Saturday, March 31, 2012

More Bizjets Invade Central Queensland Airports on Thursday and Friday

During the latter part of this week, Singapore Flying College Cessna 510 Citation Mustang bizjet aircraft have resumed flying into Rockhampton Airport. Aircraft that were noted both landing and overflying the airport have included VH-SQJ, VH-VSQ, and VH-SQJ. These aircraft fly using the "Raffles" callsign, and usual fly from and back to the Sunshine Coast.

On Thursday 29 March, a couple of Australian-based bizjets popped into both Longreach and Hamilton Island Airports.

Bond Air Charter's Cessna 525A Citation CJ2 VH-MOR flew Sunshine Coast to Longreach to Sunshine Coast. Business Aviation Solution's Raytheon/Beech 400A flew into Hamilton Island from Ayres Rock.

Lastly, on Friday 30 March, a nice pair of Canadian bizjets spent the day at Gladstone Airport.

Canadian Utilities Limited Cessna 750 Citation X C-GCUL and Sunland Aviation Dassault Falcon 900EX C-GOAG, both arrived from and departed back to Brisbane, flying almost together on both legs of their journeys. They have since flown to Perth.

Friday, March 30, 2012

Also at Rockhampton Airport on Thursday!

As well as Ben O spotting the Australian Army Kiowas helicopters earlier in the day, there were a couple of other nice choppers that were noted on Thursday 29 March.

Pacific Crown Helicopters of Caloundra, Aerospatiale AS.350B1 VH-FBQ was noted parked near the General Aviation Apron.

A little later, another Squirrel, in the form of Whitsunday Helicopters (Helicopter Flight Centre) Aerospatiale AS.350BA VH-HBZ also arrived and parked.

There were also several Royal Flying Doctor Service of Australia (RFDS) movements, with King Airs VH-FDI, VH-FDR, and VH-FDA all noted on the local RFDS parking apron.

Meanwhile, on the commercial front at Rockhampton Airport on Thursday afternoon, QantasLink (Sunstate Airlines) Dash-8-Q400s VH-QOY and VH-QOJ were noted flying both North and South.

Alliance Airlines Fokker F-100 VH-XWR was noted also flying for QantasLink on a scheduled service to Brisbane.

Incidentally, VH-XWR was noted earlier in the day operating a fly-in fly-out (FIFO) charter from Cairns to Emerald to Brisbane as UTY2239/2241. Another F-100 in the form of VH-FKF also flew a FIFO charter to Emerald as UTY7656/7657 from Brisbane.

Lastly, Virgin Australia Embraer E-190 VH-ZPJ is pictured departing to Brisbane.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Australian Army Bell Kiowa Helicopters Back at Rockhampton Airport

Earlier in the week I had received a tip of some special helicopter arrivals into Rockhampton Airport this week, and when Ben O popped out there for a quick look on Thursday 29 March, he couldn't believe his eyes when three Australian Army Commonwealth CA-32 (Bell 206B/OH-58A) Kiowa helicopters flew in.

As shown in Ben's photos, the three choppers - A17-051, A17-038, and A17-036 - all arrived around the same time, before taking on fuel and continuing their journey South-bound.

Despite the fact that these three Kiowas were participants in Exercise Talisman Sabre and made frequent flights in and out of Rockhampton Airport during that time last year, their visit back into Rockhampton this week was most welcome!

Also arriving into Rockhampton Airport about the same time as the Kiowas was the Capricorn Helicopter Rescue Service (Jayrow Helicopters) Sikorsky S-76A VH-JRD which is pictured arriving back the Airport as "Rescue 300".

Thanks Ben for your great pics!

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Another Pacific Aerospace PAC 750XL Passes Through Rockhampton Airport

Pacific Aerospace PAC 750XL, P2-OMA, was noted departing the Gold Coast for Rockhampton on Wednesday 28 March while on its delivery flight to an operator in Papua New Guinea.

TRIP REPORT - Gladstone to Brisbane to Gladstone - Virgin Australia Airlines (Skywest Airlines) - ATR 72-500

TRIP REPORT – Gladstone to Brisbane – Tuesday 28 February – Virgin Australia Airlines (Skywest Airlines) – DJ1712 – ATR 72-500 – VH-FVM.

Shane T in Gladstone recently went for a ‘joyride’ on the Virgin Australia (Skywest Airlines-operated) ATR 72-500 service from Gladstone to Brisbane and back. He kindly shares some of his thoughts, as well as some lovely pictures from the flights and while spotting at Brisbane Airport!

First point to note is that Gladstone Airport has plenty of parking, so it was easy to find a park! Inside the relatively busy terminal, I was able to checkin and received my boarding pass. I was assigned seat 8A – on the left (port) side of the ATR.

Through the security check-point at Gladstone Airport – installed to coincide with the ATR services starting – and I proceeded towards Gate Three which is on the ‘lower’ of the two parking aprons at Gladstone Airport.

Soon after, ATR 72-500, VH-FVM, which is the newest ATR flown by Skywest Airlines for Virgin Australia – arrived from Brisbane. I noted that it was nearly full with 65 passengers disembarking at Gladstone.

The flight to Brisbane boarded and departed from Gladstone Airport on time at 8.05am. The ATR was about half-full, and I was seated (in 8A) directly under the wing, and adjacent to rear section of the engine on the left side of the plane.

Despite inclement weather departing Gladstone, the flight was relatively smooth. After departure, we climbed quickly, and soon we were established on our cruise above all the clouds.

Light snacks were served, of which I didn’t take one, having had breakfast from a local drive thru!

Descent was smooth and uneventful, and minutes before landing in Brisbane, I noticed that the trailing-edge of the wings were extended to the full 30 degrees - as shown below!

The flight arrived at Brisbane about 10 minutes early at 9.15am – we had made good time!

Time now to negotiate the very narrow stairs - a lot harder to get off then get on! Walk across the tarmac and into the Brisbane Domestic Terminal - albeit downstairs!

After about a 45 minute turn-around in Brisbane, VH-FVM departed southbound from Brisbane to Port Macquarie (as VOZ1766) with about 30 passengers on-board. It did not return to Brisbane for the rest of the day.

While spending the better part of the day planespotting in Brisbane - I noticed Virgin maintains a busy schedule for the ATR's servicing the Gladstone, Rockhampton, Emerald and Port Macquarie routes out of Brisbane. The aircraft spend little time on the ground before getting airborne again. Good to see the aircraft are busy and taking a productive roll within the fleet of Virgin Australia.

Also at Brisbane, I noticed the two all-white Fokker F-100 aircraft that Virgin Australia is utilising on the Brisbane to Cairns, Rockhampton, Proserpine / Whitsunday Coast, and Newcastle (Williamtown) sectors. I managed a shot of VH-XWN parked at the Virgin terminal, and noted the other, VH-XWM, also flying during the day.

If the rumours are correct, I am looking forward to seeing a Fokker F-100 in Virgin colours. I think that they will look good. It’s also good to see plenty of Fokkers flying all over the Australian skies these days. I like the F-100 because i like rear-engined jets like the old DC9's and MD80's (aka Boeing 717). Favourite plane of all time definitely remains the 727.

TRIP REPORT – Gladstone to Brisbane – Tuesday 28 February – Virgin Australia Airlines (Skywest Airlines) – DJ1715 – ATR 72-500 – VH-FVH.

After enjoying a good day of planespotting at one of Australia's busiest airports, it was time for my return flight to Gladstone on VOZ1715. I went downstairs to the Virgin check-in area, and was able to pretty much get my boarding pass straight away.

After studying the configuration of the plane during the flight from Gladstone, I requested seat 6A which would put me closer to the propellers - a favourite view of mine. Fortunately, the seat was available and so was ready to board for the journey home!

I went back upstairs through security at Brisbane Airport, and approached the gate area (Gate 50) and noted that the oldest ATR flying in the fleet – in the form of VH-FVH – was to take me home.

Boarding commenced, and this return flight to Gladstone was at full capacity, with only a single empty seat. It’s great to see Virgin is achieving good load factors on the Gladstone route and one hopes it means the airline will maintain services to the Central Queensland port for the long term. Competition on Central Queensland sectors can only be a good thing for the travelling public.

Like the morning flight to Brisbane, we departed to Gladstone on time at 3.50pm. In fact I noted most of the Virgin ATR flights to and from Brisbane throughout the day were running on time or close to schedule – it was a good day!

After a fairly uneventful flight North – including another snack service - we landed back at Gladstone Airport on time at 5.10pm.

Overall, my impressions of the ATR are most positive. I found the aircraft to be quiet inside, and relatively comfortable with ample legroom on the inside - comparable to the Q400. I did note however, that the steep stairs that passengers get on and get off at the rear of the plane, do require caution, particularly when exiting the plane. I would most certainly fly in the ATR again!

A Few From Rockhampton Airport on Tuesday Afternoon

One of our roving spotters was out and about at Rockhampton Airport late on Tuesday 27 March, and sends us the following pictures and information.

Virgin Australia Boeing B737-800 VH-YID was captured departing as VOZ1248 to Brisbane.

QantasLink (Sunstate Airlines) Dash-8-Q400 VH-QOV is shown departing also for Brisbane.

General Aviation Maintenance (GAM) AeroCommander 500-S VH-YJU was photographed arriving on the General Aviation Apron from Gladstone. It later departed to Biloela / Thangool on its evening freight flight.

And lastly a couple of choppers to complete the afternoon, with AeroPower Eurocopter AS.350B2 VH-SHD and a local Robinson R-44 VH-MTY also spotted on the General Aviation side at Rockhampton Airport.

A great afternoon!

Some Light Fly-in Fly-Out (FIFO) and Other Charter Flight to Middlemount and Gladstone Airports Tuesday

A couple of interesting light aircraft visitors to Middlemount Aerodrome on Tuesday 27 March included Australasian Jet Beech 58 Baron VH-TTH and Cessna 402 VH-ZME, which both flew charters (presumably fly-in fly-out - FIFO) from and back to Mackay. Later in the day, the Rockhampton Aero Club Britten-Norman BN-2A Islander VH-SLM flew into Middlemount from Rockhampton.

Meanwhile a nice trio of Super King Airs all arrived into Gladstone Airport on Tuesday 27 March, with Raytheon B300s VH-WXC and VH-SCQ arriving in the morning, and Hawker Beechcraft B300 VH-WJW of the Wagners Development Company arriving later in the day.

All three aircraft were expected to stay overnight and depart on Wednesday.

Alliance Airlines Fokker F-100 VH-XWR Flying Around Central Queensland Airports on Tuesday

Alliance Airlines Fokker F-100 VH-XWR had a very busy and interesting flying day around Central Queensland on Tuesday 27 March.

First up, the Fokker was noted flying a couple of services on behalf of QantasLink between Brisbane and Rockhampton - where it is pictured below earlier this month.

It then departed Brisbane in the early afternoon, flying a charter to Emerald as "UTY7651". From Emerald, VH-XWR then departed to Townsville.

From Townsville, it was then noted operating into Mackay Airport in the evening, again operating a flight on behalf of QantasLink - QLK2315 - before turning around and heading back to Townsville as QLK2316.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

QantasLink (Cobham Aviation) Boeing B717-200 Services Start at Mackay Airport Monday

QantasLink launched its Cobham Aviation-operated Boeing B717-200 jet service to Mackay Airport on Monday 26 March, with the now familiar sight of VH-NXN touching down mid-afternoon as QLK1768.

It later departed back to Brisbane as QLK1769. B717-200 flights will continue to land at Mackay Airport this week, with a timing change of a morning departure on Thursday and Friday.