Saturday, July 31, 2010

Aero Vodochody L-39C Albatros VH-VRO at Mackay Airport

The planned Aero Vodochody L-39C Albatross was operating joyflights out of Mackay Airport on Saturday 31 July. The Albatross is registered VH-VRO to Warbird Aviation Australia. It is also photographed waiting for its next customer outside the Mackay Aero Club. A big crowd was present at the Aero Club to see the Albatross fly!

RPT movements that were noted included Jetstar A320 VH-VGV operating JQ887 to Brisbane and QantasLink (Sunstate Airlines) Dash-8-Q300 VH-TQE operating as QF2306 to Townsville.

Also spotted outside maintenance was Australasian Jets PA-31 VH-ZMK and Cessna 206s VH-RIH and VH-IEW. Around the corner, the Australasian Jet ramp was full with their other aircraft that fly to the surrounding islands and other charter around CQ.

At Mackay Helicopters (Aviation Tourism Australia), Bell 222 VH-TOR was being worked on. Their other big Bell 430 VH-HIA was also parked.

Friday, July 30, 2010

Skytrans Dash-8 first visit to Clermont Aerodrome

A busy night at Clermont Aerodrome on Thursday 29 July, with three FIFO arrivals, a FIFO departure, and rescue training for the local auxiliary fire brigade.

Central Airlines (CHAT) Piper PA-31 VH-BCQ (pictured below) flew in from Mackay and overnighted. 

Skytrans Airlines Dash-8 VH-QQE, pictured below still wearing the company's old livery, arrived and departed to Brisbane as SKP868/SKP869. 

Finally, Skytrans Airlines Dash-8 VH-QQD, wearing PDL TOLL titles and livery, arrived from Brisbane as SKP870 and overnighted.  This aircraft has, until recently, been operating from Darwin, and has been rarely seen in Queensland.  It is pictured on the Clermont Aerodrome apron waiting for its parking spot, and then in its parking spot with VH-QQE departing behind it.

After all the passengers and bags had been removed, the local auxiliary fire brigade had a closer look at both the outside and inside of the plane as a part of their rescue training.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Indian Bombardier 605 Challenger Biz-Jet VT-APL at Mackay Airport

An interesting visitor at Mackay Airport was a Bombardier 605 Challenger with Indian registration VT-APL. It arrived Sunday 25 July and left Monday 26 July, flying onto Brisbane.  It was spotted on Tuesday 27 July.

There may be other biz-jets bound for Mackay this week with the Queensland Mining Expo being held.

Also an L-39 Albatross Jet Fighter is coming to Mackay from Wednesday 28 July for a series of joyflights. Unsure of the rego of the aircraft coming. Pictures hopefully up next week!!

Photo taken by Lloyd Fox  ©

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Clermont and Longreach Airport Notables this weekend

CQ Rescue Helicopter Service Bell 412 VH-NSV popped into Clermont Hospital Sunday 25 July on a patient transfer.

Mineralogy owned and operated McDonnell Douglas MD-82 VP-CBI visited Longreach Airport on Saturday 24 July (info courtesy of Lloyd Fox from South East Queensland Aviation News). Mineralogy is Clive Palmer's iron ore exploration and mining company.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Capricorn Helicopter Rescue crash victims remembered

The five victims of Queensland's worst helicopter crash will be remembered on the 10th anniversary of the tragedy.

In the early hours of 24 July 2000, Bell 206 VH-FFI was operating a rescue flight, taking a sick five-year-old boy to hospital. The helicopter crashed in darkness and heavy fog, in a field near Marlborough in central Queensland. The boy, his mum, and three crew lost their lives in the crash.

The Capricorn Helicopter Rescue Service had flown to pick up the five-year-old boy with breathing problems from a remote property northwest of Rockhampton.

The Queensland Ambulance Service will honour the victims at a memorial service in Rockhampton on Saturday.

In 2003, an inquest found low fuel was to blame for the crash and heavy fog had been a significant factor.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Rescue Choppers' Funding May Suffer

In light of my blog posts about the CQ region rescue helicopters, the responsibility for these have been secretly handed to Qld Health, raising fears they could become a glorified air ambulance service. Check out the following articles about the CQ Rescue Service (Daily Mercury in Mackay) and the Capricorn Rescue Service (The Morning Bulletin in Rockhampton).

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

The Capricorn Helicopter Rescue Service – Rockhampton

The Capricorn Helicopter Rescue Service (CHRS) provides rapid deployment of medical or rescue teams to major accidents, incidents or search and rescue operations. It also acts as an airborne intensive care unit to transfer critically ill or injured patients to a hospital where they can get the treatment they need. Whether in the bush, at sea or on a remote road or mine site the rescue helicopter can land and board injured or lost patients.

The Service was incorporated in December 1995 and started operations on 26 January 1996. The Service is free to all people within Central Queensland at any time.

The Capricorn Helicopter Rescue Service flys recently delivered Sikorsky S-76A helicopter VH-JRD (pictured above) which is owned and operated by Jayrow Helicopters in Victoria. This helicopter is an American built twin engine Instrument Flight Rules (IFR) machine, which has an overall aircraft size (rotors turning) of 13.46m, seating up to five passengers, and accommodating a maximum of two stretchers. As shown below, the helicopter has a maximum range (without refuel) of up to 300nm, with a normal cruising speed of up to 130kts.


Sunday, July 18, 2010

Clermont Aerodrome visitors this weekend

Toowoomba registered PA-31T VH-DXD was noted at Clermont late on Saturday 17 July and is pictured below.

Also locally based Jabiru J-230 19-5510 was also noted and is shown below parked in its hangar.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Mackay Airport Spottings on Thursday

A few aircraft were noted at Mackay Airport on Thursday 15 July. These are pictured below:

Beech 350 N412KA which is apparently registered in Queensland.

Cessna 206 VH-RGE of Australasian Jet.

Cessna 402 VH-AII of Australasian Jet.

Cessna 414 VH-FKH of Gateway Aviation.

PA-31 VH-DEP which is registered locally in Mackay.

QantasLink at Moranbah Aerodrome

Noted at Moranbah Airport on Thursday 15 July was QantasLink Dash-8-Q300 VH-TQH arriving on a scheduled service from Brisbane. In the video below you will also see local aircraft including Cessna 172 VH-ELE, Cessna 150 VH-PKU, and a Jabiru parked.

VH-TQH is also pictured parked on the Moranbah Airport apron just after pulling up.

As previously posted, QantasLink operates 11 return services to Moranbah from Brisbane, with 2 of these being FIFO charters for the local mines.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

TRIP REPORT – Mackay to Sydney to Mackay – Virgin Blue

Mackay to Sydney (via Brisbane) – Sunday 4 July – DJ600 – Embraer E190 VH-ZPD / DJ938 – B737-800 VH-VUE

Early flight out of Mackay – due to having the connecting flight the quick check-in kiosks didn’t allow us to check-in so up to the counter we went – checked through to Sydney with a 1½ stop-over in Brisbane. Boarded on time – departed straight out of Mackay – smooth flight – in-flight service came through fairly quickly as not too many purchases were made. The Embraer 190s have plenty of room for a big bloke like me - and with the 2x2 seating, they actually feel like you're riding in your own private jet!! We had a smooth descent and landing in Brisbane – arrived on time. Our aircraft VH-ZPD is pictured above at gate in Brisbane.

For the Sydney leg, we noticed our flight was running 15 minutes late and with a gate change. We ended up pushing back 20 minutes late – departed to the South with a smooth climb to cruising altitude. Shortly before decent the pilot announced that due to weather we were slowing, and allotted a landing time some 35 minutes after scheduled arrival – slow but smooth descent with great views out the right side over Sydney – landed Runway 25 (cross runway) - and then a quick taxi past the International Terminal. Ended up leaving the plane about 45 minutes after our scheduled arrival.

Sydney to Mackay (via Brisbane) – Wednesday 7 July – DJ925 – B737-800 VH-VUL / DJ613 – B737-700 VH-VBY (Virgin Blue’s 50th aircraft)

From arrival into Brisbane we were to have only 30 minutes before our departure to Mackay. We should have thought about these flights a bit more carefully, despite Virgin Blue offering this combination as a bookable pair. Again the kiosks wouldn’t let us check in so up to the counter we went. I asked about the connection time in Brisbane and was told there shouldn’t be a problem but that there were ATC delays due to weather… oh oh!!

Sure enough our flight to Brisbane was delayed – ended up leaving about 30 minutes late – but we were reassured a couple of times that our Mackay bound flight would be held in Brisbane as there were about 20 passengers on our flight that were connecting like us. Typically long taxi in Sydney and then an uneventful flight, although we did slow when approaching Brisbane due to the weather. The Mackay bound passengers were given permission to deplane first, but as we did, the plane operating to Mackay was pushing back from the gate, and then the CSM announced that unknown to her, the decision was made not the hold the flight. We landed some 35 minutes late.

So began a 5-hour wait and then a further 20 minute delay for our Mackay flight. Thank goodness for the Blue Room!! Eventually in the afternoon we took off for Mackay in Virgin’s 50th aircraft VH-VBY pictured above arriving at gate in Brisbane. This flight was full, and the amount of room in the B737-700 seems to be a lot less than Virgin Blue’s other aircraft – B737-800 and Embraers. Long final approach into Mackay with great views over the city. Our bag came out fairly quickly which was a surprise as other airlines operating into Mackay actually put bags onto the conveyor belt after they have actually loaded the outgoing flight.

Monday, July 12, 2010

TRIP REPORT – Emerald to Brisbane to Emerald – QantasLink

With the monopoly that QantasLink has on this service, and the usually high load factor, I was surprised to get reasonably priced fares booked only a couple of weeks prior to the flights.  QantasLink now operate between 4-5 services on this run each weekday, and 2-3 on the weekend.

Emerald to Brisbane – Monday 28 June – QF2413 – Dash-8-Q400 VH-QOT (pictured below departing Emerald)

Checked in at the new terminal counters at Emerald Airport – very fast with no other pax waiting – conveyor belt to the baggage area is loud though – had to walk past the construction zone to the old terminal waiting area – the new terminal waiting area is under construction and will feature security screening – there will also be a state-of-the-art QantasLink lounge for Qantas Club and Platinum and Gold Frequent Flyer members.

Flight to Brisbane left about 20 minutes late and was smooth and uneventful – full flight but plenty of room (I'm over 6ft tall and not skinny) - these aircraft are surprisingly roomy – light refreshments were served about 20 minutes into the flight, followed by tea and coffee – arrived in Brisbane about 15 minutes late – managed to make up some time due to favourable tail-winds at the cruise of 25000ft.  In all, great service and another great flight from QantasLink.

Brisbane to Emerald – Wednesday 30 June – QF2406 – Dash-8-Q400 VH-QOU

I used the Quick Check-in facilities at Brisbane Airport – was assigned a window near the rear of the plane – checked the seat map and there were no other seats available – a full flight??

Boarded through the downstairs waiting area in the Qantas Domestic Terminal at Brisbane Airport – it was busy at this time with three other QantasLink flights and a Brindabella Airlines flight all departing about the same time – and then via the tarmac.  Flight wasn’t full with just about every isle seat vacant – yet the check-in kiosk had the marked at ‘unavailable’??

Flight left on time but due to headwinds at cruising level 16000ft arrived into Emerald about 10 minutes late – light refreshments were served about 20 minutes after take off – followed by tea and coffee and the complimentary beer and wine service as happens on all Qantas and QantasLink flights after 4pm.  Great service and a great flight with plenty of room again on QantasLink.

Friday, July 9, 2010

RFDS at Moranbah Aerodrome and Rockhampton Airport

After a tragic fatal accident near Moranbah on Thursday 8 July, the Royal Flying Doctor Service transported a critically injured patient to Townsville from Moranbah. Pictured below is Hawker Beechcraft B200 King Air VH-FDA parked at Moranbah Airport waiting for the patient.

Meanwhile on Saturday 3 July, the RFDS celebrated 15 years of having a base at Rockhampton Airport to support Rockhampton and the surrounding areas. The RFDS operates 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. The Rockhampton base is one of eight in Queensland, and covers an area from Cairns to Brisbane, and out as far as Longreach, operating two Beech B200 King Air aircraft VH-FDR and VH-FDW.

Moranbah Aerodrome News

Moranbah is a mining town located approximately 200km West of Mackay along the Peak Downs Highway. The airport is located on the Moranbah Access Road, about 6km from the town itself.

As shown in the photo above, there is a basic terminal located in the old Aero Club building (on the right), and photography of the resident and visiting aircraft parked on the apron is easy as you can drive up to and photograph from the fenceline. An example is shown below.

With Macair failing, Moranbah (MOV) went without any RPT flights for some time, with mostly mining FIFO charters operating to and from the airport. QantasLink re-introduced an RPT service from MOV to Brisbane (BNE) in 2009.

Qantaslink has now recently increased the frequency of their BNE-MOV-BNE flights to 9 a week, operating a mix of Dash-8 type equipment on the route.

Also over recent weeks QantasLink has also been operating mining FIFO charters on the BNE-MOV-BNE run. This was operated by Skytrans for about two weeks.

This sees QantasLink operating a total of 11 times a week on this run.

Moranbah also still gets regular charter aircraft that fly workers in and out of the nearby mines.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Recent Mackay Airport Movements

Pictured below are some aircraft noted at Mackay Friday 2 July and Saturday 3 July, including...

Virgin Blue B737-800 VH-VUA landing Runway 14 (photo taken from Bridge Road - see other post on spotting locations for more information)

JM Kelly builders (Professional Jet Aviation) Citation VH-JMK

Queensland Government Hawker 850XP VH-SGY

Mackay Helicopters (Aviation Tourism Australia/Curry-Kenny Aviation) Bell 206 VH-COW and Bell 430 VH-HIA