Sunday, October 15, 2017

Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) Search and Rescue (SAR) Bell 412EP Helicopter VH-VAA "Choppa 82" at Proserpine and Mackay Airports

An interesting arrival into both Proserpine and Mackay Airports on Saturday 14 October was Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) Search and Rescue (SAR) Bell 412EP helicopter VH-VAA.  It was noted using the RAAF Support radio callsign of "Choppa 82".

VH-VAA in Victoria in 2016  (bukk05 /

It appears that the chopper has been operating in the Northern Territory in recent months - both at Darwin and RAAF Base Tindal.

On Friday 13 October, VH-VAA departed Darwin for Tindal, Daly Waters, Macarthur River Mine and Burketown where it spent the night.  On Saturday 14 October, VH-VAA departed Burketown for Cloncurry and Hughenden before it flew into Proserpine (Whitsunday Coast) Airport and then Mackay Airport where it also spent the night.

On Sunday 15 October, VH-VAA departed Mackay Airport for The Glen Airfield which is within the Shoalwater Bay Training Area (SWBTA).

With a combined military exercise involving both Australian and Singapore Armed Forces about to kick off within the Shoalwater Bay Training Area, I suspect that "Choppa 82" is heading there to act in a support role for this exercise.

Of interest, VH-VAA is owned by Lloyd Helicopters and operated by CHC Helicopters Australia for the RAAF.

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