Tuesday, April 30, 2013

A Couple of Recent Photos From Gladstone Airport

Gladstone plane spotter Jamie C has sent through some lovely images of QantasLink Dash-8-Q400 VH-LQJ as it departed Gladstone Airport on Monday 29 April for Brisbane on the final leg of the QLK2301 'milk run' flight from Cairns to Brisbane via Townsville, Mackay, Rockhampton, and Gladstone.

Jamie has also sent photos of a couple other visitors to Gladstone on Friday 26 April with the Queensland Police Service (Airwing) Raytheon 1900D VH-PSK pictured as it departed for Brisbane during a busy days flying which saw VH-PSK start and finish the day in Cairns, and pop into Gladstone, Rockhampton, as well as Mackay and Townsville twice each.

Lastly, Mackay-based, and eye-catchingly beautiful, SOCATA TB-20 VH-JTY was captured by Jamie as it called into Gladstone for fuel on Friday 26 April.

Some more lovely images from probably Central Queensland's premier aviation photographer!  

Thanks again Jamie!

All photos taken by Jamie C  ©

Singapore Airlines Lifts Stake in Virgin Australia as First Virgin Coloured Skywest Fokker 50 VH-FNA Rolls Out in New Colours

Information sourced from:  Australian Aviation

Singapore Airlines is set to become the second largest shareholder in Virgin Australia following its announcement last week of plans to acquire another 9.9% of Australia’s second largest airline grouping, taking its total holding to 19.9%, just shy of Air New Zealand’s 19.99%.

Singapore Airlines will purchase the 255.5 million Virgin Australia shares for $122.6 million from Sir Richard Branson’s Virgin Group. Following completion of the sale, which requires Australian Foreign Investment Review Board approval, Virgin Group’s holding in Virgin Australia will fall to about 17%.

Singapore Airlines CEO Goh Choon Phong believes the Singapore Airlines partnership with Virgin Australia is going from strength to strength and offering a wide range of consumer benefits.  He said that “Increasing our stake in Virgin Australia is another example of Singapore Airlines’ deep commitment to the important Australian market. It also demonstrates our support for the ongoing transformation of Virgin Australia, which has created a more competitive aviation market in Australia.

Singapore Airlines acquired its first 10% of Virgin Australia in late 2012 under a complex arrangement that has seen Virgin Australia move to take a controlling 60% share in Tiger Airways Australia.

The third key airline investor in Virgin Australia is Etihad Airways (9%), meaning major airlines will soon control just under 50% of the airline.

Meanwhile, regular contributor to the CQ Plane Spotting Blog, and Townsville plane spotter, Dave, has captured some lovely images of the first Skywest Fokker 50 to be repainted in Virgin Australia colours at Townsville Airport last week.

Photo taken by Dave  © 

The Fokker 50 - VH-FNA - was captured by Dave as it was being prepared for its delivery flight to Perth via Alice Springs.  Virgin Australia’s takeover of Skywest officially took effect on Thursday 11 April.

CareFlight LearJet 45 VH-CXJ Pops into Proserpine / Whitsunday Coast Airport Twice!

CareFlight LearJet 45 VH-CXJ operated a pair of return flights between Townsville and Proserpine / Whitsunday Coast Airport on Friday 26 April and then on Monday 29 April.

VH-CXJ on short finals at Mackay Airport in 2011 (file photo).

Presumably these flight were medical related.

Monday, April 29, 2013

Cessna 650 Citation III Bizjet N163JM at Hamilton Island Airport

Noted arriving into Hamilton Island Airport on Saturday 27 April was Cessna 650 Citation III bizjet N163JM.  The Citation seems to be operated out of New Zealand and information suggests that N163JM arrived into Hamo from the Gold Coast and the New Zealand capital Wellington.


On Sunday 28 April, N163JM departed Hamilton Island on its return journey to the Gold Coast and later back to Wellington.

Another bizjet to depart Hamilton Island on Sunday 28 April was Shortstop Jet Charter British Aerospace BAe-125-1000B VH-LMP.  VH-LMP is becoming a very familiar sight on Hamo, having arrived on Thursday 25 April from its base at Melbourne (Essendon).

Information suggests that VH-LMP was flew between Essendon and Hamilton Island six times over the course of four days recently - Friday 19 April to Monday 22 April.

Lastly, Skypac Aviation Cessna 550 Citation II bizjet VH-FYP visited Hamilton Island on Friday 26 April, arriving from Cessnock early in the morning.  In the afternoon, VH-FYP departed for Brisbane and Cessnock.

Virgin Australia Boeing B737-700 VH-VBY at Rockhampton Airport Sunday - Maybe for the last time!

Most readers of the CQ Plane Spotting Blog may wonder why a whole post would be devoted to Virgin Australia Boeing B737-700 VH-VBY visiting Rockhampton Airport late on Sunday 28 April.

Just as I saw VH-VBY pop up on an online radar website inbound to Rockhampton, I had also just read that this lovely aircraft was soon to be retired from the Virgin Australia fleet later this week.

VH-VBY was photographed by 'IAD' as it visited Rockhampton Airport operating as VOZ1245/1248 Brisbane-Rockhampton-Brisbane.

VH-VBY was originally delivered to Virgin Australia (Virgin Blue) in late July 2005, and wore a distinctive 'blue' livery with special '50th aircraft' titles to signify its place in the Virgin fleet.

VH-VBY at Rockhampton Airport in 2011  (File photo taken by Don Williams  ©)

With Virgin Blue renaming to Virgin Australia in mid-2001, VH-VBY became the first - and only - B737-700 to be repainted into the new Virgin livery in early 2012.

Information suggests that VH-VBY is due to depart Australia for good this Thursday 2 May.

Thanks to Rockhampton plane spotter 'IAD' for the fantastic images!

Photos taken by 'IAD'  ©

Sunday, April 28, 2013

And Now a Pair Surveillance Australia / Australian Customs and Border Protection Service Aircraft at Rockhampton Airport

Late on Saturday 27 April, local plane spotter ‘IAD’ ventured to Rockhampton Airport and captured a pair of Surveillance Australia / Australian Customs and Border Protection Service (Cobham Aviation) aircraft parked on the Northern end of the Airport apron.

As we posted below, Dash-8-202 VH-ZZB also arrived into Rockhampton Airport on Friday 26 April.

Joining VH-ZZB on Saturday 27 April was Reims F406 VH-YZE.

Both aircraft remained parked at Rockhampton Airport awaiting their next task.

Thanks to 'IAD' for the great photos - in fast fading light!

All photos taken by ‘IAD’  ©

Photos of Virgin Australia Community Day at Bundaberg Airport with ATR 72-600 VH-FVR on Display

Bundaberg plane spotter, Micah S made a point of heading to Bundaberg Airport on Saturday 27 April to check out the fun at the Virgin Australia free community day.

Virgin Australia 'threw the doors open' on one of their Skywest Airlines-operated ATR 72-600 aircraft, with the community invited to take a tour of the aircraft ahead of scheduled services between Bundaberg and Brisbane commencing next Saturday 4 May.

Virgin will offer a daily return service, operated by Skywest Airlines-operated 68-seat ATR 72 turbo-prop aircraft.  Flights will leave Brisbane at 12.40pm and arriving in Bundaberg at 1.40pm.  The return flight will depart Bundaberg Airport at 2.10pm and arrive in Brisbane at 3.10pm.

Micah captured some lovely images of the outside and inside of the ATR.  Of the inside, Micah remarked that he was surprised by the amount of legroom the seats had to offer - although a bigger person might struggle with the width of the seat.

The ATR on display at Bundaberg was ATR 72-600 VH-FVR - one of Virgin's newer aircraft at only around six months old.  Micah commented that the interior was very neat and tidy - except for scuff marks in the overhead luggage lockers - and it seemed that the Virgin staff are keen to care for their new aircraft.

On board VH-FVR, Micah observed one of the flight attendants demonstrating the interior touch screen to control the lighting and temperature of aircraft cabin.

Micah was also able to have a quick look at the modern flightdeck before he exited the aircraft.

All visitors inside the ATR entered through the rear air-stair door and exited via the front door - which is only used for loading and unloading freight when in service.

As shown above, there was also a sausage sizzle (with thanks to the local Rotary Club) and a jumping castle and face painting for the kids. A local radio station was also broadcasting live.  Also during the day, visitors had the opportunity to win a return flight from Bundaberg to Brisbane with Virgin.

We sincerely thank Micah for sending through this fantastic report and accompanying photos!

All photos taken by Micah S  ©

Saturday, April 27, 2013

And More Photos of the Surveillance Australia / Australian Customs and Border Protection Service Dash-8-200 VH-ZZB at Rockhampton Airport

Rockhampton plane spotter ‘IAD’ has also sent through some more images of the Surveillance Australia / Australian Customs and Border Protection Service (Cobham Aviation) Dash-8-202 VH-ZZB which also arrived into Rockhampton Airport on Friday 26 April.

The Dash-8 is part of a 13-strong fleet of Dash-8 and Reims (Cessna) F406 fixed-wing surveillance aircraft, which are supported by several helicopters operating over the Northern half of Australia.

Thanks to ‘IAD’ for his great photos!

All photos taken by ‘IAD’  ©

And More Fantastic Photos of Bizjets G-IV N524AN and Challenger VH-EVJ Arriving at Rockhampton Airport Friday

Rockhampton plane spotters had a fantastic afternoon on Friday 26 April as two lovely bizjets arrived into the beef capital during the afternoon.  As we have posted below, the bizjets, Gulfstream Aerospace G-IV N524AN and Bombardier CL-600-2B16 Challenger 604 VH-EVJ, touched down bringing Australian golfer Greg Norman, and other representatives who were to travel to Great Keppel Island where Tower Holdings are developing a new resort.

Regular contributor to the CQ Plane Spotting Blog, ‘IAD’, has sent through some of his fantastic images of Friday afternoon’s action.  As shown below, N524AN arrived into Rockhampton from Melbourne (Essendon).

The G-IV was closely followed by the Challenger VH-EVJ (which is operated by Sydney Jet Charter) which touched down from Sydney.

‘IAD’ managed to also capture a couple of images of the ‘Shark’ as he wandered the Rockhampton Airport apron, before he and the other representatives were whisked away to attend their engagements.

Some great images from ‘IAD’, and we thank him, and the other Rockhampton plane spotters for their great coverage of a great afternoon at Rockhampton Airport.

All photos taken by ‘IAD’  ©