Friday, December 31, 2010

Central Queensland Airports and Air Services Affected by Flooding

The recent devastating floods throughout Central Queensland have affected the regions airports and air services.

In Rockhampton, with the flooding of the Fitzroy River expected to reach its peak by Tuesday, Rockhampton Airport will cease normal domestic passenger (RPT) services on Saturday 1 January. It is expected that it will remain closed for 10 days.

The Royal Flying Doctor Service has reportedly evacuated their airport facilites, and flown their two locally based aircraft - Beech B200 King Airs VH-FDR and VH-FDW - to other airports in Queensland.

In terms of the airlines, QantasLink will operate their last flight on Saturday to Mackay at 11.10am; Virgin Blue will operate their last flight on Saturday to Brisbane at 1:45pm; and Tiger Airways will operate their last flight today (Friday) to Brisbane at 3:50pm.

The Rockhampton Regional Council has advised that all vehicles should be removed from the airport carparks, with the paid parking system being deactivated.

The Rockhampton Airport website - LINK - contains the latest information.

With the airport closing, the Rockhampton Regional Council has requested assistance from the Australian Army, with the possibility of Sikorsky S-70A Blackhawks arriving in Rockhampton to conduct evacuations and other duties.

Also, on Thursday 30 December, three Toll Priority metros were noted at Rockhampton Airport flying in tens of thousands of extra sandbags on delivery to the Central Region Emergency Management Group (EMG), who supply bags to SES volunteers. Meanwhile, on Friday 31 December, it was reported that aviation fuel supplies in Rockhampton were completely depleted, with a new supply having to be trucked to town. Local helicopter firms are also facing depleted stocks of the chopper fuel, with one firm believed to be trucking in Avgas from Townsville to continue operating.

In Emerald, passengers travelling into Emerald Airport are being advised to change their travel plans as Emerald Airport has been cut off from the main township since Thursday 30 December. The Local Disaster Management Group is monitoring incoming passengers from QantasLink services and if the majority of passengers have to be accommodated in emergency accommodation the LMDG will have no choice but to ask for services to be cancelled.

So with the airport inaccessible from the main township, emergency and privately owned helicopters are landing and taking off from the Pioneer Park Racecourse in the centre of Emerald.

It is believed that Australian Army Sikorsky S-70A Blackhawk helicopters were deployed from Townsville on Thursday 30 December to evacuate local residents to the airport.

It was also noted that Queensland Premier Anna Bligh visited the town Friday 31 December in the Queensland Governments Hawker 850XP Bizjet. She later overflew the town in one of the Blackhawks.

Also, it is beleived that Central Park Helicopters (of Springsure) Robinson R22, VH-PUG, crashed at the Emerald Racecourse on Thursday 30 December. The privately owned chopper reportedly lost control and flipped on its side shortly after taking off. The pilot was the only person on board and was not seriously hurt. Channel Seven News reporter Peter Doherty took this photo HERE

CQ Planespotting is thinking of those who have been affected by the flooding.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Bowen (or Bowenwood) Airport and Coral Sea Memorial

Bowen’s location within the Whitsundays region of Central Queensland, is at the edge of the Coral Sea and The Great Barrier Reef.

As you can see, the airport isn't that big, with only Cessna 172 VH-BNC present on Thursday 23 December, but within the airport grounds, the Bowen Lions Club's Coral Sea Memorial dioramas can be found within the building next to the Aero Club.

One of the other attractions at Bowen (or Bowenwood) is the Big Mango at the Visitor Information Centre.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Photo of Weststar Aviation B737-200 at Rockhampton Airport

With thanks to Ben O, who managed to find a break in the rain on Friday 24 December, comes a photo of the beautifully coloured Weststar Aviation Boeing B737-200 N413JG that has been parked at Rockhampton Airport for the last few days.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Happy Christmas!!

To the followers of CQ Plane Spotting, and all the other visitors to our website, we hope that you and your families all have a very happy and safe Christmas!!

Hopefully Santa did make it to your place!!

Friday, December 24, 2010

Latest Virgin Blue Boeing B737-800 visits Rockhampton Airport

Noted at Rockhampton Airport on Wednesday 23 December was Virgin Blue's latest Boeing B737-800 VH-VUY.

The brand new aircraft was only delivered to Virgin Blue the previous week.

It is believed that Wednesday's service - DJ1251/DJ1252 - Brisbane to Rockhampton to Brisbane - was the first revenue service for this aircraft.

It has also been noted that this aircraft has no livery applied to it and is currently all white. There is speculation that this aircraft could have a special livery applied in the new year, or possibly even a new Virgin Blue or Virgin Australia livery could be applied.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Classic Boeing B737-200 at Rockhampton Airport

In a real surprise for local spotters, Boeing B737-200, N413JG of Weststar Aviation, arrived at Rockhampton Airport early on Wednesday 22 December from the Gold Coast. The classic Boeing is currently parked on Bay 1 under the old control tower. It is due to stay parked there until after Christmas.

No photos are currently available as there is torential rain at Rockhampton at the moment!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Charters Towers Aerodrome - the northern part of Central Queensland!

This intrepid blogger is currently on a big road trip all over Queensland, arriving today in Townsville from a couple of nice spotting days in Cairns. On the way up North, I passed through Charters Towers - a lovely little town which lies 138 kilometres south-west of Townsville, on the Flinders Highway. So despite being this close to the capital of North Queensland, I would like to consider Charters Towers still to be part of Central Queensland!!

Charters Towers is an historic city built on gold, flourishing during the bustling gold boom of the late 1800s. By the turn of the century it had become Queensland's second largest city, and the honour of having one of the first regional Stock Exchanges built in 1888. A golden city with a colourful past, the lively heritage brings Charters Towers to life, and makes this town a must see on any itinerary.

Anyway here are some images captured on Saturday 11 December at the Airport, showing the small terminal and the apron area and maintenance hangars. There is a good array of stored and visiting aircraft parked on the field. Most are owned locally, with many in line for restoration and sale elsewhere in Australia and overseas. Spotting is easy - over the waist high fence!

There is also this interesting warning sign... only in country Queensland!!

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Light plane crashes at Great Keppel Island Aerodrome

There has been a light plane crash on Great Keppel Island off central Queensland on Saturday 18 December.

All four people onboard suffered minor injuries when the aircraft ran off the runway at the Great Keppel Island Aerodrome.

Police said they were told at 12.24pm (AEST) about the crash on the central Queensland holiday island.

The aircraft is reported to be a Cessna 182, and eyewitness pictures suggest it could be VH-DOK of Peace Aviation in Rockhampton.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

QantasLink Expands Dash-8-Q400 Operations to Blackall and Barcaldine Airports


QantasLink has announced this week that it would launch its flagship Bombardier Dash-8-Q400 regional aircraft on its Brisbane to Blackall and Brisbane to Barcaldine routes from early February 2011.

The introduction of the Dash-8-Q400 service would increase frequency from two services per week to three per week and would also reduce flying times to and from Brisbane to less than two hours on these services

QantasLink currently operates two flights per week to each town. The airline will add the extra service each week to Blackall from 9 February 2011 and to Barcaldine from 12 February 2011.

The Blackall schedule will cover flights on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, with the new Dash-8-Q400 services to operate every Wednesday. The Barcaldine schedule will cover flights on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays, with the new Dash-8-Q400 service operating every Saturday.

The move will follow the completion of upgrades to the airports at both Barcaldine and Blackall.

US Global Express calls in at Gladstone Airport

Bombardier BD-700 Global Express XRS, N15SD flew into Gladstone Airport from Brisbane on Thursday 9 December.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Jetstar's Special Colours and New Aircraft at Mackay Airport

Jetstar's newest logojet - A320-200 VH-VQN - which has decals for the Telstra Next G Force mobile phone network made daily visits in Mackay recently, with the aircraft first noted on Wednesday 1 December operating the JQ888/889 service from/to Brisbane. It then returned on the same service for the next five days.

Some pictures of this aircraft with its colourful livery can be found on the Jetphotos website - HERE

Also over the last couple of weeks, Jetstar have sent some of their newest A320-200 aircraft on the various Brisbane-Mackay-Brisbane runs, with VH-VGF, VH-VGH, VH-VGI, and VH-VGJ all noted in the last week.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Antonov 124 Returns to Rockhampton Airport

Antonov 124 RA-82074 returned to Rockhampton late on Thursday 2 December. After being forced to conduct two missed approaches due to poor visability caused by rain, the giant freighter landed about 9pm local.

During Friday the plane was loaded with the remaining Republic of Singapore Air Force (RSAF) Aerospatiale AS335M Super Puma helicopters that were being returned home to Singapore.

The Antonov departed Rockhampton in the early hours of Saturday 4 December for Cairns and then Singapore.

Meanwhile, on Tuesday 30 November, Ben O visited Rockhampton Airport and provides the following fantastic photos of the Antonov 124 preparing to load the RSAF Boeing AH-64 Apache helicopters and one Super Puma helicopter which were then uplifted to Singapore earlier in the week.

Before loading could take place, a tyre change was made - Antonov style!!

Also, you can see, the weather has been quite poor in Central Queensland this week.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

ATSB Releases Final Report into Incident at Proserpine/Whitsunday Coast Airport

The final report into an incident at the Proserpine/Whitsunday Coast Airport at in February this year has been released by the Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB).

The report highlights communication issues and out-of-date operational documentation as being contributing factors to an incident where a plane was forced to land without any airport lighting.

On 25 February 2010, Piper PA-31-350 Chieftain, VH-BCQ, was operating a charter passenger flight for Central Airlines from Mackay Airport to Clermont Aerodrome. Due to weather, the aircraft was unable to land at Clermont or the planned alternate of Mackay. The flight diverted to the Proserpine/Whitsunday Coast Aerodrome.

The flight crew sought to have people on standby at the Airport, in case the pilot activated lighting could not be activated but this request was unsuccessful. On approach to Proserpine, the flight crew were unable to activate the aerodrome lighting. With critical fuel, and given weather considerations, the flight crew landed the aircraft without runway lighting at around 8pm local.

The ATSB investigation identified two minor safety issues: one relating to the practices used within the air traffic control group for the effective review and communication of notices to airmen, and the other the risk of out-of-date operational documentation.

The incorrect operational documentation has since been updated and the Whitsunday Regional Council, which manages the Proserpine/Whitsunday Coast Aerodrome, has instigated safety action relevant to their organisation.

The aircraft involved - PA-31-350 Cheiftan VH-BCQ - is pictured below at Clermont Aerdrome earlier this year.