The airborne action at Rockhampton Airport commenced pretty early in the day with the Conair Aviation (Canada) British Aerospace BAe 146 / Avro RJ-85 C-GVFT "Bomber 166" photographed heading out to complete a water-drop on the local fires.
It returned a short time later and after being refuelled and refilled, departed on yet another sortie. The RJ85 later completed water-drops around the Deepwater area near Agnes Water before again operating around Rocky.
Sadly the Coulson Aviation (USA) Lockheed EC-130Q Hercules (L-382) N130CG "Bomber 134" which arrived into Rockhampton Airport via a water-drop late on the previous day developed a maintenance issue and departed Rocky mid-morning and returned to RAAF Base Richmond in New South Wales where it is currently based.
Fellow Coulson Aviation (USA) Boeing B737-300 Large Air Tanker 'Fireliner' N137CG "Bomber 137" returned to Rockhampton Airport from Mackay Airport where it spent the night and was immediately in action completing water-drops around Rocky and Agnes Water again.
Supporting the water-bombing aircraft were again several smaller bizjet and turboprop aircraft including Air Affairs Australia / Gojet (New South Wales) Gates LearJet 35A bizjet VH-LPJ "Firescan 124" which completed flights between Rocky and Hervey Bay (Fraser Coast) Airport where it looked to be spending the night.
It was joined in the air by another pair of Air Affairs Australia / Gojet operated aircraft. Beech B200T King Air VH-LAB as "Firescan 125" departed Mackay Airport and flew into Rockhampton Airport before it also finished the day at Hervey Bay Airport. While another Gates LearJet 35A bizjet VH-LJJ as "Firescan 121" was photographed below at Rockhampton Airport late on Thursday after it earlier arrived from HMAS Albatross at Nowra in New South Wales.
Also at Hervey Bay (Fraser Coast) Airport, earlier on Thursday 29 November, Fly Corporate (Corporate Air) SAAB 340B+ (WT) VH-VEP was noted departing there for RAAF Base Williamtown with a load of firefighting personnel.
Back at Rockhampton Airport, the large water-bombers were also supported by the smaller pair of Emerald-based Central Highlands Aerial Services (CHAS) water-bombers - Thrush S2R-T660 aircraft VH-PMD "Bomber 434" and VH-KCS "Bomber 435". They were again noted completing many runs over the Gracemere and Kabra areas.
And again, Rockhampton-based R-Mach Aviation Ayres S2R Turbine Thrush VH-NFF "Bomber 407" and PZL Warszawa-Okecie M-18B Dromader VH-MDR "Bomber 402", along with their Cessna 337G VH-JOE "Birddog 410" - were again noted operating around the Mackay area with the water-bombers spotted using a landing strip at Finch Hatton for refuelling etc.
Meanwhile, three Air Tractor AT-802 water-bombing aircraft of Kennedy Aviation at Gunnedah in New South Wales were photographed operating out of Maryborough Airport. The three were identified as VH-XAV, VH-BQE and VH-LHW.
While down at Gladstone Airport, Calibre Aviation (Webb Helicopters) Williams UH-1H "Huey" VH-UEE was photographed after flying as "Helitack 422".
Finally, a couple more photos from Rockhampton Airport early on Thursday 29 November showing the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) Canadair CL-600-2B16 Challenger 604 bizjet A37-001 which had arrived the previous evening from Canberra via Gladstone Airport as "Wisdom 18".
It was certainly a busy apron at Rockhampton Airport!
Sincere thanks again to the local plane spotters for their help in compiling the information and for allowing us to share these great photos contained in this post. We offer our thoughts and prayers to those who are affected by this bushfire emergency and sincere thank those volunteer and other firefighters who are battling these fierce blazes up and down the Queensland coast.
Photos taken by 'IAD', Trevor Hardsman, Kayanne Hardsman, Daniel Bishop, AC', David Geck and Michael Fleetwood ©