Saturday, November 30, 2013

Tigerair (Tiger Airways) to Start Sydney to Proserpine / Whitsunday Coast Airport Flights - And Drop Sydney to Mackay Airport Flights

Tigerair (Tiger Airways) has announced that they will start operating direct flights to and from Sydney to the Whitsunday Coast Airport at Proserpine from April 2014 - and the tickets have already gone on sale!

File photo taken by Dave  ©

There will be three weekly return services operating on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday.

Meanwhile, Tigerair has also announced changes to its operating schedule to Mackay Airport.  Flights between Sydney and Mackay will continue over Christmas, New Year and January and will cease operations from the start of February in 2014.  Tigerair will increase frequency between Melbourne and Mackay from April.

The decision to introduce the new Sydney to Proserpine route, whilst removing the Sydney to Mackay service, is based on consumer demand.  Tigerair said they had witnessed overwhelming demand from budget travellers - especially back-packers - wanting to gain easy access to Airlie Beach and surrounding areas.  

Direct flights from Sydney to the Whitsunday Coast Airport have not been available since 2008.

Qantas Boeing B747-400 VH-OJI Joins Polet Antonov AN-124 RA-82068 on the Ground at Rockhampton Airport Friday Night

After its arrival earlier in the day, the Polet Aviakompania (Polet Airlines) Antonov AN-124 RA-82068 was joined at Rockhampton Airport by Qantas Airways Boeing B747-400 VH-OJI late on Friday 29 November.

Local plane spotter 'IAD' was on hand as the Qantas Jumbo initially positioned to Rockhampton from Sydney as QFA6025.

After taking on a load of passengers and cargo, VH-OJI departed Rockhampton for Singapore (Changi) Airport as QFA6031 later in the evening.

VH-OJI was expected to return to Rockhampton during the afternoon on Saturday 30 November, and again depart to Singapore later in the evening.  I am told that this could be the final heavy jet passenger charter flight in support of the Singapore Armed Force's Exercise Wallaby 2013.

Incidentally, AN-124 RA-82068 eventually departed Rockhampton very late on Friday 29 November as POT4712 for Cairns.  After taking on fuel in Cairns, it departed to Paya Lebar Airbase in Singapore in the wee small hours of Saturday 30 November.

I have been told that RA-82068 will be back at Rockhampton early this coming week.

Thanks to 'IAD' for spending most of the night at Rockhampton Airport to capture these images and then allowing me to share his work with you all!

All photos taken by 'IAD'  ©

Friday, November 29, 2013

Polet Aviakompania (Polet Airlines) Antonov AN-124 RA-82068 Touches Down at Rockhampton Airport Friday

After a slight delay, Polet Aviakompania (Polet Airlines) Antonov AN-124 RA-82068 touched down at Rockhampton Airport just after 9am on Friday 29 November.

Local plane spotter 'IAD' was on hand for 'Ruslan's' arrival from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, as POT4711.

After landing the giant Russian aircraft taxied to and parked on the Gate 6 at the Southern end of the Rockhampton Airport apron.

By lunch time, RA-82068 had been opened up and was loading the five Republic of Singapore Air Force (RSAF) Boeing AH-64D Apache helicopters that had recently participated in the Singapore Armed Force's Exercise Wallaby 2013.  Local plane spotter Don W popped out to Rockhampton Airport during Friday and took a couple of great photos!

At the time of writing, RA-82068 was due to depart Rocky for Cairns, from where it will head to Singapore.  Information suggests too, that RA-82068 will be back at Rockhampton Airport in the coming days, possibly on Tuesday 3 December.

Sincere thanks to 'IAD' and Don for capturing these fantastic photos of such a fantastic aircraft to grace the skies over Central Queensland!

Photos taken by 'IAD' and Don Williams  ©

Thursday, November 28, 2013

A Busy Rockhampton Airport on Wednesday - Capricorn Rescue Helicopters with Mo's, Virgin Diversion From Mackay, and RAAF BBJ A36-002

It was certainly a busy day at Rockhampton Airport on Wednesday 27 November, with local plane spotters Ben O and 'IAD' capturing some of the more unique visitors to the beef city during the day!

Australian Helicopters has swapped its Bell 412 Rescue choppers that operate at Rockhampton Airport for the Capricorn Helicopter Rescue Service (CHRS).  Ben captured Bell 412 VH-LSY arriving into Rocky from Mackay.  Eagle-eyed readers may be able to note the moustache - or 'mo' - painted on the front of VH-LSY to signify the Rescue Service's participation in the annual Prostate and Men's Cancer Awareness campaign known as 'Movember', where men all over Australia are encouraged to grow a 'mo'.

In fact, as shown below, the chopper that VH-LSY is to temporarily replace - fellow Australian Helicopters Bell 412EP VH-EPR - also sports a 'mo' for Movember.

Good to see the Rescue organisations getting behind such a good cause.  I did read somewhere that there was to be a state-wide challenge for all the Helicopter Rescue organisations to see who can raise the most money for Movember.

A little earlier on Wednesday 27 November, Rockhampton Airport had a unscheduled arrival in the form of Virgin Australia Boeing B737-700 VH-VBY which diverted to Rocky operating the VOZ601 service from Brisbane to Mackay.  VH-VBY diverted to Rockhampton due to rather inclement weather in Mackay at the time where some 50mm or so of rain fell in a very short time during the morning, causing some minor flash flooding.

VH-VBY evenutally departed to Mackay, and then departed back to Brisbane as usual, albeit a little late, as VOZ604.

It should also be noted the Wednesday morning Tigerair (Tiger Airways) Airbus A320 service from Sydney to Mackay (TGW386) diverted to Brisbane, after unsuccessfully trying to land at Mackay.  This was operated by A320 VH-VNF.

Lastly, Rockhampton Airport played host to a visit by Federal National Party leader Warren Truss, and hence Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) Boeing B737-700(BBJ) A36-002 was spotted at Rockhampton Airport later on Wednesday 27 November.

'IAD' just managed to capture A36-002 as it departed Rocky for the South, flying as "Envoy 19".

It is also believed that fellow RAAF BBJ A36-001 may have landed in Central Queensland during the earlier part of the week with it noted on various web-based flight tracking sites flying as "Envoy 9".

Photos taken by Ben O'Dowd and 'IAD'  ©

The Republic of Singapore Air Force (RSAF) Apache and Chinook Helicopters are all Packed - Just Waiting on the Antonov!

Local plane spotter Ben O ventured to Rockhampton Airport on Wednesday 27 November and captured some lovely photos of the five Republic of Singapore Air Force (RSAF) Boeing AH-64D Apache and the two Boeing CH-47SD Chinook helicopters all packed up - with rotors removed - and ready for uplift back to Singapore following their participation in the Singapore Armed Forces Exercise Wallaby 2013.

At the time of writing, the Polet Aviakompania (Polet Airlines) Antonov AN-124 was supposed to have landed, but latest reports suggest that it will in fact be landing at Rockhampton Airport early on Friday 29 November.

Thanks Ben for the great photos!

All photos taken by Ben O'Dowd  ©

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

More Plane Spotting Photos from Gladstone Airport on Monday and Tuesday - VH-CCJ, VH-VEO, VH-WXN - And More!

As mentioned below, Gladstone plane spotters Jamie C, Tash C and Kyresha C captured some stunning photos of the Earth Commodities Cessna 550 Citation Bravo bizjet VH-CCJ as it called into Gladstone Airport twice on Monday 25 November and stayed for the night.

Well on Tuesday 26 November, they were at it again, capturing the departure of VH-CCJ from Gladstone back to Brisbane at the conclusion of this particular run into Central Queensland.

But the focus of this Blog post is in actual fact, all the other interesting aircraft that Jamie, Tash and Kyresha captured over those two days - starting with Redcliffe-based Cessna 210 VH-ELS.

Reports suggest that on Monday 25 November, VH-ELS was on a flight from Mackay to Redcliffe and was forced to divert into Gladstone with some sort of mechanical issue.  Indeed as the photos above show, the VH-ELS conducted a missed approach at Gladstone before eventually landing, apparently with a priority clearance.

Following an 'instructional weekend' put on by the Cirrus Aircraft Company on Hamilton Island, Cirus SR22 VH-PGU was again spotted at Gladstone Airport, this time returning to Southport on the Gold Coast on Monday 25 November.

A little later on Monday, SR22 VH-YSH was also captured again at Gladstone, this time also making its way South from Hamilton Island.  It later departed to Archerfield.

One last Cirrus SR22 - VH-YDM - also popped into Gladstone on Monday, although it was noted flying from Archerfield to Hervey Bay to Gladstone and back to Archerfield.

Also in the late Monday afternoon sun, Jamie captured some images of a rather late landing by Virgin Australia Regional Airlines ATR 72-600 VH-FVP which was operating as VOZ1715.

Finally, also arriving into Gladstone Airport on Monday 25 November was Surveillance Australia / Australian Customs and Border Protection Service Dash-8-200 VH-ZZJ.

It remained on the ground at Gladstone over night was also captured by Jamie, Tash and Kyresha departing for parts unknown early on Tuesday 26 November.

There were a couple of interesting charter flights to touch down at Gladstone Airport on Tuesday 26 November, including Brescon Beech B200 VH-WXN which visited the industrial city from Archerfield during the morning.

Later, Corporate Air / Vee H Aviation SAAB 340B VH-VEO was spotted visiting Gladstone Airport on (presumably) a Fly-in Fly-out (FIFO) charter flight from and back to Brisbane.

Also spotted at Gladstone Airport on Tuesday was the latest addition to the Australia by Seaplane fleet - De Havilland Canada DHC-2 Beaver Mk1 VH-IDO.  The 1964-built Beaver floatplane operates passenger transfer flights to nearby Heron Island from Gladstone Airport.

Bell 206 VH-FYH - showing as being operated by Stirling Consolidated - was an interesting visitor to Gladstone on Tuesday 26 November.

And finally - just to top the two days of plane spotting off - Jamie, Tash, and Kyresha captured a couple of images of QantasLink (Cobham Aviation) Boeing B717-200 VH-NXD as it arrived into Gladstone late on Tuesday as QJE1958.

Some absolutely magnificent photos and some magnificent coverage of a couple of busy days at Gladstone Airport, and we sincerely thank Jamie, Tash, and Kyresha for sending through their photos!  Thanks guys!

Photos taken by Jamie C, Tash C and Kyresha C  ©