Friday, October 28, 2011

Australian Helicopters Operations out of Gladstone Airport

Australian Helicopters Pty Ltd is an Australian aviation company based in Brisbane. They operate helicopters in the Medical, Border Protection, Police, Search and Rescue, Defence, Marine, Tourism, Fire, Charter, Engineering, and Television News market sectors. Services are delivered to major long term State and Federal government clients and agencies from their Head Office in Brisbane, and eight bases at Adelaide, Brisbane, Essendon, Gladstone, Horn Island, Newcastle, Oakey, Thursday Island, and Warrnambool. Included in their fleet of 19 helicopters, are nine multi-engine IFR helicopters, operating in a predominantly over water environment, and on an immediate response basis.

Australia Helicopters Gladstone base is situated at Gladstone Airport. There is a hangar near the main terminal building, as well as an office and flight check-in area within the terminal. Operations out of Gladstone are mostly confined to marine pilot transfers as well as island transfer and other tourism services.

Australian Helicopters transfers marine pilots from shore to ship, ship to ship and ship to shore, at any time of the day or night. They also provide daily transfers from Gladstone Airport to Heron Island right on the Great Barrier Reef, as well as other offshore charter flights where passengers enjoy a birds-eye view of the stunning scenery and marine life of the Great Barrier Reef.

One other important service that Australian Helicopters can perform is a rapid fire response, with a fleet of aircraft equipped for aerial water bombing, and specialist crews able to help guide fire fighting forces on the ground. This was evidenced when Don W captured Aerospatiale AS.350BA VH-HQO at Rockhampton Airport during some recent bushfires.

Drew Willard, the Australian Helicopters Gladstone Base Manager and Senior Pilot took some time out of his busy day and showed us around their operations recently.

The Australian Helicopters check-in counter and administration office in the main Gladstone Airport Terminal is adjacent to the arrivals lounge and cafe.

It is very well presented, and once passengers have been checked-in, they proceed to a most inviting waiting lounge which is fitted with ultra-modern d├ęcor, including a large television and a self-serve kitchenette.

Drew also mentioned that they passengers are also briefed in this room before proceeding to their helicopter.

After their briefing, passengers are then escorted from the terminal and across the Airport apron to the waiting helicopter, which is usually parked near their hangar. On the apron was Aerospatiale AS.350BA VH-HQO which was parked on 'Pad 4' waiting for its flight to Heron Island.

It was also noted Kawasaki BK-117 B-2 VH-VRP inside the Australian Helicopters hangar undergoing some maintenance work. There was also a pair of former Australian Helicopters aircraft being prepared for sale. According to their website, these could be Aerospatiale AS.350BA VH-HRX and Hughes Helicopters 369E VH-PCQ.

Australian Helicopters in Gladstone is always on the look out for new clients and additional business. Any businesses or persons interested in charter or other services can call into the Australian Helicopters Office on Aerodrome Road at Gladstone Airport, or contact them directly by phone (07 4978 1177), fax (07 4978 1003), or by visiting their website (

Central Queensland Plane Spotting thanks Australian Helicopters for their assistance in preparing this Blog Post.

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