Funny, a day after we shared some information on our Facebook page about what they were doing in Cairns, on Tuesday 3 October, the two Australian Defence Force (ADF) Helicopter Aircrew Training System (HATS) Airbus Helicopters H135 (EC135 T2+) choppers N52-006 (Cab no. 846) and N52-012 (852) were noted flying south and eventually landing back at Mackay Airport.
It was interesting to note on flight tracking websites that they were earlier flying separately from Cairns into Townsville with N52-006 flying as “Cobra 46” while N52-012 was “Taipan 52”.
From Townsville both H135s flew together as “Cobra Black”.
Both choppers appear to be spending the night at Mackay Airport. It is anticipated that they will continued further south on Wednesday 4 October, possibly passing through Gladstone Airport as they did when flying north in early September.
UPDATE! As expected, on Wednesday 4 October, both H135 helicopters departed Mackay Airport and landed at Gladstone Airport for fuel before they continued and finished the day at the Oakey Army Aviation Centre.
As mentioned below, These choppers are two of 15 Airbus Helicopters H135 (EC135 T2+) that are based at HMAS Albatross at Nowra in New South Wales where Boeing Defence Australia is contracted for the $600 million HATS contract to train Royal Australian Navy and Australian Army pilots.
Both H135 helicopters carry an ADF serial and cab number as well as civilian registration markings. They also wear ‘NAVY’ and ‘ARMY’ titles on the port and starboard sides of the vertical fin, respectively, above a fanged Taipan emblem, the unofficial emblem of Navy’s 723 Squadron.