Sunday, August 31, 2014

Citation II Bizjet VH-VDF Arrives - Falcon 7X Departs - At the Proserpine / Whitsunday Coast Airport

Jetstream Aviation's (Emprja P/L) bright and colourful Cessna 550 Citation II bizjet VH-VDF arrived into Proserpine / Whitsunday Coast Airport on Saturday 30 August.

VH-VDF at the Whitsunday Airport  (File photo)

It touched down from the Sunshine Coast, and after staying overnight, it departed back to the Sunshine Coast on Sunday 31 August.

Meanwhile, on Friday 29 August, Brenzil Dassault Falcon 7X bizjet VH-CRW finally departed Proserpine, making the quick 'hop' across to Hamilton Island Airport.  From Hamo, it departed back to its Brisbane base.  VH-CRW had been parked at Proserpine Airport for over a week during Hamilton Island's Yachting Race Week.

Also departing Hamilton Island Airport on Sunday 31 August was Aeromil Pacific / Flight Options (Australia) Cessna 650 Citation III bizjet VH-SPJ.  It had arrived earlier in the week from Ayres Rock and departed on Sunday for Bankstown.

Australian Army NH Industries MRH-90 Helicopter A40-029 Pops into Rockhampton Airport Sunday

Making it a double surprise for plane spotters in Rockhampton this weekend, Australian Army NH Industries MRH-90 Multi-Role Helicopter A40-029 called into Rocky Airport on Sunday 31 August.

It flew in from the south and later departed further north to Townsville.

A40-029 was heard to be using the radio callsign of "Poseidon 29" and is believed that this MRH-90 is on delivery to the 5th Aviation Regiment in Townsville.

Thanks to 'IAD' for capturing these great photos!

All photos taken by 'IAD'  ©

Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) Airbus A330-203 / KC-30A (MRTT) A39-004 Calls into Rockhampton Airport

Making a rare weekend visit to Rockhampton Airport, Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) Airbus A330-203 / KC-30A (MRTT) A39-004 was photographed by local plane spotters Kayanne H and 'IAD' as it approached and then touched down as "Dragon 23" from RAAF Base Amberley on Saturday 30 August.

The KC-30 parked on Gate 6 at the southern end of the Rockhampton Airport parking apron. It came to Rocky to transport troops back south to Amberley.

After about an hour on the ground, A39-004 departed Rocky again as "Dragon 27".

Certainly a great sight and sound - and certainly a wonderful surprise weekend arrival into Rockhampton!

Thanks to 'IAD' and Kayanne H for sending through their awesome images!

All photos taken by Kayanne Hardsman and 'IAD'  ©

Saturday, August 30, 2014

HeliScope / Airwork (NZ) AS350 SD2 Squirrel Helicopter ZK-HKT at Gladstone Airport Friday Night

Local plane spotter Michael Fleetwood's ears pricked up late on Friday 29 August when he heard a helicopter making a late evening arrival into Gladstone Airport.  And his curiosity was rewarded when he popped out to Gladstone Airport and captured a couple of great photos of HeliScope / Airwork (NZ) Aerospatiale AS350 SD2 Squirrel helicopter ZK-HKT.

It appears that ZK-HKT was ferrying North from Archerfield, making all stops on delivery to an operator in Papua New Guinea (PNG) - as evidenced by the PNG flag on the fuselage.

ZK-HKT departed to the North, and was noted passing through Townsville and Cairns on Saturday 30 August.

Thanks Michael for the awesome photos!

All photos taken by Michael Fleetwood  ©

Final QantasLink RPT Flight from Sydney to Gladstone Airport Touches Down Friday

As we've mentioned, QantasLink's struggling direct RPT flights between Sydney and Gladstone Airport officially ended on Friday 29 August with the final QLK2128 flight touching down from Sydney about 4.15pm.  Dash-8-Q400 VH-QOR had the dubious responsibility of operating the final flight.

The return QLK2129 departed just before 5pm, and landed back at Sydney just after 7.30pm.

The two-and-a-half hour flights were scaled back from eight to five per week in April this year due to low passenger number, with QantasLink deciding to axe the poorly performing route completely in July.

Gladstone's airport and tourism leaders supported the route but in the end it came down to passenger support.  Gladstone Airport Corporation had worked with QantasLink to support the service but in the end there just weren't enough passengers.

QantasLink's Gladstone to Brisbane flights are not affected with all 52 direct flights to Brisbane retained in a move confirming Qantas's commitment to Gladstone.

It should also be noted that QantasLink currently also operates 2-3 additional flights between Gladstone and Sydney each week that appear to be closed Fly-in Fly-out (FIFO) charters.

In light of JetGo Australia's successful RPT route proving flight from Sydney to Roma also on Friday 29 August, it is hoped that some time in the future that JetGo will pick up the route between Gladstone and Sydney, offering a direct jet-operated flight to the New South Wales capital.

File photo taken by Jamie C  ©

Watch this space!

Also Spotted at Rockhampton Airport - Virgin B737-800 VH-VOL in New Colours & Alliance Fokker 100 VH-XWN

The recent military movements into Rockhampton Airport haven't been the only interesting visitors over recent days.  Touching down twice at Rockhampton Airport on Friday 29 August was Virgin Australia Boeing B737-800 VH-VOL which has recently been repainted into Virgin's new livery.

VH-VOL initially operated the morning VOZ1235/1238 service from and back to Brisbane, before returning later in the day operating the VOZ1243/1246 service also from and back to Brisbane.

VH-VOL has been noted wearing the new name of "Newport Beach".  It is believed that VH-BZG has now entered the paintshop in Townsville.

Meanwhile after the sun went down on Friday 29 August, Alliance Airlines Fokker F-100 VH-XWN also touched down at Rockhampton Airport.  It appeared to be operating a scheduled service on behalf Virgin Australia as it was noted operating the VOZ1249/1252 service from and back to Brisbane.

File photo taken by Travis Whiting  ©

Alliance Airlines Fokker 100s have been noted operating at least one flight per day over recent days on behalf of Virgin including flights to Mackay, Townsville and Cairns.  As mentioned below, VH-XWS called into Rockhampton and Gladstone Airports on Tuesday 26 August, although this was believed to be a flight operated on behalf of QantasLink.

A Trip Report and Photos from JetGo Australia's RPT Route Proving Flight from Sydney to Roma Airport

I had the special privilege of being invited by Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Jason Ryder to join the JetGo Australia Regular Passenger Transport (RPT) Route Proving Flight from Sydney to Roma on Friday 29 August.

JetGo's Embraer ERJ-135LR VH-JGB was tasked with flying the passengers - consisting mostly of JetGo operations staff and representatives from the Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) - North from a wet and miserable Sydney to the beautiful sun-bathed Western-Downs town of Roma.

The route proving flight was the opportunity for JetGo to demonstrate, and have its written policies and practices assessed, prior to them starting RPT flights out of Sydney in the future.  Jason Ryder told me that Roma was only the first destination for RPT flights out of Sydney, with other Central Queensland cities including Bundaberg, Gladstone and Rockhampton all mentioned as possible future candidates for RPT services.  He hopes to introduce RPT flights with the ERJ-135s along with the soon-to-be delivered EMB-140 jet aircraft.  They actually look and feel like you're riding in a bizjet!

The flight started with us all checking-in and having bags weighed and checked.  Boarding passes were issued and VH-JGB was boarded via a bus trip from Terminal 3 at Sydney Airport to the General Aviation (GA) Area.

Once we'd taken our seats (I was in 8C - a window on the right-hand side) CASA staff proceeded to enact several 'scenarios' that were given during the day to assess JetGo's policies and procedures.  I was given the scenario of not fastening my seat belt prior to the final check before take-off.  As it happens, the passenger in the exit-row behind was given a 'scenario' that he could not assist in an emergency and thus had to be re-seated.  He was swapped with me and as a result I was seated in the exit-row for the flight North.

After a short wait for departure out of Sydney, we were airborne off Runway 16R (and captured by Sydney plane spotter Bernie P) and heading North.  A snack was about to be served when another 'scenario' of a passenger using a mobile phone in the toilet was acted out.

The flight to Roma was very smooth.  It was notable how the view out the window changed as we flew closer to country Queensland - dry and brown - and not a cloud in the sky.  We landed on Runway 18 at Roma and back-tracked and parked on the apron.

After landing the JetGo were very accommodating with allowing me to snap a couple of photos inside the Embraer ERJ-135LR both of the cabin - with its 37 seats - and of the flight deck - which both captains agreed was a delight to work in!

A few photos outside the aircraft in Roma as we then had to check-in again for the flight back to Sydney.

Again VH-JGB was loaded - all under CASA scrutiny - and soon we taxied out then backtracked and departed off Runway 18 heading South.

One of the more serious 'scenarios' was then acted out shortly after we received a snack - we were to 'make an emergency diversion and landing at Moree Airport'.  We didn't actually divert to Moree - we maintained a steady 37000 feet in the cruise - but the flight attendant and flight crew addressed the passengers as if there was to be a real emergency landing - complete with an emergency brace for landing.

Quite a surreal experience!

After that 'scenario' was completed, it was a pretty uneventful remainder of the flight.  We soon after were descending into Sydney, landing on Runway 16L.

VH-JGB was again parked on the GA Apron and we were bussed back to the terminal.  Some JetGo staff and CASA officials remained with the aircraft to discuss the flight.  The good news - as reported by JetGo later on their Facebook page ( - was that they successfully 'passed' the route proving flight with CASA!  Well done guys and all the best for the future of your RPT operations!  We certainly look forward to seeing you in Central Queensland!

My sincere thanks again to Jason Ryder - CEO of JetGo Australia - for providing me wtih this unique experience which I can share with you all!

Additional photos taken by Bernie Proctor  ©