Saturday, June 16, 2018

Ex Hamel 2018 - Super Saturday of Australian Defence Force (ADF) Aircraft and Helicopters Spotted at Rockhampton Airport

It was a 'Super Saturday' of Australian Defence Force (ADF) movements in and out of Rockhampton Airport on Saturday 16 June with visits by various aircraft and helicopters of all the Australian Armed Forces.

A pair of Australian Army NH Industries MRH-90 Multi-Role Helicopters looked to arrive into Rockhampton Airport from Oakey flying in formation as "Knights Red".  The MRH-90s were identified as A40-031 and A40-012.  After arriving and collecting passengers, both departed to Shoalwater Bay separately as "Knights Red 1" and "Knights Red 2" before later being heard flying in formation again all the way back to Oakey via overheard Rockhampton.

Around the same time, Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) Canadair CL-600-2B16 Challenger 604 bizjet A37-001 was spotted arriving into Rockhampton Airport from Canberra as "Wisdom 88".  Soon after, it departed back to Canberra via what looked to be airwork, including a missed approach, at Bundaberg Airport.

Also calling in around the same time was Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) Boeing C-17A Globemaster III transport aircraft A41-208 which arrived from the South as "Stallion 25".  After some light and heavy equipment was unloaded, the C-17 departed to RAAF Base Amberley.

Throughout the day, Royal Australian Navy (RAN) NH Industries MRH-90 Multi-Role Helicopter A40-043 was noted flying in and out of Rockhampton Airport between Shoalwater Bay and HMAS Canberra as "Poseidon 43".

While RAAF Search and Rescue (CHC Helicopters Australia / Lloyd Helicopters) Agusta AW139 helicopter VH-SYJ "Choppa 32" was spotted completing two visits to the heli-pad on top of the local Rockhampton Base Hospital.  On both occasions it arrived from and later departed back to Shoalwater Bay.

During the afternoon, the sole remaining RAAF Alenia C-27J Spartan transport aircraft at Rockhampton Airport - A34-005 "Wallaby 05" - was spotted departing to Amberley.  A34-005 was later noted flying as "Wallaby 06" and completed a flight into the Shoalwater Bay Training Area from and back to Amberley.

Finally, a pair of RAAF Airbus A330-200 / KC-30A Multi Role Tanker Transport (MRTT) aircraft were spotted calling into Rockhampton Airport from Sydney.  Both aircraft looked to bring personnel and equipment in support of the upcoming Military Exercise Hamel 2018 which is getting underway this week.  Firstly, A39-004 "Dragon 11" touched down and unloaded before departing to Amberley.

Then A39-002 "Dragon 15" touched down after dark, also unloaded, but then returned to Sydney suggesting that it could possibly return on Sunday 17 June with more personnel and equipment.

UPDATE!  Indeed, on Sunday 17 June, A39-002 "Dragon 15" did return to Rockhampton Airport from Sydney.

Sincere thanks to all the local plane spotters for their help with compiling this Blog post - from all the information supplied to all the wonderful photos and videos that have been shared!  Cheers guys!

Photos and videos taken by Trevor Hardsman, Kayanne Hardman and 'IAD'  ©

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