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.

The two McDermott Aviation / Heli-Lift Australia AS365N2 Dauphin helicopters - Aerospatiale AS365N1 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'  ©

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