Local plane spotter Michael F was on hand and reports that the ATR parked on the Gladstone Airport parking apron with its Auxiliary Power Unit (APU) running for about 20 minutes before it taxied back out and departed back to Brisbane.
I presume that VH-YWH was completing a test flight or proving flight as it had earlier completed a flight from Brisbane to the Sunshine Coast and back but interestingly it was noted using the flight number and callsign of 'TFX901/902' / "Toll Freight 901/902". Toll Freight (Toll Aviation) currently operates two ATR 42-300 freight aircraft - VH-TOQ and VH-TOX.
And as this post is being written, VH-YWH is due to return to Gladstone Airport twice on Saturday 7 April - arriving around 11am for 20 minutes and then again at 3pm for around 40 minutes. Perhaps more training / proving flights.
Finally, of interest, VH-YWH 42-320 (MSN 194) has had an interesting past history operating in the United States of America (USA) in the 1990s and early 2000s before it flew into Cairns and was prepared for, and then operated by, Trans Maldivian Airways as 8Q-ATM.
In mid-2010, the ATR returned to Cairns, taking up the Australian registration marking of VH-FLE, but seemingly remaining on the ground at Cairns Airport. It then took up the Papua New Guinea registration marking of P2-KSR and was flown by Hevilift (PNG) on domestic and international flights - including making several visits back to Cairns.
Last year, the ATR was re-registered as VH-YWH and re-branded in the new Hevilift titles and colours.
It has been speculated that Hevilift is vying for Fly-in Fly-out (FIFO) and other closed charter contracts particularly to parts of Central Queensland. Hevilift also has former Virgin Australia ATR 72-500 VH-FVM in its fleet with both ATRs presently stored at Brisbane Airport awaiting their fates.
Hevilift currently operates De Havilland DHC-6-300 Twin Otter VH-YWJ on FIFO charter flights between Mount Isa and The Monument (Phosphate Hill) Airport.
Sincere thanks to Michael F for taking the time to capture and send through these great photos of a great visitor to CQ!
Photos taken by Michael Fleetwood ©