After departing in early January and being under maintenance in Coffs Harbour (New South Wales), the Central Queensland Rescue Helicopter Service (CQ Rescue) / Babcock Mission Critical Services Australasia Bell 412EP helicopter VH-CQJ has returned to its Mackay Airport base on Tuesday 21 March, flying in from Coffs via Toowoomba and Bundaberg Airports.
Once on the ground at Mackay Airport, VH-CQJ was pushed in the CQ Rescue hangar alongside fellow Babcock Mission Critical Services Australasia Bell 412 helicopters VH-LSY and VH-VAU which are both currently being operated by CQ Rescue on medical retrieval and training flights.
Of interest, VH-VAU has been operating for CQ Rescue out of Mackay Airport as "Rescue 412" since it arrived from Coffs Harbour in early January.
Meanwhile, also arriving into Mackay Airport in recent days was the repainted and re-registered (in October 2016) Heli-Aust Whitsundays (of Mackay) Eurocopter EC135 P2 helicopter VH-ZGZ. It is pictured passing through Gladstone Airport where it arrived from Caloundra on the Sunshine Coast.
VH-ZGZ has had a paint job and wears a similar colour scheme to fellow Heli-Aust Whitsundays Eurocopter EC135 P2+ VH-ZGA which has been operating out of Mackay Airport in recent weeks. I spotted VH-ZGA returning to Mackay Airport from operations around the Hay Point Coal Loading Terminal earlier in the month.
UPDATE! On Thursday 23 March, both VH-ZGA and VH-ZGZ were captured (below) at a wet Mackay Airport preparing for departure to Port Hedland (Western Australia) where it is believed that they will commence operations for Port Hedland Helicopters. Both helicopters were expected to depart Mackay Airport for Tennant Creek (Northern Territory) and further stops to Port Hedland.
Also calling into Bundaberg Airport, and then Rockhampton Airport on Tuesday 21 March, was Pacific Helicopters Ltd in Papua New Guinea (PNG) Airbus Helicopters H145 P2-PHC. It is believed that the nice new chopper was returning home to PNG following what appeared to be a recent 'demonstration' tour which included the Australian International Airshow at Avalon in Victoria.
|P2-PHC departs Rockhampton Airport heading South (File photo)|
While the locally-based RACQ LifeFlight Kawasaki BK117 B-2 helicopter VH-BKV was noted flying from Bundaberg Airport to Maryborough and back also on Tuesday 21 March. It also went for a fly on Monday 20 March, when it completed a flight from Bundy to Hervey Bay (Fraser Coast) Airport and back.
Finally, as mentioned below fellow RACQ LifeFlight Agusta Westland AW139 helicopters VH-XIH and VH-XIJ visited Gladstone Airport on Monday 20 March and Bundaberg Airport on Saturday 18 March respectively. Both were noted using the radio callsign "Rescue 533".
And on Sunday 19 March, Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) Search and Rescue (CHC Helicopters) Sikorsky S-76A VH-HRP flew North from RAAF Base Amberley as "Choppa 42" and was spotted calling into Bundaberg and Rockhampton Airports before it continued to Mackay Airport.
Photos taken by 'AC' and Michael Fleetwood ©