Monday, December 3, 2012

TRIP REPORT - Gladstone to Brisbane to Gladstone - QantasLink - Sunstate Airlines / Cobham Aviation - Dash-8-Q400 / Boeing B717-200

In mid-October, Shane T ventured to Brisbane for a weekend to attend his 20-year high school reunion.  From what Shane said, he a great time - a real 'blast from the past'!!

All text and photos by Shane T  ©

TRIP REPORT – Gladstone to Brisbane  – Friday 19 October – QantasLink (Sunstate Airlines) – QF2335 – Dash-8-Q400 – VH-QOE.

For the outbound flight from Gladstone to Brisbane, I was booked on flight QF2335.  This is one of QantasLink's Dash-8-Q400 aircraft which is operated by Sunstate Airlines.  Scheduled departure time was 10.25am, however, I believe our eventual departure time was 11.05am - some 40 minutes late.

QantasLink Dash-8-Q400 VH-QOE arrived late from Brisbane and was to operate our QF2335 flight to Brisbane.

Because VH-QOE was running late, the southbound morning 'milkrun' Cairns to Brisbane flight which operates via Townsville, Mackay, Rockhampton, and Gladstone, arrived shortly afterwards.  This was operated by VH-QOW, which still wears the Taronga Dubbo Zoo colours.

As I generally request to be seated around the wing / engine area, I thought this time I would do something different and request to be seated at the very rear of the plane.  So, 19A became my seat! With passengers and luggage on board and doors closed, the engines were started and we eventually became airborne.

Soon after departure, the First Officer briefed the passengers, informing us that the planned flight time to Brisbane was 47 minutes at a cruising altitude of 20 000 feet.

I estimate that the aircraft was about 3/4 full, and of that amount, there were actually seven other people that were also travelling to Brisbane for our High School Reunion!  Naturally, we started a little early!

The morning snack served on our flight was a meat-and-salad roll, a muesli bar, and the usual small choice of juices / water and tea or coffee.  It was also worth noting that the cabin crew were extremely polite.

While the flight to Brisbane can be described as very smooth, it did however became rather hazy as we became closer to the South-East corner of Queensland due to nearby bushfires and burn-offs.

Landing was smooth, and soon after we parked on a remote gate on the QantasLink apron at Brisbane Airport.

Because I was at the very rear of the plane, I made sure I was last off so I could get a good picture of the empty cabin.

Because of our late departure from Gladstone, VH-QOW was only minutes behind and as I was walking to the terminal after disembarking my flight, I sighted this plane taxiing to its parking positioning on the apron.

With a bit of time up my sleeve, and as any keen planespotter would, when at a major airport, I took plenty of photos of the present aircraft!

TRIP REPORT – Brisbane to Gladstone – Sunday 21 October – QantasLink (Cobham Aviation) – QF1712 – Boeing B717-200 – VH-NXN.

After a huge night at the reunion, I was up early enough to make it to Brisbane Airport with enough time to do some planespotting before boarding my return flight to Gladstone.

My flight back to Gladstone was on flight number QF1712, which is a QantasLink service operated by a Cobham Aviation Boeing B717-200.  Scheduled departure time was 11.55am.

Resting on the apron at the Common User Terminal area at Brisbane Airport I found VH-NXN waiting to operate our flight this morning.

Boarding was quick and easy, and as we boarded, I noted one of QantasLink (Cobham's) newer Boeing B717-200s - VH-NXR - resting on the neighbouring gate.

So I could remain in front of the wing for a good view below the aircraft, I requested seat 11A. I remembered this position as being ideal for photos from my previous flight on the B717-200 when I took the family to the Brisbane Show (The Ekka) in August - read Shane's Trip Report HERE.

Today's flight to Gladstone was near capacity.  The interior the B717-200 is in a 2X3 configuration.

Doors were closed and the engines were spooled up.  We taxiied away, and after waiting on the taxiway for a short period because of traffic, we eventually became airborne only a few minutes late.

Morning snack was again a meat and salad roll, but this time with cheese and cracker biscuits and a mini size chocolate.  Hot and cold drinks were offered as well.

Again, the flight was very smooth, albeit with a little more haze then Friday.  Noosa (on the Sunshine Coast) can be seen below.

We descended over Gladstone and eventually landed about 1pm - pretty much on time.

It is worth noting the flight time between Brisbane and Gladstone, whether on the Dash-8-Q400 or B717-200 is almost identical. This proves how competitive the Dash-8-Q400 is on short sectors against jet operated aircraft - it is a credit the model.

Lastly, I noted on my return the baricades and wall up around a section in the Gladstone Airport terminal where the new 'Coffee Club' restaurant was being built.

As an update - it opened shortly after as shown in these extra photos from Shane!

Thanks mate - a great report!

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