Rockhampton Plane Spotter Ash B recently sent me a lovely email that contained heaps of fantastic images he took from Rockhampton Airport that feature some of the great aircraft that popped in during the three recent Australian Defence Force (ADF) Military Exercises - 'Hamel 2012', 'Predator's Strike', and 'Precision Support'.
A frequent visitor to Rockhampton Airport - particularly at the beginning and end of the exercises - was Qantas Airways Boeing B747-400 VH-OJD. The jumbo operated several charter flights between Rockhampton and Darwin, presumably ferrying troops and equipment into and then out of Rockhampton. VH-OJD is pictured in mid-July arriving empty from Darwin after departing earlier in the day on one such troop charter.
Of the more 'unique' and one-off visitors to Rockhampton Airport over the duration of the exercises, RAAF Lockheed C-130J-30 Hercules A97-448 was one of a few 'Herc' transport aircraft to grace the skies over Rockhampton.
The Hercules aircraft are the workhorse of the RAAF's Transport Squadrons. Also visiting Rockhampton Airport frequently during the Exercises were RAAF Boeing C-17A Globemaster III transport aircraft. There were reports that most of these aircraft actually landed in the Shoalwater Bay Training Area (SWBTA), transporting helicopters and other equipment directly from Darwin and other places.
Of the larger RAAF visitors, Airbus A330-203 / KC-30A MRTT A39-003 was one of two MRTT aircraft that were noted on the ground at Rockhampton during the exercises. The MRTT aircraft - which were still in a training phase of their joining the RAAF - have usually performed missed approaches and touch-and-go's at Rockhampton Airport. On this occassion - during mid-July - the KC-30A MRTT was seemingly operating as a troop carrier to Amberley and later to Adelaide.
Some great photos from Ash! We hope that he can contribute more fantastic photos in the future!