Sunday, April 5, 2020

Great photos as New Air Kiribati Embraer E-190-E2 VH-IKJ Pops into Rockhampton Airport While on Training Flight

After finally taking to the skies last week after spending several weeks parked following its delivery into Australia in January, the new Air Kiribati Embraer E190-E2 (ERJ-190-300 STD) VH-IKJ was photographed as it visited Rockhampton Airport on Sunday 5 April on what appeared to be another training flight.



It flew up from Brisbane and parked on the main taxiway Juliette at Rockhampton Airport where it completed a crew change. 











VH-IKJ then taxied back out to the Runway and departed back to Brisbane.










This was the latest in a series of test flights that VH-IKJ has completed following its first flight last Tuesday 31 March where it actually overflew Rockhampton Airport while flying from Toowoomba-Wellcamp to Brisbane.

The brand new Embraer was delivered to Air Kiribati at Wellcamp in January wearing its Brazilian delivery registration marking of PR-EHT.

https://twitter.com/CesarSoPereira/

It was added to the Australian Aircraft Register in February as VH-IKJ is owned by and registered to the Government of Kiribati, with Sydney-based passenger and cargo airline Pionair Australia as the registered operator.  It remained parked at Wellcamp until departing on the test flight described above.

Air Kiribati is the flag carrier of the Republic of Kiribati (pronounced Kiribas) and operates scheduled passenger services to 20 atolls spread over an area of 3.5m sq km.


It is headquartered at Bonriki International Airport on the island of Tarawa in the Gilbert Islands.  The airline operates an international service from Tarawa to Tuvalu.  Regional charter flights, medical evacuation and search and rescue services are also undertaken by the airline.

Their fleet currently includes a single Harbin Y-12E and Dash-8-100, along with two DHC-6-400 Twin Otters.

http://www.airkiribati.com.ki/

Kiribati is a small nation that covers an immense geographical area - which is mostly water.  The E190-E2 was chosen for its ability to economically connect two important islands, Tarawa in the west and Kiritimati or Christmas Island in the east. Even with the E2 this is more than a 4 hour flight.

Services will commence by mid-2020 eventually connecting Brisbane with Honiara, Nauru, Tarawa, Fiji, Kiritimati, Honolulu and Majuro.

Sincere thanks to local plane spotters Michael M, Trevor H and Kayanne H for taking the time to capture and send through these great photos!

Photos taken by Michael Malick, Trevor Hardsman and Kayanne Hardsman  ©

Saturday, April 4, 2020

Brisbane-based Cessna 525A CitationJet2 bizjet VH-MOR Pops into Emerald Airport - Plus More!

On Saturday 4 April, Brisbane-based Cessna 525A CitationJet2 bizjet VH-MOR was noted visiting Emerald Airport.  It looked to arrive from and later depart back its Archerfield base.

File photo

Meanwhile, also on Saturday 4 April, Mitchell Water Cessna 525 Citation M2 bizjet VH-WMY was noted back in Central Queensland, visiting Proserpine (Whitsunday Coast) Airport twice during a busy day of flying.  On both times, it arrived into Prosie from its Melbourne (Moorabbin) base via Melbourne (Essendon) before then flying directly back to Moorabbin.

Friday, April 3, 2020

Queensland Government (QGAir) Rescue Agusta AW139 Helicopter VH-ESH Flys South via Mackay and Gladstone Airports

As predicted, on Friday 3 April, Queensland Government (QGAir) Rescue (State of Queensland) Agusta AW139 helicopter VH-ESH was noted ferrying South from Townsville to Archerfield, calling into both Mackay and Gladstone Airports along the way.

VH-ESH at Mackay Base Hospital recently  (File photo)

VH-ESH is believed to have flown to Archerfield for planned maintenance after operating in Far North Queensland for a period of time, mostly out of Townsville Airport as "Rescue 521".

This is part of the 'rotational system' the service utilises to ensure the even distribution of flying hours on each of the QGAir Rescue helicopters.  This system avoids the need to have multiple helicopters offline for simultaneous scheduled maintenance.

As posted below, fellow QGAir Rescue Leonardo S.P.A. Helicopter (Agusta) AW139 helicopter VH-EGF flew North from Archerfield to Townsville also via Gladstone and Mackay Airports on Thursday 2 April.

Photo taken by 'TM'  ©

Thursday, April 2, 2020

Mitchell Water Cessna 525 Citation M2 Bizjet VH-WMY Pops into Proserpine (Whitsunday Coast) Airport - Plus More!

After a week or so out of the air, on Thursday 2 April, Mitchell Water Cessna 525 Citation M2 bizjet VH-WMY was noted back in Central Queensland, arriving into Proserpine (Whitsunday Coast) Airport from its Melbourne (Moorabbin) base via Melbourne (Essendon).

File photo

After around an hour on the ground, VH-WMY returned direct to Moorabbin.

UPDATE!  On Friday 3 April, VH-WMY popped into Miles Airport, arriving from Moorabbin, Horsham, Swan Hill and Bendigo all in Victoria.  It later returned to Moorabbin via Moree in New South Wales.

UPDATE!  On Saturday 4 April, VH-WMY returned to Proserpine (Whitsunday Coast) Airport twice, both times arriving from Moorabbin via Essendon and later returning direct to Moorabbin.

Meanwhile, also on Thursday 2 April, up the road at Bowen Airport, FKG Air (Redjet Aviation) Hawker Beechcraft B200GT VH-FKB visited from its Toowoomba base.

And also on Thursday 2 April, LifeFlight (Aeromed) LearJet 45 bizjet VH-CXJ was noted completing airwork at Bundaberg Airport while on a flight out of and back to Brisbane.  It did something similar on Sunday 29 March, after seemingly receiving planned maintenance since the start of February.

Finally, as mentioned below, on Wednesday 1 April,  American-registered Eclipse EA500 bizjet N257AK was noted departing the Whitsunday Airport at Shute Harbour for Archerfield.  It arrived from Archerfield via Redcliffe on Monday 30 March.

QGAir Rescue (State of Queensland) Leonardo S.P.A. Helicopters (Agusta) AW139 Helicopter VH-EGF Ferries North via Gladstone and Mackay Airports

Early on Thursday 2 April, Queensland Government (QGAir) Rescue (State of Queensland) Leonardo S.P.A. Helicopter (Agusta) AW139 helicopter VH-EGF was noted ferrying North from Archerfield to Townsville via Gladstone and Mackay Airports.

VH-EGF at Mackay Airport  (File photo)

As we posted below, VH-EGF ferried South to Archerfield in late February where it underwent planned maintenance.  In more recent days, it has been operating out of Archerfield in the South-East corner of the state as "Rescue 500".

It is believed that VH-EGF was ferrying North to replace fellow QGAir Rescue AW139 helicopter VH-ESH which has been operating out of Townsville Airport for some time as "Rescue 521".  It has even completed visits to both Mackay and Proserpine Hospitals in recent times..

As we have mentioned previously, this is all part of the 'rotational system' the service utilises to ensure the even distribution of flying hours on each of the QGAir Rescue helicopters.  This system avoids the need to have multiple helicopters offline for simultaneous scheduled maintenance.

Photo taken by 'JM'  ©

Thrice-Weekly Alliance Airlines Fly-in Fly-out (FIFO) Charter Flights Kick off at Mackay Airport This Week

Interesting to note that on Thursday 2 April, a pair of Alliance Airlines Fokker F-100 jets called into Mackay Airport on what looked to be Fly-in Fly-out (FIFO) charter flights which operated from and back to Brisbane.

File photo

VH-UQC visited first as UTY8440/1 with VH-XWN (pictured) also visiting but as UTY8842/3.

It is understood that these two FIFO charter flights are the first of many over the coming weeks which are on behalf of BHP.  Scheduling of these flights suggests that 2-3 Alliance Airlines Fokkers will fly into Mackay Airport each Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday for the foreseeable future.

Alliance Airlines is Australia's leading FIFO and general charter flight operator and as we posted below, the airline appears to be picking up extra contracts in the region in response to mass cancellation of scheduled regular passenger transport (RPT) flights as a result of the Coronavirus crisis hitting aviation.

Photo taken by 'AC'  ©

Wednesday, April 1, 2020

Alliance Airlines Additional Fly-in Fly-out (FIFO) Charter Flights to Emerald and Moranbah Airports This Week

With the effects of the Coronavirus crisis hitting aviation hard causing Australian airlines to dramatically cut scheduled regular passenger transport (RPT) services, Central Queensland mining and resource sites are appear to be moving towards dedicated Fly-in Fly-out (FIFO) charter flights as an alternative.  And it appears that Australia's largest FIFO and general charter airline, Alliance Airlines, has benefited with several extra flights noted touching down in the region over the last couple of days.

File photo

Late on Monday 30 March, three Alliance Airlines Fokker F-70 jets were noted arriving into Emerald Airport all on FIFO charter flights.  VH-NKQ operated the 'usual' UTY4078/9 flight from Brisbane and the Sunshine Coast.  VH-QQW completed an additional flight from and back to Brisbane as UTY4076/7.  And VH-NUU (pictured above) completed another additional flight from Brisbane and back but as UTY580/1.

Early on Tuesday 31 March, VH-NKQ was back at Emerald Airport again, operating the 'usual' UTY4072/3 FIFO charter flight from Brisbane and the Sunshine Coast.  Then later in the day, F-70 VH-QQV was noted arriving into Moranbah Airport and then Emerald Airport from Brisbane as UTY6602, while F-70 VH-NUU flew into Emerald Airport direct from Brisbane but as UTY6640.

After overnighting, both F-70s departed Emerald Airport early on Wednesday 1 April, with VH-QQV returning to Moranbah Airport and then Brisbane but as UTY6603, while VH-NUU returned to Brisbane but as UTY6441.

Certainly interesting to keep track of these!

Photo taken by Sunshine Coast Plane Spotting  ©

Tuesday, March 31, 2020

New Air Kiribati Embraer E-190-E2 VH-IKJ Overfly of Rockhampton Airport While on Training Flight

Merely a dot in the sky when it was spotted flying overhead Rockhampton Airport during the afternoon on Tuesday 31 March was the new Air Kiribati Embraer E190-E2 (ERJ-190-300 STD) VH-IKJ which looked to complete a training flight from the Toowoomba-Wellcamp Airport to Brisbane - where it is pictured landing below.


The brand new Embraer was delivered to Air Kiribati at Wellcamp in January wearing its Brazilian delivery registration marking of PR-EHT.

It was added to the Australian Aircraft Register in February as VH-IKJ is owned by and registered to the Government of Kiribati, with Sydney-based passenger and cargo airline Pionair Australia as the registered operator.  It remained parked at Wellcamp until departing on the test flight described above.




Air Kiribati is the flag carrier of the Republic of Kiribati (pronounced Kiribas) and operates scheduled passenger services to 20 atolls spread over an area of 3.5m sq km.


It is headquartered at Bonriki International Airport on the island of Tarawa in the Gilbert Islands.  The airline operates an international service from Tarawa to Tuvalu.  Regional charter flights, medical evacuation and search and rescue services are also undertaken by the airline.

Their fleet currently includes a single Harbin Y-12E and Dash-8-100, along with two DHC-6-400 Twin Otters.

http://www.airkiribati.com.ki/

Kiribati is a small nation that covers an immense geographical area - which is mostly water.  The E190-E2 was chosen for its ability to economically connect two important islands, Tarawa in the west and Kiritimati or Christmas Island in the east. Even with the E2 this is more than a 4 hour flight.

Services will commence by mid-2020 eventually connecting Brisbane with Honiara, Nauru, Tarawa, Fiji, Kiritimati, Honolulu and Majuro.

Photos taken by Lloyd Fox and Matt Cotter Photography  ©

RAAF Boeing C-17A Globemaster III A41-206 Does Airwork at Charleville and Rockhampton Airports

On Tuesday 31 March, Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) Boeing C-17A Globemaster III A41-206 was noted completing airwork, including missed approaches, at both Charleville and Rockhampton Airports.



It was noted flying North from RAAF Base Amberley and initially completed airwork and a  low overshoot at Charleville Airport before venturing North and completing a missed approach at Rocky.  After completing its airwork, A41-206 departed Rockhampton on returned to Amberley.

A41-206 was heard to be flying as "Stallion 77".

Sincere thanks to local plane spotter Kayanne H who popped outside her house for these couple of quick photos as the Globemaster climbed out of Rockhampton Airport.

All photos taken by Kayanne Hardsman  ©

Monday, March 30, 2020

Jetstream Aviation (Emprja P/L) Cessna 550 Citation II Bizjet VH-VDF Pops into Proserpine (Whitsunday Coast) Airport - Plus More!

On Monday 30 March, Jetstream Aviation (Emprja P/L) Cessna 550 Citation II VH-VDF was noted arriving into Proserpine (Whitsunday Coast) Airport from its Sunshine Coast base.

VH-VDF at Adelaide Airport recently  (File photo)

After a short time on the ground, VH-VDF then returned to the Sunny Coast.

Meanwhile, also on Monday 30 March,  American-registered Eclipse EA500 bizjet N257AK was noted arriving into the Whitsunday Airport at Shute Harbour from Archerfield and Redcliffe. 

UPDATE!  On Wednesday 1 April, N257AK departed Shute Harbour for Archerfield.

UPDATE!  On Thursday 2 April N257AK completed a return flight from Archerfield to Tamworth in New South Wales and back.

Finally, a couple of other King Air aircraft to call into CQ Airports, also on Monday 30 March, included Austrek Aviation Beech B200 King Air VH-ZMW which visited Rockhampton Airport from Toowoomba and Archerfield.

While FKG Air (Redjet Aviation) Hawker Beechcraft B200GT VH-FKB popped into the Williamson Airfield within the Shoalwater Bay Training Area (SWBTA) also from its Toowoomba base.

VH-FKB also called into Williamson from Toowoomba and Mackay Airport on Friday 27 March before it then returned to Toowoomba.

Photo taken by Tony Haynes  ©

Hinterland Aviation Beech B200 King Air VH-HJS Calls into Central Queensland Airports Back on the Qld Police Run!

On Monday 30 March, Hinterland Aviation Beech B200 King Air VH-HJS was noted calling into some Central Queensland Airports while on a busy day of flying out of and back to its Cairns base.

VH-HJS departs Brisbane Airport on Monday

VH-HJS was noted flying as 'HND420' and looked to arrive into Rockhampton Airport from Cairns and Townsville.  It then continued to Brisbane before returning North to Mackay Airport and then Townsville and Cairns.

As we've reported previously, VH-HJS was again chartered by the Queensland Police Service (Airwing) / Queensland Government (State of Queensland) to complete prisoner transfer flights.

Photo taken by Lloyd Fox  ©

Sunday, March 29, 2020

LifeFlight (Aeromed) LearJet 45 Bizjet VH-CXJ Completes Airwork at CQ Airports

Late on Sunday 29 March, LifeFlight (Aeromed) LearJet 45 bizjet VH-CXJ was noted completing airwork at both Mackay and Bundaberg Airports while on a flight from Townsville to Brisbane.

File photo

VH-CXJ was using its registration marking as its radio callsign and looked to be completing a post-maintenance flight after seemingly being on the ground at Townsville since the start of February.

Friday, March 27, 2020

Queensland Police Service (Airwing) Cessna 560 Citation Ultra Bizjet VH-PSU and Raytheon B1900D VH-PSK Both Call into CQ Airport

On Friday 27 March, both the Queensland Police Service (Airwing) (State of Queensland) Cessna 560 Citation Ultra bizjet VH-PSU and Raytheon B1900D VH-PSK were noted calling into Central Queensland Airports.

VH-PSU at Rockhampton Airport on a previous occasion  (File photo)

It appeared that VH-PSU called into Rockhampton Airport twice during a busy of flying between Brisbane, Cairns and Townsville.

While VH-PSK called into both Rockhampton and Bundaberg Airports during a buys day of flying out of and back to Cairns.

Photo taken by Steve Vit  ©

Thursday, March 26, 2020

Hinterland Aviation Cessna 208 Caravan VH-TFQ at Mackay Airport

On Tuesday 24 March, Hinterland Aviation Cessna 208 Caravan VH-TFQ was noted arriving into Mackay Airport from Townsville after completing a five-hour long flight.

File photo

On Wednesday 25 March, VH-TFQ was then noted operating a nearly five-hour flight out of Mackay Airport out to sea and back.  It is possible that VH-TFQ was involved with an aerial survey of the Great Barrier Reef as has happened on previous occasions - such as in 2017 when the photo above was taken.

On Thursday 26 March, VH-TFQ flew into Gladstone Airport and then back to Mackay Airport.

At the time of writing, VH-TFQ is due to return North to Townsville and then Cairns from Mackay Airport on Friday 27 March.

During its visit to the Sugar City, VH-TFQ was using the flight number and callsign of 'HND411' / "Hinterland 411".

Photo taken by 'AC'  ©

Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) Airbus A330-203 / KC-30A (MRTT) A39-004 Missed Approach at Rockhampton Airport

On Thursday 26 March, Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) Airbus A330-200 / KC-30A Multi Role Tanker Transport (MRTT) A39-004 was spotted as it climbed out after completing a missed approach at Rockhampton Airport.




The MRTT flew up from RAAF Base Amberley and after completing the airwork, it continued up to Townsville where it completed another missed approach.  A39-004 then returned South all the way back to Amberley.

A39-004 was heard to be using the radio callsign of "Dragon 52".

Of interest, this was the first time we've sighted A39-004 in Central Queensland since its recent re-paint.

On their entry to RAAF service, the KC-30A fleet initially carried a ‘low-visibility’ grey colour scheme brought over from the predecessor Boeing B707 Tanker Transports. This included the aircraft’s identification numbers, emergency markings, RAAF roundels and squadron insignia being applied in blue grey paint.

Difficulty with identifying individual KC-30As on the tarmac and in the air will see the existing blue-grey markings swapped with dark grey markings that have higher contrast with the light grey applied to the rest of the aircraft.

The first KC-30A to receive these new markings was A39-004 which returned to Australia from its repaint in mid-January, with the dark grey markings to be applied on each KC-30A as it comes due for scheduled repainting.

Defence Image...

It certainly makes it a lot easier for us plane spotters to identify the KC-30A with a repaint program applying dark grey markings to the aircraft.

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  ©

Wednesday, March 25, 2020

Falconair Dassault 900 Falcon Mystere Bizjet VH-CAD Pops into Proserpine (Whitsunday Coast) Airport

On Wednesday 25 March, recently registered Falconair (NSW) Dassault 900 Falcon Mystere bizjet VH-CAD was noted visiting Proserpine (Whitsunday Coast) Airport.  It looked to arrive direct from its Bankstown base.

VH-CAD departs Sydney Airport in February  (File photo)

After an hour or so on the ground, VH-CAD returned to Bankstown.

Of interest, VH-CAD was registered to the New South Wales-based Falconair in December 2019 having been delivered to Sydney as N922JW in late November last year.

It appears that VH-CAD has replaced Falconair's two Dassault Falcon 20F bizjets VH-FAI and VH-PNY with the regular visitors to Central Queensland re-registered and possibly departing Australia in the middle of November 2019.

VH-FAI at Mackay Airport in 2018  (File photo)

Both aircraft entered the American Aircraft Register with VH-FAI becoming N957CJ and VH-PNY becoming N380CJ.

Meanwhile, it's worth mentioning that over at the Whitsunday Airport at Shute Harbour, often visiting  American-registered Eclipse EA500 bizjet N257AK was noted arriving back from Tamworth in New South Wales on Tuesday 24 March.  It had flown south just over a week ago.

UPDATE!  On Thursday 26 March, N257AK departed the Whitsunday Airport and flew to Archerfield.

Sincere thanks to Sydney-based specialist aviation photographer Grahame Hutchison for allowing us to share his great photo of VH-CAD.

Do check out more of Grahame's fantastic images on his well-known Sydney Airport based website http://www.16right.com/

Photos taken by Grahame Hutchison and 'AC'  ©

Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) Dassault Falcon 7X Bizjet A56-002 Pops into CQ Airports

On Wednesday 25 March, Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) Dassault Falcon 7X bizjet A56-002 was noted visiting a couple of Central Queensland Airports.

File photo

The still fairly new Falcon 7X bizjet, which is flown by the RAAF's VIP 34 Squadron, was noted arriving into Bundaberg Airport from Canberra and Brisbane as "Envoy 56".

A56-002 then departed Bundy and made the shortish hop up to Rockhampton Airport.

A56-002 then departed Rockhampton Airport and returned to Brisbane and then Canberra.

Photo taken by Trevor Hardsman  ©