Friday, May 26, 2017

More Great Photos as Royal Air Force (RAF) Airbus KC2 Voyager (A330-243MRTT) ZZ330 Comes and Gos at Rockhampton Airport Last Week

Perhaps the movement of the year thus far into Central Queensland was the Royal Air Force (RAF) Airbus KC2 Voyager (A330-243MRTT) ZZ330 which touched down at Rockhampton Airport on Wednesday 17 May as "Ascot 2136" direct from Hickam Field (Hickam Air Force Base) in Hawaii.

After staying for the night, ZZ330 was loaded with personnel and their cargo before departing a rain-soaked Rockhampton Airport early on Thursday 18 May as "Ascot 2137" for Brunei. 

The RAF Voyager appears to have collected personnel which may have been involved with exercises with local troops in the Shoalwater Bay Training Area (SWBTA).  It seems they arrived into Townsville in early April on board another RAF KC2 Voyager ZZ335.

The RAF Voyager is based on the Airbus A330-200 passenger aircraft and provides the RAF with Strategic Air Transport and Aeromedical capabilities. In addition, the Voyager is an extremely effective Air-to-Air Refuelling aircraft, which is utilised to enable a variety of RAF aircraft to operate for extended periods.  It is currently flown by both No. 10 and No. 101 Squadrons based at RAF Brize Norton in England and replaced the RAF's Vickers VC10 C1K and Lockheed L1011 Tristar fleets at RAF Brize Norton.

It’s interesting to note that there are two types of RAF Voyager aircraft – the KC2 which is a two-point tanker, equipped with 1 FRL Mk32B 900E pod under each wing – and the KC3 which is a three-point tanker with an additional centre line hose for larger ‘receiver’ aircraft. It is also capable of providing transport for up to 291 personnel, while the cargo hold areas remain available for freight on either military or civil pallets.

The visit by the RAF Voyager was a very pleasant surprise and great warm-up for the coming months when Rockhampton Airport is expected to play a significant support role during the Australian and American joint Military Exercise Talisman Sabre 2017.

Sincere thanks to local plane spotter Scott H for taking the time over the last week or so to capture and send through these great photos!

All photos taken by Scott Harris  ©

Thursday, May 25, 2017

First Photos of JetGo Australia Embraer ERJ-140LR Regional Jet VH-ZJE at Rockhampton Airport

Making its second visit to Central Queensland on Thursday 25 May was JetGo Australia Embraer ERJ-140LR (ERJ-135KL) regional jet VH-ZJE.  It was operating the JG70/73 scheduled service from Townsville to Rocky and the Gold Coast and back.

It was the second visit by the ERJ-140 with VH-ZJE after surprising local plane spotters by calling in on Monday 22 May on the JG73 service from the Gold Coast to Rockhampton Airport and then Townsville.  It had earlier positioned from Brisbane to the Gold Coast as JG91.

VH-ZJE replaced Embraer E-135LR VH-JGB based out of Townsville and is now operating JetGo's various Fly-in Fly-out (FIFO) charters as well as the JG70/73 Regular Passenger Transport (RPT) services from the Northern capital.

Of interest, VH-ZJE was delivered to JetGo Australia in Brisbane in mid-January as N295SK.  It was the second  of two 44-seat Embraer ERJ-140LR (ERJ-135KL) regional jet aircraft delivered to the airline after VH-ZJG (ex N297SK) was delivered in October 2016.

File photo

JetGo is also reportedly due to take delivery of a larger 50-seat Embraer ERJ-145LR during this year.  The aircraft is reported to be N577RP which is also operated for Republic Airways Holdings.

Sincere thanks to local plane spotter Kayanne H for taking the time to capture and send through these great photos!

Photos taken by Kayanne Hardsman and Lloyd Fox  ©

Historic Qantas Lockheed Super Constellation Aircraft Arrives at Qantas Founders Museum at Longreach Airport

Late on Wednesday 24 May, a piece of Qantas history from the 1940s in the form of a Lockheed C-121J Super Constellation, aircraft arrived at the Qantas Founders Museum at Longreach Airport.  The 'Connie' - as the Super Constellation is fondly referred to - was shipped from the Philippines to Townsville before being trucked to Longreach.

In 2014, the Qantas Founders Museum was the successful bidder on the Super Constellation - a Lockheed C-121J Super Constellation wearing the registration marking of N4247K - through an auction organised by the Manila International Airport Authority.  The aircraft had been grounded in Manila for 25 years but had previously been used by World Fish and Agriculture Corp. to transport fish cargo.  Due to the condition of the Super Constellation, it will not be restored to be airworthy but instead, it will be displayed as part of the Museums's aircraft collection at Longreach.

The Connie was first used by Qantas in the late 1940s for the longest air service in the world, the so-called kangaroo route between Sydney and London.  It was also the first flight to feature flight attendants and the airline's first pressurised aircraft, greatly improving the comfort of passengers.  It holds a special place in Qantas's history.

The Super Constellation will join the Museum's fleet of planes which includes an Avro, Catalina, Boeing 707 and Boeing 747 which are already at the Museum.

Volunteers at the Qantas Founders Museum will now reportedly spend two years reassembling and repainting the plane before visitors are allowed inside.

Photos taken by 'AC'  ©

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Australian Army Boeing CH-47F 'Foxtrot' Helicopter A15-302 at Rockhampton Airport

On Wednesday 24 May, Australian Army Boeing CH-47F 'Foxtrot' helicopter A15-302 was spotted departing Rockhampton Airport for the Shoalwater Bay Training Area (SWBTA) after earlier (presumably) arriving from its Townsville base.

It appears that the two twin-engine, tandem rotor heavy-lift helicopter returned to Rocky to a little later in the day as it was then heard departing home to Townsville during the middle part of the afternoon.  A15-302 was heard to be using the radio callsign of "Brahman 302".

Sincere thanks to local plane spotter 'IAD' who was at the right place at the right time to capture these great photos!

All photos taken by 'IAD'  ©

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

RAAF Search and Rescue (CHC Helicopters) Agusta AW139 Helicopter VH-SYJ "Rescue 26" Departs Rockhampton Airport

After arriving into Rocky just over a week ago, CHC Helicopters Australia / Lloyd Helicopters Agusta AW139 helicopter VH-SYJ departed Rockhampton Airport on Tuesday 23 May returning to Bankstown via Roma and Narrabri Airports.  It was again heard to be using the same radio callsign of "Rescue 26".

VH-SYJ "Rescue 26" arrives at Rockhampton Airport  (File photo)

VH-SYJ arrived into Rockhampton Airport on Sunday 14 May and has been parked on the military hardstand on the Northern end of the parking apron ever since.  One Facebook user reported that the Agusta - which until recently was operating for the Ambulance Service of New South Wales (NSW) - was 'on task' at Rockhampton and so was presumably on stand-by to evacuate injured personnel from the Shoalwater Bay Training Area (SWBTA) during recent ADF exercises.

Photo taken by 'IAD'  ©