Saturday, July 13, 2019

Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) Airbus A330-203 / KC-30A (MRTT) A39-004 Calls into Rockhampton Airport as "Dragon 22"

On Saturday 13 July, Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) Airbus A330-200 / KC-30A Multi Role Tanker Transport (MRTT) A39-004 called into Rockhampton Airport, providing transport for personnel and equipment presumably in support of joint Military Exercise Talisman Sabre 2019 (TS19).




Local plane spotter 'IAD' was on hand to capture its arrival direct from Adelaide in South Australia as "Dragon 22".






It was parked on Gate 6 on the Southern end of the Rockhampton Airport parking apron and looked to unload a reasonably full flight of personnel and their bags.  After some more personnel and bags were loaded, A39-004 departed Rockhampton Airport for Melbourne (Tullamarine) Airport in Victoria again as "Dragon 22".


The RAAF currently has seven KC-30A MRTT aircraft are flown by 33 Squadron based at RAAF Base Amberley.  The Squadron is responsible for aerial refuelling and long-range passenger transport and is controlled by No. 86 Wing, which is part of Air Mobility Group.

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

All photos taken by 'IAD'  ©

Raytheon Australia Learjet 35A Bizjet VH-ESM Arrives into Rockhampton Airport as "Shadow 11"

On Saturday 13 July, Raytheon Australia Learjet 35A VH-ESM was spotted arriving into Rockhampton Airport from HMAS Albatross at Nowra in New South Wales.  It was heard to be using the radio callsign of "Shadow 11".


At the time of writing, VH-ESM remains parked on the Northern Military Hardstand at Rockhampton Airport.



It joins the four GoJet / Air Affairs (Australia) Learjet 35A and Learjet 36A bizjets that have deployed to Gladstone Airport and continue to fly sorties in support of operations to the South during joint Military Exercise Talisman Sabre 2019 (TS19).

Indeed on Saturday 13 July, all four Learjets were again in the air, completing sorties from and back to Gladstone Airport.  Learjet 35A bizjets VH-SLD as "Bosun 14", VH-LFA as "Bosun 13" and VH-LJJ as "Bosun 12" and Learjet 36A bizjet VH-SLF as "Bosun 11". 

Photos taken by Annette Hart Lindner and 'IAD'  ©

Atlas Air Boeing B767-300(ER) N641GT Back at Rockhampton Airport Once Again

Also after dark on Friday 12 July, the fifth 'big' troop charter aircraft in association with joint Military Exercise Talisman Sabre 2019 (TS19) arrived into Rockhampton Airport with Atlas Air Boeing B767-300(ER) N641GT touching down once again from Nadi, Fiji, but as as GTI8511.


After being parked on Gate 6 on the Southern end of the Rockhampton Airport parking apron, it unloaded what looked like a full flight of personnel and their bags.

N641GT remained parked for the night and was photographed departing Rockhampton Airport early on Saturday 13 July as GTI8512 bound for Daniel K. Inouye International Airport (Honolulu), Hawaii.




Sincere thanks to local plane spotter Steve V for taking the time to capture and send through these great photos of a great visitor to Rockhampton Airport.

All photos taken by Steven Vit  ©

US Marines Action Aplenty at Bundaberg Airport on Friday Night - Four Ospreys and Two Hercs Call in!

After the entrĂ©e of a pair of US Marines Lockheed KC-130J Hercules transport aircraft calling in the previous night - see Blog post below - late on Friday 12 July, the military action associated with joint Military Exercise Talisman Sabre 2019 (TS19) at Bundaberg Airport stepped up a gear with four US Marines MV-22B Ospreys touching down, along with the return of Hercs.

File photo

At around 7pm, and in total darkness, four United States Marine Corps (USMC) Bell Boeing MV-22B Osprey tiltrotor aircraft landed on the grass Runway at Bundaberg Airport after flying down from Townsville using the one radio callsign of "Skytrain 11" .




While the individual identities of the Ospreys are not currently known, it is believed that all four Ospreys that flew down from Townsville carry the tail code 'YZ' making them from the Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron 363 (VMM-363) ‘Lucky Red Lions’.  They have previously spent time deployed in Townsville and visited Rockhampton a number of times in late May - see Blog posts below.

The Squadron is spending much of the year deployed to Darwin as a part of the 8th Marine Rotational Force Darwin (MRF-D).  Several MV-22B Ospreys, along with Bell  UH/AH-1 helicopters, arrived in Darwin via ship earlier in the year before being flown the short distance to RAAF Base Darwin.


After around an hour on the ground, all four Ospreys departed together and returned to Townsville again as "Skytrain 11".

But that wasn't the end of the action as soon after the Ospreys left, later on Friday 12 July, United States Marine Corps (USMC) Lockheed KC-130J Hercules 167926 (Tail Code QD-7926) "Sumo 96" and Lockheed KC-130J Hercules 169532 (Tail Code QD-9532) "Sumo 97" both returned to Bundaberg Airport for the second night in-a-row.








As with the previous night, they looked to also fly down from Townsville.  After unloading some equipment including vehicles, they returned to Townsville.  Of interest, 167926 (Tail Code QD-7926) "Sumo 96" also visited Williamson Airfield within the Shoalwater Bay Training Area (SWBTA) earlier in the day.



As mentioned previously, both Hercs are of the Marine Aerial Refueller Transport Squadron 152 (VMGR-152)  the 'Sumos'.


Sincere thanks to local plane spotters Isaac S and Dan B for taking the time to capture and send through these great photos and video!

Photos and videos taken by Russell Prothero, Isaac S and Dan B  ©

Friday, July 12, 2019

A Fifth GoJet / Air Affairs (Australia) Learjet 36 Bizjet VH-SLJ Pops into Gladstone Airport as the Other Four Learjets Start Flying Sorties

After four of its 'stable-mates' arrived the previous day, on Friday 12 July, GoJet / Air Affairs (Australia) Learjet 36 bizjet VH-SLJ was noted visiting Gladstone Airport.  It looked to arrive from HMAS Albatross at Nowra and was heard to be using the radio callsign of "Ajax 01".

File photo

It didn't stay long however returning to Nowra a short time later.

Meanwhile, also on Friday 12 July, the other four visiting GoJet / Air Affairs (Australia) Learjet bizjets started flying sorties out of and back to Gladstone Airport presumably in support of operations associated with joint Military Exercise Talisman Sabre 2019 (TS19).

File photo

It appears that they flew as two pairs with Learjet 35A bizjet VH-SLD leading one pair as "Bosun 11" while Learjet 36A bizjet VH-SLF led the other pair as "Bosun 13".

Their operations looked to take place near the Sunshine Coast.

Photos taken by 'AC'  ©

A Trio of Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) British Aerospace (BAe) Hawk 127 Jets Arrive into Rockhampton Airport

On Friday 12 July, a trio of  Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) British Aerospace (BAe) Hawk 127 jet training aircraft were photographed arriving into Rockhampton Airport presumably to participate in the joint Military Exercise Talisman Sabre 2019 (TS19). They looked to fly up direct from RAAF Base Williamtown near Newcastle in New South Wales.























The were identified as A27-18, A27-22 and A27-13 and were heard to use the one radio callsign of "Bobcat", although separated to "Bobcat 41, 42 and 43" and they landed.




The three Hawks are flown by No. 76 Flight Training Squadron, part of No. 78 Wing, out of RAAF Base Williamtown in New South Wales.


The squadron is organised into two flights. Training Flight provides introductory fighter training to pilots who have been trained to operate jet aircraft by No. 79 Squadron at RAAF Base Pearce in Western Australia. After completing this course the pilots are posted to either No. 2 Operational Conversion Unit to be converted to F/A-18A aircraft or No. 6 Squadron to learn to fly F/A-18F Super Hornets. Operations Flight provides close air support training for the Army and fleet support training for the Navy.

Sincere thanks local plane spotters Daniel B and 'IAD' for taking the time to capture and send through these great photos of these great little visitors to Rocky!

Photos taken by Daniel Bishop and 'IAD'  ©