A historic day in Gladstone on Friday 16 October with the first shipment of liquefied natural gas (LNG) departing the Santos facility on nearby Curtis Island. This brought many dignitaries and Queensland Government officials in a nice variety of chartered Alliance Fokker jets, bizjets smaller corporate turbo-prop aircraft - and then there were still scheduled commercial services arriving including more Virgin Australia jets!
Alliance Airlines operated a pair of closed charters into Gladstone Airport on Friday 16 October with Fokker F-70 VH-JFE calling into Gladstone early in the morning.
VH-JFE operated into Gladstone from Brisbane as UTY3380. It later departed back to Brisbane as UTY3381.
Joining VH-JFE on the ground at Gladstone was Alliance Airlines Fokker F-100 VH-FKK which also called in from Brisbane but as UTY550.
Of interest, VH-FKK was one of three Alliance Fokker F-100s that were recently adorned with special stickers for the National Rugby League (NRL) Grand Final in which Alliance was involved with transporting officials and fans of the mighty and victorious North Queensland Cowboys Rugby League team.
VH-FKK also departed back to Brisbane a little later on in the day as UTY551.
Two bizjets to call into Gladstone Airport on Friday 16 October were operated by the Queensland Government (State of Queensland) with Raytheon Hawker 850XP VH-SGY calling in first from Brisbane.
VH-SGY departed back to the capital a little later in the day.
Later still, the Queensland Police Service (Airwing) Cessna 560 Citation Ultra VH-PSU also touched down at Gladstone from Brisbane. It later departed to Bundaberg before returning to Brisbane.
A couple of lighter corporate turbo-prop were also spotted visiting Gladstone Airport on Friday 16 October including Avcair (Sutherland Aviation) Beech B300LW Super King Air VH-WCN.
And also Brisbane-based Cessna 340 VH-LKM which had earlier called in from Archerfield.
One final interesting General Aviation helicopter was also spotted visiting Gladstone Airport again on Friday 16 October with McDermott Aviation 1976-built Bell 214B-1 Biglifter helicopter VH-SMI passing through while heading South.
To cap off an awesome day of plane spotting at Gladstone Airport on Friday 16 October, Virgin Australia operated a pair jets into the industrial city on scheduled services from and back to Brisbane, including Boeing B737-700 VH-VBY which operated as VOZ1713/1716.
Over recent months, VH-VBY has been operating mostly out of Perth on West Australian services, only making the occasional visit back to the East coast of Australia on weekends. Its visit to Gladstone Airport on Friday was most welcome!
However, its visit wasn't without incident with VH-VBY suffering a birdstrike when arriving into Gladstone Airport. After checks by local staff and an engineer from Rockhampton, VH-VBY was given clearance to depart back to Brisbane.
In the meantime, Virgin Australia Embraer E-190 jet VH-ZPL touched down at Gladstone Airport operating the evening VOZ1717/1720 scheduled service from and back to Brisbane.
It arrival made for another rare photo opportunity having two Virgin Australia jets on the ground at Gladstone Airport at the same time.
VH-ZPL later departed back to Brisbane as VOZ1720.
What an awesome day!
Sincere thanks to Col and local plane spotter Anthony S for taking the time to capture and send through these fantastic photos!
Photos taken by Col and Anthony Schulz ©