Sunday, February 1, 2015

CQ Plane Spotting Historic Spot - The Queensland Government (State of Queensland) Airwing

With the Queensland state election held yesterday, and recent movements around the state of our political leaders in theirs and chartered aircraft, I thought we'd take a quick look at the Queensland Government (State of Queensland) Airwing.

Photo taken by 'AC'  ©

The earliest reference to a State Government flight service dates back to November 1971, when the Queensland Government bought a single-engine aircraft for the use of the then Premier Joh Bjelke-Petersen.  Bjelke-Petersen, a licensed pilot, used it often to visit far-flung parts of the state to campaign and boost his public profile.  The Government then upgraded it to a twin-engine aircraft in 1973 and even bigger Piper PA-31 Navajo VH-SGQ in 1975.

In August 1980, Beech 200 King Air VH-SGV was acquired by the State Government Airwing to transport Premier Bjelke-Petersen and ministers around Queensland, and often, other Australian capitals.

Photo taken by Graham McKnight  ©

VH-SGV (or "State Government Vehicle") is pictured above at Roma Airport in 1982.

Of interest, VH-SGV still flys in Central Queensland skies, now registered to Great Western Aviation in Brisbane. I've read that it is possibly the oldest King Air still in Australian skies!

In late 1984, the Queensland Government bought their first business jet in the form of BAe-125-800B VH-SGY.  This enabled faster and more flexible travel options for the Premier and Ministers.

The BAe-125-800B was operated until 1991 when replaced by the more 'hi-tech' Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) 1124A Westwind 2 bizjet which also wore VH-SGY registration marking.

Photo taken by Bruce Linwood  ©

During the 1990s, the Westwind VH-SGY, along with Navajo VH-SGQ and King Air VH-SGV operated successfully until 1996, when both aircraft were 'upgraded' with newer and more advanced aircraft.

The Navajo was replaced in 1996 by Beech B300 Super King Air VH-SGQ.

While the Westwind was operated until 1997 when the Queensland Government purchased and operated Hawker 800XP VH-SGY.

Both aircraft were then in turn replaced in 2006 with VH-SGY replaced by an upgraded Raytheon Hawker 850XP, while VH-SGQ was too replaced by an upgraded Raytheon B350 Super King Air.

Both of these aircraft - VH-SGY and VH-SGQ - are still in operation for the Queensland Government (State of Queensland) Airwing.

The Queensland Government Airwing is based at Brisbane Airport and shares a hangar on the Eastern side with the Queensland Police Airwing.

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