Over the last couple of days, there has again some great rotary-wing action with numerous Australian and American Defence Force helicopters completing various local and other flights based out of and around Rockhampton Airport as joint Military Exercise Talisman Saber 2017 (TS17) continues in the nearby Shoalwater Bay Training Area (SWBTA).
Early on Thursday 13 July, a pair of Australian Army NH Industries MRH-90 Multi-Role Helicopters identified as A40-002 and A40-024 were heard to arrive at Rockhampton Airport from the North in formation as "Crusader". Soon after, they were joined by a pair of United States Army (US Army) Sikorsky UH-60 Blackhawk helicopters and another Australian Army MRH-90 helicopter and the five choppers were heard to depart Rocky for Shoalwater Bay as "Pegasus 31".
Another Australian Army MRH-90 in the form of A40-017 was later spotted also visiting Rockhampton Airport but as "Templar 76". It flew in from the South and later departed to Townsville. It was also interesting to note that the pilot made a point of telling Air Traffic Control (ATC) that this flight was not related to the Exercise!
Finally, much later on Thursday 13 July, a couple of nice formations to two helicopters arrived into Rockhampton Airport.
The resident United States Navy (USN) Sikorsky HH-60H Seahawk helicopters - 163784 / NW-300 and 165121 / NW-313 - of the Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron 85 (HSC-85) "Firehawks" were spotted flying into 'Camp Rocky' from Shoalwater Bay before air-transiting back to their parking spot beside the cross-Runway 04/22 at Rockhampton Airport as "Firehawk 11".
While on dusk, a pair of Australian Army Boeing CH-47F 'Foxtrot' Chinook helicopters - A15-301 and A15-307 - flew into Rockhampton Airport also from Shoalwater Bay in formation as "Hooker".
The two Chinooks later returned North.
Finally, most days sees another 'resident' chopper in the form of Royal Australian Navy (RAN) Bell 429 'Global Ranger' helicopter N49-049(049) complete at least one local flight out of and back to Rockhampton Airport as "Medusa 49".
While some of the six Australian Army Sikorsky S-70A-9 Blackhawk helicopters deployed to Rocky have again been noted taking to the air using radio callsigns of "Spartan" and "Centurian 225".
Sincere thanks yet again to the local plane spotters for their help in compiling this Blog post!
Photos taken by Kayanne Hardsman, Daniel Bishop and Ash Burggraaff ©