Monday, February 13, 2017

RAAF Search and Rescue (CHC Helicopters) Sikorsky S-76A VH-LHZ at Gladstone and Mackay Airports

On Monday 13 February, Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) Search and Rescue (SAR) Sikorsky S-76A helicopter VH-LHZ was noted calling into Gladstone Airport from RAAF Base Amberley.  It later departed to Mackay Airport where it took on fuel before continuing to Townsville.

File photo

VH-LHZ - which was heard to be flying as "Choppa 9" - was believed to be flying North to Townsville where it will provide support to elements of the United States Air Force (USAF) that will be participating in a wide range of general flying and tactical exercises in the Townsville Field Training Area (TFTA) over the next week or so.

Of interest, VH-LHZ is owned by Lloyd Helicopters and operated by CHC Helicopters Australia, and is one of a number of choppers used for RAAF Search and Rescue jobs.

UPDATE!  On Tuesday 14 February, three Lockheed Martin F-22A Raptor fighter aircraft of the United States Air Force's 90th Fighter Squadron (90 FS) "The Dicemen" based at Elmendorf in Alaska were noted arriving into Townsville from RAAF Base Tindal.

They were supported by a USAF Boeing C-17A Globemaster III 98-0051 which also flew from Tindal, along with a USAF Boeing KC-135R Stratotanker 63-8018 which flew from Darwin.

The USAF aircraft deployed to the 'top end' had arrived into Australia last week.

Photos taken by David Geck and Leroy  ©

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