Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Wednesday was Bizjet Day at Hamilton Island Airport!

What a day for corporate movements in and out of Hamilton Island Airport on Wednesday 30 September!

The action started early with both Mitchell Air / Australian Corporate Jet Centres' Cessna 680 Citation Sovereign VH-EXQ and Business Aviation Solutions Cessna 650 Citation VII VH-DHN both calling in from Cairns.

File photo

I'm told that these bizjets may have transported guests to Hamo for a wedding from another aircraft that called into Cairns on Tuesday 29 September and was unable to land on Hamilton Island due to parking restrictions.  The aircraft - Air China (Beijing Airlines) Boeing B737-79L (BBJ) B-3999 - was captured by the fantastic Far North Queensland Skies Blog touching down from the Chinese capital.

Of interest, these same parking restrictions on Hamilton Island saw VH-DHN position across to Proserpine / Whitsunday Coast Airport where it is still parked.

But the bizjet action was only just starting with Netjets International Bombardier BD-700-1A10 Global 6000 N142QS also called in from Cairns having touched down earlier from Honolulu.

N142QS was also unable to stay on Hamo and positioned across to Mackay Airport later on Wednesday 30 September.

Then if the day couldn't get better, the very smart looking TAG Aviation Asia Bombardier BD-700-1A10 Global 6000 VP-CZL also called into Hamo as 'TBJ67' this time from Townsville where it had earlier arrived from Hong Kong.

VP-CZL remains parked on Hamo.

The final stunning arrival came later on Wednesday 30 September when Hong Kong Jet Gulfstream Aerospace G-V-SP Gulfstream G550 B-KHJ touched down from Sydney.

Again due to the parking restrictions, B-KHJ was forced to position across to Mackay Airport as well where it too remains parked.

But these movements weren't the only bizjets to arrive and depart Hamilton Island Airport on Wednesday 30 September with Shortstop Jet Charter British Aerospace BAe-125-1000B VH-LMP departing back to its Melbourne (Essendon) base.  It had arrived on Saturday 26 September

Also arriving on Hamo on Saturday 26 September, and still parked on the Airport apron is Embraer  ERJ-190-Lineage 1000 (ERJ-190-100 ECJ) N666GL.

It is expected to stay until this weekend.

As this post is being written more bizjets are expected on Thursday 1 October with one exotic bizjet already scheduled being what looks to be another TAG Aviation Bombardier BD-700-1A10 Global 6000 VP-CEW arriving from Hong Kong and Townsville.

Finally, a couple of other notable visitors on Hamilton Island this week have included a pair of Alliance Airlines Fokker F-100 charter flights on Tuesday 29 September.  VH-XWS flew from and back to Cairns as UTY551/552 while VH-FKA flew in from Brisbane and Sydney as UTY571/572 before returning to Brisbane as UTY573.  And on Monday 28 September Corporate Aviation Bell 429 VH-EQP called in from its Southport base via Gladstone.

Photos taken by the FNQ Skies Blog and 'AC'  ©

Exercise Wallaby 2015 - Republic of Singapore Air Force (RSAF) Super Puma Helicopters Take to the Air from Rockhampton Airport

The Singapore Armed Force's Exercise Wallaby 2015 has started and the Republic of Singapore Air Force (RSAF) Aerospatiale / Eurocopter AS332M Super Puma helicopters have commenced flying operations out of Rockhampton Airport to the nearby Shoalwater Bay Training Area (SWBTA).

On Wednesday 30 September, local plane spotter 'IAD' popped out to Rockhampton Airport and captured some great photos one of the Super Puma helicopters - '293' - departed to Shoalwater Bay as "Starling 293".

The Super Pumas have also been heard using the radio callsign of "Diamond" particularly when there is a formation of two helicopters.

Photos taken by Ian Hitchcock and 'IAD'  ©

Antonov Airlines (Antonov Design Bureau) AN-124 UR-82029 Returns to Rockhampton Airport - Maybe for a Long Stay!

Four men and a dog ventured out to Rockhampton Airport at the un-Godly hour of 2.46am on Wednesday 30 September to watch the mighty Antonov Airlines (Antonov Design Bureau) AN-124 UR-82029 (designated AN-124-100) touch down as ADB1476 direct from Paya Lebar Air Base in Singapore.

It then taxied and parked on Gate 6 at the Southern end of the Rockhampton Airport apron where its cargo of five Republic of Singapore Air Force (RSAF) Boeing AH-64D Apache helicopters was unloaded.

Returning to Rockhampton Airport a little later in the morning, I noted three of the Apaches were parked alongside the smaller cross Runway 04/22 while the other two were nearby to the two RSAF Boeing CH-47SD Chinook helicopters which were delivered to Rocky by UR-82029 during the previous week.

Of interest, the rotar blades were being placed back on the Chinooks so I'd suggest that they will start flying very soon.  In fact, by the end of this week, I would anticipate that all the RSAF helicopters deployed to Rockhampton will be flying for Exercise Wallaby 2015.

Meanwhile, a much anticipated departure time for the Antonov is not confirmed at this stage with one report suggesting a departure at 4am on Sunday 4 October so it may on the ground for a short while!

There is plenty of opportunity to catch a glimpse on UR-82029 from the magnificent viewing platform near the Qantas Freight shed at the Southern end of Rockhampton Airport.

RAAF Challenger 604 Bizjet A37-003 Calls into Hervey Bay (Fraser Coast) Airport Tuesday

Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) Canadair CL-600-2B16 Challenger 604 bizjet A37-003 of the VIP 34 Squadron in Canberra was noted calling into Hervey Bay (Fraser Coast) Airport from the South during the afternoon on Tuesday 29 September.

File photo taken by 'IAD'  ©

A37-003 was noted to have stayed for the night, departing to Melbourne (Avalon) Airport as "Regent 44" early on Wednesday 30 September.

A Few More Interesting Arrivals and Departures at Longreach Airport

We posted an update of some interesting aircraft that paid Longreach Airport last Friday 25 September - link HERE - but with a drought benefit concert, farmers' forums and the 125th anniversary Longreach horse races on, there were quite a number of other aircraft to call into the Central West hub over the last few days.

The two Alliance Airlines Fokker F-100s that operated charter flights into Longreach Airport on Friday 25 September returned to Brisbane over the weekend with VH-FKA returning to Brisbane late on Saturday 26 September as UTY571 while VH-FKG flew back to Brisbane on Sunday 27 September as UTY553.

A few interesting arrivals into Longreach Airport on Saturday 26 September for the farmers' forum and races included the The Queensland Government (State of Queensland) Raytheon Hawker 850XP bizjet VH-SGY which called in for the morning from Brisbane.

Also noted arriving on Saturday 26 September was Dick Lang's Dessert-Air Safaris' Beech B200 VH-ODI which called in from Birdsville.

File photo taken by 'AC'  ©

On Sunday 27 September, Northwest Air Services of Moree in Northern New South Wales Piper PA-34-200T Seneca VH-SUM arrived from Burketown, while Cessna 206 VH-ECW and Mooney M20P VH-KDC were noted departing to Caboolture and Rockhampton respectively.

On Tuesday 29 September it was National Police Remembrance Day and commemorations to remember fallen officers while in the line of duty were held at the Australian Stockman's Hall of Fame at Longreach.  Calling into Longreach Airport on Tuesday was the Queensland Police Service (Airwing) Cessna 560 Citation Ultra bizjet VH-PSU which visited from Brisbane.

File photo taken by Micah S  ©

Meanwhile, also visiting Longreach Airport on Tuesday 29 September were Australasian Jet Piper PA-31-350 Navajo VH-ZMK from Roma and Brescon Beech B200 VH-WXN which arrived from the Brisbane West Wellcamp Airport and departed to Cloncurry.

And finally, touching down at Longreach late on Tuesday 29 September - and reportedly in the middle of a very windy dust and rain storm - was Alliance Airlines Fokker F-70 jet VH-QQY which was operating a charter on the behalf of the Channel 9 morning television program "Today".

VH-QQY touched down as UTY561 and looked to be departing later on Wednesday 30 September to the Sunshine Coast as UTY563.

Five Virgin Australia Embraer E-190 Jets in One Day at Gladstone Airport on Tuesday

Well, I said I wouldn't prepare any specific Blog posts on the influx of Virgin Australia jets heading to Gladstone Airport, but on Tuesday 29 September it was a bit of an historic day as every Virgin Australia service in and out the industrial city was operated by an Embraer E-190 jet - there were no Virgin Australia Regional Airlines (VARA) ATR 72s to be seen!

In fact, the Virgin Australia jet action actually started on Monday 28 September with E-190 VH-ZPG operating the morning VOZ1707/1710 service before the larger Boeing B737-800 VH-YFP was noted operating as VOZ1709/1712 also from and back to Brisbane.

Later on Monday 28 September, Virgin E-190 VH-ZPD touched down from Brisbane as VOZ1719 and stayed for the night.  VH-ZPD then kicked off the E-190 on Tuesday 29 September departing back to Brisbane as VOZ1708.

Also calling in on Tuesday 29 September were E-190s VH-ZPJ, VH-ZPG and VH-ZPH with VH-ZPG calling back in after dark and again staying for the night.

While we're posting about Gladstone Airport, a couple of other interesting visitors this week has included Royal Flying Doctor Service (RFDS) (South East Section) Beech B300 Super King Air VH-SQR which had an early morning arrival from Moomba on Tuesday 29 September.

VH-SQR was due to depart to its Adelaide base early on Wednesday 30 September.

The helicopter action at Gladstone Airport has continued with Corporate Aviation Bell 429 VH-EQP calling in on Monday 28 September while flying from its Southport base to Hamilton Island.

Also on Monday 28 September, and as mentioned below, Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) Search and Rescue (CHC Helicopters) Sikorsky S-76A VH-HRP "Choppa 3" passed through Gladstone Airport from Mackay.  It continued further to the South.

And finally on Monday 28 September, McDermott Aviation Bell 214B-1 Biglifter helicopter VH-SUH was believed to have departed Gladstone Airport for good.

It has been based in Gladstone for the last couple of weeks while on standby for fire fighting duties.

File photos taken by Col  ©

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Air New Zealand Boeing B767-319(ER)(WL) ZK-NCI Calls into Rockhampton Airport Late Tuesday

The first 'wave' of heavy jet passenger charters in support of the Singapore Armed Force's Exercise Wallaby 2015 came to an end late on Tuesday 29 September as Air New Zealand Boeing B767-319(ER)(WL) ZK-NCI touched down at Rockhampton Airport direct from Singapore's Changi Airport as ANZ1940.

ZK-NCI is one of five B767-300s that Air New Zealand operate, mostly into Australia and the Pacific Islands.  All have had winglets retro-fitted.

Of interest, ZK-NCI had earlier flown an almost 11 hour positioning flight from Auckland to Changi!

After offloading a full flight of passengers and some cargo, ZK-NCI departed to Auckland as ANZ6002.

As mentioned, this marks the end of the first 'wave' of heavy jet passenger charter flights into Rocky with Exercise Wallaby now well and truly underway.  The next 'wave' in expected in mid-October.

Incidentally, as this post is being written, Antonov Airlines (Antonov Design Bureau) AN-124 UR-82029 is winging its way to Rockhampton Airport from Paya Lebar Air Base in Singapore with an estimated arrival time around 3am early on Wednesday 30 September.

UR-82029 departing Peya Lebar in Singapore  (Photo taken by Tan Jing Heng  ©)

The Antonov is expected to unload four or five Republic of Singapore Air Force (RSAF) Boeing AH-64D Apache helicopters which will take flight during Exercise Wallaby.