopter VH-EZJ Passes Through Rockhampton Airport Also Heading North


A day after a pair of McDermott Aviation / Heli-Lift Australia AS365N2 Dauphin helicopters headed North, on Sunday 26 March, Queensland Government (QGAir) Rescue Agusta AW139 helicopter VH-EZJ was spotting passing through Rockhampton Airport while ferrying North to Townsville Cairns.







VH-EZJ originally departed its Archerfield base and called into Rocky for fuel. It was later noted departing to Townsville, however it has since 'diverted' directly to Cairns and looks to be now operating in the area as "Rescue 510".

It is expected that VH-EZJ will join fellow Cairns-based QGAir Rescue Agusta AW139 helicopter VH-ESH along with Townsville-based QGAir Rescue Bell 412 helicopters VH-ESB and VH-ESD in the emergency relief response in the wake of the impending land-fall of severe Tropical Cyclone Debbie around the Townsville area in the coming days.

All photos taken by Kayanne Hardsman  ©