Sunday, December 2, 2018

Conair Aviation (Canada) Avro RJ-85 C-GVFK "Bomber 165" Calls into Rockhampton Airport - Plus Yet More Photos of Aircraft and Helicopters in Support of Bushfire Fighting Efforts Over the Weekend

Over this weekend, local and interstate firefighters continued to battle fierce bushfires in various parts of Central Queensland.  They were again supported by many fixed wing aircraft and helicopters which completed many water-drops over the region and were even credited with saving many buildings.

During the afternoon on Saturday 1 December, Conair Aviation (Canada) British Aerospace BAe 146 / Avro RJ-85 C-GVFK "Bomber 165" was noted arriving into Rockhampton Airport after flying up direct from RAAF Base Amberley.

In recent days, it has been operating out of Amberley assisting with water-drops over bushfires on Stradbroke Island.

C-GVFK didn't stay in CQ for long - it is photographed departing to its base at RAAF Base Richmond early on Sunday 2 December.

Fellow Conair Aviation (Canada) British Aerospace BAe 146 / Avro RJ-85 C-GVFT "Bomber 166" continued to operate out of Rockhampton Airport, completing sorties South to the Deepwater / Agnes Water area where the massive bushfires were slowly being contained.

Of interest, a third Conair Aviation RJ-85 N366AC "Bomber 163" was noted arriving in Australia at Richmond from overseas on Wednesday 28 November and was almost immediately sent to the fire-zone in the South-East corner of the state also operating out of Amberley over this weekend.

Defence Image

The third large water-bombing aircraft currently in CQ,  Coulson Aviation (USA) Boeing B737-300 Large Air Tanker 'Fireliner' N137CG "Bomber 137", was photographed arriving into Mackay Airport early on Saturday 1 December after spending the previous night at Rockhampton Airport.

N137CG looked to operate in the Mackay region and was noted flying out and back to Mackay Airport on at least two occasions.  On Saturday evening, it then returned to Rockhampton Airport for the night.

Victorian-based Agair Logistics P/L Gulfstream American Corporation 695A Jetprop Commander 1000 VH-HPY as "Birddog 275" remains in the area and again joined the large water-bombing aircraft to the South of Rockhampton.

Supporting the B737 and also operating in the Mackay region were 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 Emerald-based Central Highlands Aerial Services (CHAS) Thrush S2R-T660 aircraft VH-PMD "Bomber 434" and VH-KCS "Bomber 435".  The four water-bombers were spotted using a landing strip at Finch Hatton for refuelling etc.

Fellow R-Mach Cessna 337G VH-JOE "Birddog 410" was yet again noted operating around the Mackay area fly out of and back to Mackay Airport.

Further to the South, another Kennedy Aviation (of Gunnedah in New South Wales) Air Tractor AT-802 VH-XAT was noted departing Bundaberg Airport on Sunday 2 December after arriving the previous day from the South.

Of interest, Kennedy Aviation North American Rockwell 500S VH-XAS as "Birddog 444" continues to operate out of Gladstone Airport.

Continuing to support all of the firefighters in the air and on the ground were Air Affairs Australia / Gojet operated aircraft - Gates LearJet 35A bizjet VH-LPJ as "Firescan 124" and Beech B200T King Air VH-LAB as "Firescan 125" which again both operated all weekend between Hervey Bay (Fraser Coast) Airport - where they are based - up and down the Queensland coast between Mackay and the Gold Coast.

While also spotted back at Mackay Airport also on Saturday 1 December was Touchdown Helicopters (Wollongong) OAS Parts (Bell) UH-1H Iroquois VH-OXE as "Helitack 223".  It had earlier flown up from Rockhampton Airport and later was also noted operating from the landing zone at Finch Hatton.

Of interest, fellow Touchdown Helicopters (Wollongong) OAS Parts (Bell) UH-1H Iroquois VH-OXI as "Helitack 229" was noted arriving into Rockhampton Airport also early on Saturday 1 December and was spotted resting on the grass near the General Aviation (GA) Apron on Sunday 2 December.

Stirling Helicopters (Stirling Consolidated) / Eagle Copters Leasing Bell Helicopter Textron Canada 407 helicopter VH-IBF as "Firebird 423" was noted flying North via Rockhampton and was later also noted operating from Finch Hatton near Mackay.

While also spotted at Rockhampton Airport early on Sunday 2 December was the New South Wales Rural Fire Service (RFS) own Aerospatiale AS.350B2 Squirrel helicopter VH-NFO "Firebird 200".

Finally, down at Gladstone Airport, Calibre Aviation (Webb Helicopters) Williams UH-1H "Huey" VH-UEE was photographed departing to the fire-zone to the South on Saturday 1 December as "Helitack 422".

Sincere thanks 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', 'JM', 'AC', Russell Prothero and Anthony Schulz   ©

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