Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Antonov 124 Arrives at Rockhampton Airport

Finally, the first of (possibly) two Antonov 124 arrivals in Rockhampton occured late on Monday 29 November, with AN-124 RA-82074, operating as "VDA151", touching down shortly before 9pm local. The aircraft is planned to take several Republic of Singapore Air Force (RSAF) helicopters back to Singapore after the completion of Exercise Wallaby 2010. Ben O was at the airport and provides the picture below.

Recent Rockhampton Airport Action

The Singapore Armed Forces packing away after Wallaby 2010 continued over this last weekend with all 4 Boeing AH-64 Apache helicopters and 5 Aerospatiale AS335M Super Puma helicopters noted on Saturday 27 November with rotars removed and covers applied ready for uplift to Singapore (see photo below). It is expected that 2 Antonov 124 charters will be required to move the helicopters. Reports suggest that an inbound load of replacement Super Puma helicopters will also occur.

The last troop charter for the exercise, operated Air New Zealand, arrived from and departed to Singapore on Friday 26 November. Boeing B747-400 ZK-NBW is pictured below on Gate 6 at Rockhampton Airport shortly after its arrival.

Alliance Airlines Fokker F-100s continue to operate 2-3 times daily on behalf of QantasLink, with VH-FWI pictured below operating "Unity 2352" from Brisbane on Saturday 27 November. The Alliance Fokkers are expected to be seen in Rockhampton right during the Christmas period.

Elsewhere at the airport, the Capricorn Helicopter Rescue service has borrowed Sikorsky S-76A VH-XHJ from Jayrow Helicopters whilst its other S-76A VH-JRD is receiving some maintenance. VH-XHJ is pictured below parked outside their hangar.

Lastly, the Royal Flying Doctor Service (Qld section) continue to utilise Suzi Air (Indonesia) Paiggio P-180 PK-BVX, with the smart looking machine pictured below arriving from Brisbane late in the afternoon on Saturday 27 November.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Skytrans at Clermont Aerodrome today

Dash-8-100 VH-QQF was noted for the first time at Clermont Aerodrome early on Monday 29 November, wearing the new Skytrans Airlines colour scheme. Until recently, this particular aircraft had been wearing special Cairns Taipans player decals. A video of VH-QQF taxiing to its parking position, after arriving from Brisbane as "Skytrans 860", is shown below.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Rockhampton Aero Club's Funflight 2010

The Rockhampton Aero Club's Funflight day was held at Rockhampton Airport on Sunday 14 November. 130 special guests, 9 pilots, 13 volunteer helpers, 1 Funflight Director, as well as Hot Rods, Ice Creams, a Fire Truck, a String Quartet, and the Republic of Singapore Air Force (RSAF), made it a day to remember for the sick and disadvantaged children and their parents.

The RSAF generously opened up a Boeing AH-64 Apache Helicopter, a General Dynamics (Lockheed Martin) F-16D+ Fighter Jet, an Aerospatiale AS335M Super Puma Helicopter, and a Boeing CH-47D Chinook Helicopter, for the guests to walk around and explore!

More details, as well as some photos of the day can be found HERE on the Rockhampton Aero Club's website.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Exercise Wallaby 2010 Pack-up begins at Rockhampton Airport

The Singapore Armed Forces Exercise Wallaby 2010 is in the very last stages this week, and the Republic of Singapore Air Force (RSAF) equipment that has been resident at Rockhampton Airport for the past month is slowly departing Australia bound for Singapore or other exercises.

On Tuesday 23 November, no less than 3 RSAF Lockheed C-130H Hercules aircraft were noted at Rockhampton Airport. '731', '733', and '735' were believed to be the serials, with 2 of these aircraft accompanying the 6 RSAF General Dynamics (Lockheed Martin) F-16D+ fighter jets on Wednesday 24 November as they departed to Darwin for another exercise, this time in Bali.

The RSAF Boeing AH-64 Apache helicopters have been noted without their rotars, and with covers applied, in readiness for their uplift back to Singapore. This is believed to be happening very soon with at least 1 Antonov 124 charter coming to Rockhampton Airport this weekend.

The final 'wave' of Air New Zealand charters is also occuring this week with B747-400 ZK-NBW operating into Rockhampton Airport each night from Monday 22 November until Friday 26 November.

Meanwhile, Ben O has again supplied some fantastic photos of some of the action from last week at Rockhampton Airport. Thanks mate!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Skytrans at Clermont Aerodrome today

Skytrans Airlines latest Dash-8 VH-QQI is pictured below parked at Clermont Aerodrome on Tuesday 23 November after it brought the Cairns Taipans basketball team to town for a school visit.

Earlier in the day, Skytrans Dash-8s VH-QQE and VH-QQH were noted operating FIFO flights to Brisbane.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Recent Clermont Aerodrome Visitors

The Clermont township was cut off last Thursday 18 November for a while as the main road in and out of town went under when Sandy Creek broke its banks.

The only way for some to get around was by helicopter. Pictured below after landing on the Clermont Sportsgrounds oval is Reid Heliwork Robinson R-44 VH-ROM transporting workers out of town.

Another R-44 was spotted flying around, as was an Aerospatiale AS350 Squirrel, believed to be VH-WEB of Central Airlines (CHAT).

Meanwhile on Friday 19 November, Central Airlines (CHAT) Piper PA-31 Navajo VH-NWN is photographed below at the Clermont Aerodrome, without any titles or logos that were painted on its tail.

An interesting visitor pictured below on Monday 22 November is Aero Commander 500-S VH-WZI. This aircraft was flown by Aero Tropics (Lip Air) in Cairns. Aero Tropics has since gone bust and the aircraft is now registered to FlightTech Pty Ltd in Cairns.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Susi Air Piaggio P-180 Avanti II PK-BVX at Rockhampton Airport

Susi Air Piaggio P-180 Avanti II PK-BVX was noted at Rockhampton Airport on Friday 19 November. The aircraft has been on a demonstration tour in Australia and has been operating for the Royal Flying Doctor Service. It is pictured below just prior to tranferring a patient that came from Brisbane.

Susi Air is a scheduled and charter airline based in Indonesia.

Friday, November 19, 2010

One million passengers to pass through Mackay airport

WIN TV news has reported on an "enormous" rise in passengers passing through the Mackay Airport terminal.

Figures show a 16% increase in passenger numbers to October this year as compared to last year, and with the festive season on its way, figures are expected to show an increase to more than one million passengers for the twelve months.

Mackay Airport's thirteen million dollar upgrade of the terminal is expected to enhance first impressions of passengers.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Rockhampton Airport greeting record number of passengers

Rockhampton Regional Council has recently announced that the number of people using Rockhampton Airport is soaring. There has been an increase of 8.7% in passenger movements compared to the same period in 2009, which has helped set a new annual record (for the year to September) of 751,327 passengers for the airport.

Council says "this is an extremely positive and encouraging milestone for the airport and region".

These figures are the best Council have ever seen, and they expect that these will further increase during October and November due to the Republic of Singapore Armed Forces military exercise, "Wallaby 2010".

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Jetstar plane bound for Mackay Airport forced to turn back to Brisbane

A Jetstar plane bound for Mackay was forced to return to Brisbane on Tuesday 16 November after experiencing a mechanical problem. Jetstar flight JQ888, which was being operated by Airbus A320 VH-VQO, took off from Brisbane about 2.30pm, but returned shortly afterwards. The A320 landed without incident and none of the passengers and crew were injured.

Jetstar spokesman Simon Westaway was quoted (on http://www.abc.net.au/) as saying:

"The issue was we were losing some hydraulic fluid. A directive was given to the captain that some fluid was left on the tarmac when the aircraft took off" he said.

"The aircraft would've been stranded in Mackay if it pushed onwards to Mackay and the decision, the right decision, was made to return that aircraft back to Brisbane."

The issue appears to have affected the aircraft's landing gear.

Mr Westaway said that investigations were continuing.

Passengers were transferred to a later flight (which was operated by Jetstar's A320 VH-VGP which wears a special decal promoting "Powderfinger's" Australian tour).

Monday, November 15, 2010

Jetstar Special Colours and more at Mackay Airport

Photographed arriving into Mackay Airport on Saturday 13 November was Jetstar’s A320 VH-VGZ wearing special “Quiksilver” colours. This colour scheme is to promote the “Quiksilver Pro” surfing competition that is held on the Gold Coast each year.

Also spotted was a recent arrival into Mackay in the form of Yakovlev Yak-52 VH-YAF. It is photographed below on final approach after a 10min flight around Mackay and Walkerston.

Later in the afternoon, Surveillance Australia (Australian Customs Service) Dash-8-200 VH-ZZP is photographed arriving into Mackay as “Coastwatch 343”. This photo (below) was taken from my hotel along Nebo Road (Bruce Highway), showing how closely aircraft on final approach to Runway 14 can be seen.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Gladstone Airport News and Alliance Charter Flight

With Gladstone Airport's new runway fully operational, Alliance Airlines flew a jet charter to Gladstone from Brisbane on Friday 12 November. Fokker F100 VH-FWI arrived mid-morning, before returning to Brisbane later in afternoon. It is possible that this charter could be the first of many with the new LNG gas projects commencing nearby.

Meanwhile, low cloud and generally poor weather in Gladstone during September saw several inbound QantasLink flights divert to Rockhampton, and others cancelled. It is believed that the runway works contributed to a higher than normal approach minima. At no stage however, did the airport close.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Recent Tiger Airways changes to CQ Airports

Tiger Airways passengers will experience some changes when flying out of Central Queensland Airports after changes to the airline's timetable this week. Mackay passengers flying to Melbourne will now land at Avalon airport, while direct flights from Rockhampton to Melbourne have been re-instated, with passengers also flying into Avalon Airport.

Previously, Tiger Airways used Melbourne's Tullamarine Airport for its Rockhampton and Mackay flights, but it will now use Avalon after the airport officially became the low-cost airline's third base this week.

Tiger Airways says that the move "will ensure that low-fare air travel will become more convenient and affordable for customers wanting to fly to Victoria and explore more of Victoria's tourism drawcards, such as the Great Ocean Road".

Tiger's Mackay to Melbourne (Avalon) timetable:

Mackay - Melbourne (Avalon)
Departing Monday, Wednesday, Friday, Sunday, 6.35pm

Melbourne (Avalon) - Mackay
Arriving Monday, Wednesday, Friday, Sunday, 6.05pm

Tiger's Rockhampton to Melbourne (Avalon) timetable:

Rockhampton - Melbourne (Avalon)
Departing Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday, 6.20pm

Melbourne (Avalon) - Rockhampton
Arriving Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday, 5.50pm

Tiger is planning to revert these flights back to Melbourne's Tullamarine Airport from February 2011, and will also continue to fly to Rockhampton from Brisbane until February 2011.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

TRIP REPORT – Brisbane to Mackay – Jetstar Airways – A320

Trip report – Brisbane to Mackay – Saturday 2 October 2010 – Jetstar Airways – JQ884 – A320-232 – VH-VQF.

At the end of our long journey overseas, we returned to Brisbane early in the morning, and courtesy of a lift (thanks again Mum and Aunty!!), we arrived at the Brisbane Domestic Terminal about 2½ hours before our flight. Jetstar have a fully automatic check-in system in Brisbane, meaning we had to simply type in our reservation number into the kiosk, specify how many bags we had to check-in, collect our boarding passes and bag tags, apply the bag tags (per attached instructions!!), and proceed to the bag drop and away we go!! Simple!!

And yes – it was very simple and easy!! We walked straight up to a check-in/bag drop agent (no queue necessary) and gave the bags straight over, and since exit row seats were available, we took them, and we were issued with our new boarding passes.

It does seem that all Jetstar passengers are encouraged to use the automatic check-in now as some people who said they couldn’t use the machines were being re-directed back to them to try again – perhaps the check-in agents will be done away with soon??

Up through a fairly big security queue – which we were now used to thanks to travelling though European airports – and straight to Gate 38 where VH-VQF (in new colours and pictured below) pulled up to take us north.

Boarding was though the front door only and by row number, although I don’t think the public like to play by these rules as there were people in just about every row when we eventually decided to board. Flight ended up being about 75% full. Push back and start – complete with "barking dog" – was pretty much on time, followed by taxi and fairly quick take off from Brisbane’s Runway 19. Through the clouds and a fairly smooth flight up North with the luxury of the extra legroom of the exit room – as shown below.

Snack service came through very quickly with no one really buying anything, so with that done, the cabin crew (only three) weren’t seen until preparations for landing. A very cloudy Mackay awaited us and the seat belt sign came on shortly after we started descent. We flew the VOR approach from overhead the airport with a left turn onto finals and landing Runway 14 at Mackay. Bags came out after about 10 minutes.

Jetstar service is great – I like the idea of the (nearly) fully automated check-in procedure – and as usual the on-board service was great.

TRIP REPORT – Mackay to Brisbane – QantasLink – Dash-8-Q400

Trip Report – Mackay to Brisbane – Saturday 11 September 2010 – QantasLink – QF2511 – Dash-8-Q400 – VH-QOJ

Well this (comparably) small trip started my wife and I’s journey to Europe. A 6.45am departure meant an early start and we arrived at the airport at about 5.30am. Check-in wasn’t open, and neither was the airport's café… hmmm… we waited about 15 minutes and check-in opened with 2 agents checking our QantasLink flight in. Small queue and soon to the agent where our big (28kg) bag was checked in to Brisbane without dramas. We also checked in a smaller bag too. We were assigned seats in the back row of our plane, which again isn’t an issue as legroom is ample in the Dash-8-Q400.

By now the airport's café had opened so we settled back for some breakfast, then through security, and then waiting for our flight! The morning's Virgin Blue Embraer E190 service to Brisbane boarded, and whilst it was starting and taxiing away, we commenced our boarding. All this was done in about 15 minutes – flight was full. Engines start, taxi onto the runway and back-track to take-off Runway 14 at Mackay.

Some nice early morning views over the Hay Point and Dalrymple Bay Coal terminals (just South of Mackay Airport) with as many as 70 ships anchored out to sea waiting for their turn to load.

Breakfast was served and consisted of yogurt and muesli bar, along with orange juice and tea/coffee.

Smooth flight and descent with a nice view of Caboolture Aerodrome out to the left side.

We overflew Redcliffe and made a visual approach to Runway 19 into a fine and sunny Brisbane. Got to the stand-off gate, seat-belts off, passengers standing-up and keen to get off, bags were coming off… but we waited… and waited… and waited… Turns out another Dash-8 was taxiing out before we could get off the plane. We obviously then collected our bags pretty quickly and waited for our lift up to the International terminal (thanks Mum and Aunty!!).

Overall another great flight with QantasLink!

Skytrans fly to Alpha Aerodrome

With info courtesy of Lloyd F in Brisbane, 2 Skytrans Dash-8-100's operated Brisbane-Alpha-Brisbane on Saturday 6 November. The aircraft involved were believed to be VH-QQE and VH-QQH.

Alpha is the hub of the proposed Gallilee Basin coal mining area. Once given the green light over 10,000 fly in fly out workers will be needed.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Mackay and Whitsunday Airports Upgrades begin

A recent news report HERE from Mackay's Daily Mercury newspaper about Mackay Airport's new look, with the first major terminal refurbishment since 2004 recently beginning as part of a wider $10 million upgrade plan.

There is also a report HERE about plans for an Airport Motel in Mackay Airport's redevelopment.

Meanwhile The Daily Mercury reports HERE about an upgrade to the Whitsunday Coast Airport at Proserpine.