Thursday, June 30, 2016

Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) Airbus A330-203 / KC-30A (MRTT) A39-004 Missed Approach at Rockhampton Airport Thursday

Also on Thursday 30 June, Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) Airbus A330-203 / KC-30A (MRTT) A39-004 was captured by local plane spotter Kayanne H climbing out after completing a missed approach at Rockhampton Airport.

It initially flew up from RAAF Base Amberley to Townsville before flying South to Rocky.  After completing the missed approach at Rockhampton Airport A39-004 returned to Amberley.

A39-004 was heard to be using the radio callsign of "Dragon 34".

It's also worth noting that late on Wednesday 29 June, I captured a long-distance photo of RAAF Beech B350 Super King Air A32-437 preparing to complete a missed approach at my local Clermont Aerodrome as "Dingo 10".

It was noted flying from Townsville and completed airwork at Mackay and Emerald Airports before flying to Clermont.  After completing a missed approach at Clermont Aerodrome, A32-437 returned to Townsville.

Photo taken by Kayanne Hardsman  ©

RAAF Canadair Challenger 604 Bizjets A37-001 and A37-002 - At Mackay and Rockhampton Airports

In the final days of the Federal election campaign it isn't surprising that our Federal politicians are making multiple quick visits to some of the more vital seats here in Central Queensland.

File photo taken by Kayanne Hardsman  ©

On Thursday 30 June, Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) Canadair CL-600- 2B16 Challenger 604 bizjet A37-001 was noted arriving into Mackay Airport from Canberra and Brisbane as "Envoy 12".  It later departed North to Townsville before returning South.

Also on Thursday 30 June, fellow RAAF Challenger 604 bizjet A37-002 was noted arriving into Rockhampton Airport from Sydney as "Envoy 17".  It later departed to Lismore.

I was also told that the third Challenger 604 bizjet operated by the RAAF's VIP 34 Squadron - A37-003 - was due to make a brief visit to Roma Airport on Thursday 30 June however at the time of writing I am unable to confirm whether this actually occurred.

Of interest, and as mentioned below, A37-003 called into both Gladstone and Rockhampton Airports on Tuesday 28 June as "Envoy 96".  It is pictured above departing to Stanthorpe.

Cessna 510 Citation Mustang Bizjet VH-VSQ Calls into Hamilton Island Airport - Plus BAe-125-1000 VH-LMP Returns - And Lancair N132BB Visits!

On Thursday 30 June, now privately owned Cessna 510 Citation Mustang VH-VSQ touched down at Hamilton Island Airport from Port Macquarie.  It looked to be staying for the night.

Chris Bridge /

The smart little bizjet was once one of a number of Mustangs that the Singapore Flying College operated from the Sunshine Coast.

Meanwhile, on Wednesday 29 June, Shortstop Jet Charter British Aerospace BAe-125-1000B VH-LMP returned to Hamilton Island Airport once again from its Melbourne (Essendon) base.  It too remains parked at Hamo.

And finally, and as mentioned below, American registered 2004 built Experimental Lancair Super ES N132BB arrived at Hamilton Island Airport also on Wednesday 29 June.  It touched down from Cairns.

On Thursday 30 June, N132BB departed Hamo for Rockhampton Airport and onward to its Gold Coast base.

US-Registered 2004 Experimental Lancair Super ES N132BB Back Once Again at CQ Airports!

Certainly becoming a frequent visitor to CQ is the Gold Coast-based American registered 2004 built Experimental Lancair Super ES N132BB.

It was noted flying into Hamilton Island Airport from Cairns on Wednesday 29 June.

Then on Thursday 30 June, N132BB departed Hamo and was captured arriving at Rockhampton Airport where it took on fuel.

It later departed back to the Gold Coast where it is based.  It is also believed that the Lancair will soon be placed in the Australian register with eagle-eyed readers noting that the current registration marking is printed on a decal stuck to the aircraft!

Finally, a couple of interesting helicopters were also spotted visiting Rockhampton Airport late on Wednesday 29 June were Hughenden-based Blue Dog Helicopters Robinson R44 II VH-ZBM and Gladstone Helicopters / Helireef Eurocopter EC135 P2 VH-ZGZ.

Thanks to local plane spotters Kayanne H and Trevor H for taking the time to capture and send through these great photos!

Photos taken by Kayanne Hardsman and Trevor Hardsman  ©

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Careflight Queensland (Aeromed) LearJet 45 VH-CXJ Calls into Proserpine and Mackay Airports

Some interesting movements during the afternoon and evening of Wednesday 29 June by Careflight Queensland (Aeromed) LearJet 45 VH-CXJ "Ambulance 452".

After earlier flying from Townsville to Cairns, VH-CXJ then flew into Proserpine / Whitsunday Coast Airport.  It then departed about 20 minutes later for Brisbane.

From Brisbane, VH-CXJ then flew into Mackay Airport.  After about 40 minutes on the ground, VH-CXJ departed Mackay Airport for Townsville.

Finally, following on from our post about medical choppers visiting parts of CQ, over the early part of the week, Queensland Government (QGAir) Rescue Bell 412 helicopters VH-ESD flew South from its Townsville base and was noted visiting both Proserpine and Mackay Hospitals (and most likely Mackay Airport too).

Of course, the RACQ-CQ Rescue Helicopter Service (CQ Rescue) continues to fly missions from their Mackay Airport base all over the region with their Babcock Mission Critical Services Australasia (ex Australian Helicopters) operated Bell 412 helicopters VH-CQJ "Rescue 412" and VH-LSY "Rescue 422".  The RACQ-CQ Rescue Helicopter service is a valuable service that serves a vast area of Central Queensland. Donations are welcomed all year round. Please visit the CQ Rescue website ( for details.

File photo taken by 'AC'  ©

Virgin Australia Boeing B737-800 VH-VUH at Gladstone Airport Wednesday Morning

Making a surprise arrival into Gladstone Airport early on Wednesday 29 June was Virgin Australia Boeing B737-800 VH-VUH which operated the VOZ1707/1710 service from and back to Brisbane.

Of interest, VH-VUH wears the name 'Lady Rebecca' as the result of a charity auction soon after the aircraft was delivered in August 2006.  It also operated for Pacific Blue Airlines as ZK-PBI from June 2008 until February 2015.

All photos taken by Col  ©

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Royal Australian Navy (RAN) Bell 429 'Global Ranger' Helicopters - N49-049 & N49-218 - Pass Through CQ Airports Heading Back South

Just under a week after they flew North to Townsville (and I think they also visited Cairns) the two Royal Australian Navy (RAN) Bell 429 'Global Ranger' helicopters - N49-049(049) and brand new N49-218(050) - were spotted passing through Mackay and Gladstone Airports on Tuesday 28 June while returning South to RAAF Base Amberley.  They were heard to be flying in formation as "Medusa Black".

The initially flew from Townsville to Mackay Airport via the coastline.  After taking on fuel, they then departed for Gladstone Airport they were photographed shortly after arriving.

It appears that both choppers then continued to Amberley.

Of interest, one other Bell 429 helicopter was also spotted passing through Gladstone Airport but on Monday 27 June with VH-EQP of Corporate Aviation photographed soon after arriving from Wanella Station near Coppabella.  After taking on fuel, it continued to its Southport base.

VH-EQP had flown North to Mackay Airport via Gladstone last Friday 24 June and must have flown West to Wanella Station over the weekend.

All photos taken by Col  ©

And Alliance Airlines Fokker F-100 Jet Operates into Hamilton Island Airport for QantasLink

Also on Tuesday 28 June, Alliance Airlines Fokker F-100 jet was noted arriving into Hamilton Island Airport from Cairns as UTY2503 operating what looked to be the morning flight from Tropical North Queensland on behalf of QantasLink.

It then departed Hamo back to Cairns as UTY2504.

I can only assume that a QantasLink Dash-8-Q400 broke down at Cairns hence why the Alliance Fokker jet was used as a substitute.

File photo taken by 'IAD'  ©

Alliance Airlines Fokker 50 VH-FKX Spotted at Proserpine / Whitsunday Coast Airport Heading South on tour

After visiting Proserpine / Whitsunday Coast Airport the previous week, Alliance Airlines Fokker 50 VH-FKX was again noted arriving into Proserpine Airport as UTY4427 from Townsville on Monday 27 June.  Flight tracking websites suggest that it rook the 'scenic route' to Prosie, flying over the Great Barrier Reef and Hamilton Island.  It remained on the ground during Tuesday 28 June when it was photographed below.

As we mentioned last week, VH-FKX appears to be operating an outback and Great Barrier Reef tour from Adelaide which included a visit to the 'red centre' of Australia at Ayres Rock, as well as Longreach, and as far North as Cairns over the last weekend.

At the time of writing, VH-FKX is scheduled to departed Proserpine / Whitsunday Coast Airport early on Wednesday 29 June for Hervey Bay (Fraser Coast) Airport.

UPDATE!  Indeed on Wednesday 29 June, VH-FKX departed Proserpine / Whitsunday Coast Airport for Hervey Bay (Fraser Coast) Airport as UTY4429.  It reportedly completed some sightseeing over Lady Elliot Island and surround areas.  VH-FKX then departed later on Wednesday for Brisbane as UTY4431.

RAAF Challenger 604 Bizjet A37-003 Departs Gladstone for Rockhampton Airport

As mentioned below, on Tuesday 28 June, Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) Canadair CL-600-2B16 Challenger 604 bizjet A37-003 of the VIP 34 Squadron in Canberra departed Gladstone Airport for Rockhampton Airport.  It was again noted using the radio callsign of "Envoy 96".

The Challenger brought Federal National Party leader Barnaby Joyce to Gladstone and Rockhampton to campaign during this final week of the Federal election campaign.

With this engagements complete in the beef capital, Mr Joyce boarded A37-003 and the RAAF bizjet departed Rockhampton Airport for Stanthorpe again as "Envoy 96" as pictured above.

Only a couple more days of the campaign - I wonder how many more pollies we will see making a last ditch pitch to local voters!

Photos taken by Col and Kayanne Hardsman  ©

Final ATSB Report into Heli-Central Bell 206B Helicopter VH-WHU Wirestrike While Crop-Spraying at Carmila near Mackay

The Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) has released its final report into a wirestrike and crash of Heli-Central operated Bell 206B JetRanger VH-WHU while it was spraying cane fields about 5km south-west of Carmila, 81 km south of Mackay on Saturday 25 March.

File photo

During the accident sequence, the helicopter’s tail rotor and vertical stabiliser assembly separated from the helicopter. The helicopter collided with terrain and was destroyed by impact forces and a post‑impact fire. The pilot was fatally injured.

The ATSB found that "The inherent difficulty in visually detecting powerlines was exacerbated in this case by the outer two supporting power poles being masked by trees. There was also a low-contrast background that included cane fields, rising terrain and a tree-lined creek. In combination, these features negated a number of visual cues normally associated by pilots with the location of powerlines. This increased the difficulty of the pilot seeing the wires, and reduced the time available to take action once the powerline was located."

You can read more at the ATSB website:

Helicopters Galore at Bundaberg Airport in Recent Days!

Becker Helicopters Bell 206 Jetrangers continue to fly up from their Sunshine Coast Airport base into the Fraser Coast region to complete airwork.  Over the last week, they have been noted flying around and often landing at Maryborough, Hervey Bay and Bundaberg Airports.

File photo taken by Micah S  ©

VH-NXW, VH-XJK, VH-WCF, VH-XJQ, VH-NXV, VH-XJN, VH-WCJ, VH-NXZ and VH-NXC have all been noted over the last week.

Meanwhile, the weekend saw multiple visits to the Fraser Coast region by locally-based RACQ Careflight rescue helicopters including Agusta A109E Power VH-ZCF, Kawasaki BK117 B-2 helicopters VH-BKV and VH-EHQ along with Brisbane-based Agusta Westland AW139 VH-XIH "Rescue 533".

Finally, some notable fixed-wing visitors to Bundaberg Airport over the last few days have included Arnhem Land Community Airlines (Cairns) Cessna 206 VH-LHQ on Friday 24 June, calling in from the Whitsunday Airport at Shute Harbour and departing to Southport.

On Monday 27 June, Eastern Air Services of Port Macquarie (New South Wales) Beech B200 King Air VH-LNK made its second visit to CQ in as many days visiting Bundy from Archerfield and Brisbane.  It later departed back to Archerfield.

Simon Coates /

And on Tuesday 28 June, Austrek Aviation Cessna 310R VH-DZX flew into Bundaberg Airport Toowoomba, Archerfield and Warwick.  It later departed back to Archerfield and Toowoomba, while Royal Queensland Aero Club Cessna 206 VH-NCR also visited from Archerfield.

Australian Border Force (ABF) Cobham Aviation-operated Dash-8-202 VH-ZZA Spotted at Mackay Airport - Plus More!

Surveillance Australia / Australian Border Force (ABF) Cobham Aviation-operated Dash-8 turbo-props continue to operate Customs and immigration surveillance flights out of various CQ Airports and on Monday 27 June, Dash-8-202 VH-ZZA was spotted resting quietly on the Mackay Airport apron after a heavy shower had rolled through.  It had earlier arrived from a sortie using the new radio callsign of "Borderforce 11".

Meanwhile, I also called into Mackay Airport before the rain on Monday 27 June and captured a photo of VH-ZZA - along with Pel-Air SAAB 340A Freighter VH-KDK.

Also around on a busy General Aviation (GA) apron I spotted Reef Airways (Island Air) Cessna 206 VH-LSO and Beech B58 Baron VH-LAP awaiting their next flights - usually passenger transfer flights to nearby Keswick Island.

VH-LSO was due to operate from Mackay to Longreach Airport and back on Tuesday 28 June, however this looks have not happened with a 'plan in the system' for the same flight on Wednesday 29 June.

Incidentally, there are also reports that the Island Air flights to Keswick Island have been taken over and are now operated by Chrisair Aircraft Maintenance - however this is not 100% confirmed.

Finally, a couple of other interesting GA movements over the last few days included two visits by the Sunshine Coast-based Aero Dynamic Flight Academy Cessna 310 VH-NFE which first visited on Saturday 25 June flying North from the Sunny Coast to Cairns.  Then on Monday 27 June, VH-NFE returned South from Cairns to the Sunshine Coast again via Mackay Airport.

And Eastern Air Services of Port Macquarie (New South Wales) Beech B200 King Air VH-LNK made a before dawn visit to Mackay Airport in the wee small hours of Sunday 26 June.  It called in from Archerfield and later departed to Narrabri before it returned to Archerfield.

Photo taken by 'AC'  ©

(Former) Seair Pacific Cessna 208 VH-TWX Ferries to WA via Longreach Airport

An interesting visitor to Longreach Airport very late on Monday 27 June was Seair Pacific (Istlecote) Cessna 208 Caravan VH-TWX which appeared to be on a ferry flight reportedly to Kununurra in Western Australia.  It touched down from the Gold Coast via Archerfield.

Simon Coates /

After taking on fuel, VH-TWX departed to Mount Isa.

It has since continued to Kununurra with reports that it may take up operations with locally-based Aviair.