Thursday, January 31, 2019

Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) (Cobham SAR Services Pty Ltd) Bombardier Challenger 604 Bizjet VH-XNC Pops into Mackay Airport

Believed to be making its first visit into Central Queensland at Mackay Airport during the afternoon on Thursday 31 January was Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) (Cobham SAR Services Pty Ltd) Bombardier CL-600-2B16 Challenger 604 bizjet VH-XNC.

It looked to call into Mackay Airport at the completion of a flight from Cairns which lasted more than two hours and took the Challenger over an inland track.  VH-XNC appeared to be using its registration as its radio callsign rather than the usual "Rescue" callsign.

After around an hour on the ground, VH-XNC returned directly to Cairns.

As we've previously reported, Cobham SAR Services Pty Ltd (Cobham) was contracted in 2014 to provide a new new search and rescue agreement for AMSA using four Bombardier Challenger CL-604 bizjets from late 2016 for a period of 12 years.

VH-XNC appeared to ferry into Cairns last weekend from Melbourne (Essendon) via Perth and is now based at Cairns to replace fellow Challenger VH-XNE which ferried to Essendon at the start of the week presumably for maintenance.  The other two Challengers - VH-XND and VH-XNF - appear to be based at Essendon as "Rescue 660" and Perth as "Rescue 440" respectively.

All photos taken by 'JM'  ©

Pacific Air Express Australia Boeing B757-200F Freighter VH-PQA Pops into Rockhampton Airport

A nice surprise visitor to Rockhampton Airport on Thursday 31 January with the Brisbane-based Pacific Air Express Australia Boeing B757-225(PCF) Freighter VH-PQA touching down on what appeared to be a training flight.

VH-PQA was heard to be flying as 'PCF22' / "Pacific 22" and came up from Brisbane.

After parking on Gate 6 on the Southern end of the Rockhampton Airport apron, the crew completed some re-programming and soon after it departed back to Brisbane but as 'PCF23' / "Pacific 23".

VH-PQA was delivered to Pacific Air Express Australia at their Brisbane base in November last year and previously visited Rockhampton and Mackay Airports in December also on a training flight - see Blog post HERE.

Sincere thanks to local plane spotters 'IAD' and Kayanne H for taking the time to capture and send through these great photos and video!

Photos and video taken by 'IAD' and Kayanne Hardsman  ©

Wednesday, January 30, 2019

Great Photos of Queensland Police Service (Airwing) (State of Qld) Raytheon B1900D VH-PSK Passing Through Rockhampton Airport

We post quite regularly about the Queensland Police Service (Airwing) (State of Queensland) Raytheon B1900D VH-PSK visiting Central Queensland Airports around three times per week operating prisoner and other passenger transfer flights.

Local photographer Russell P has yet again kindly shared with us some stunning photos this time as VH-PSK visited Rockhampton Airport one recent Monday.

Of interest, VH-PSK was delivered to the Queensland Police Service in 2005 after the (now) almost  20-year-old Raytheon 1900D (CN: UE-311) spent time operating in France.

File photo

After rolling off the production line, the 1900D was spotted at Farnborough (England) (below) in 1998 wearing the registration marking N10984 and wearing the titles and livery of Proteus Airlines (France).

Brian Johnstone /

It was then delivered to French operator Occitania Jet Fleet and operated with the French registration marking of F-GRCD until 2003.

Christian Hanuise /

The 1900D was then delivered to the Queensland Police Service via Brisbane.  It has since been re-painted into the livery above during the latter part of 2015.

Sincere thanks Russell for taking the time to capture and send through these great photos!  Enjoy!

Photos taken by Russell Prothero  ©

Queensland Government Airwing (State of Queensland) Hawker 850XP Bizjet VH-SGY Calls into Proserpine and Rockhampton Airports

Early on Wednesday 30 January, the Queensland Government Airwing (State of Queensland) Raytheon Hawker 850XP bizjet VH-SGY was noted arriving into Proserpine (Whitsunday Coast) Airport from Brisbane.  It was then scheduled to complete a local flight - perhaps the passenger were inspecting the local flooding as a result of the recent heavy rain that has been falling over the last few days.

VH-SGY at Rockhampton Airport last week  (File photo)

A couple of hours after it arrived, VH-SGY then departed to Rockhampton Airport.  It then completed another local flight, heard to complete several circuits before landing again at Rocky.

During the middle part of the afternoon, VH-SGY departed Rockhampton Airport and returned to Brisbane.

Photo taken by Jaxson White  ©

Tuesday, January 29, 2019

Rain - Wind - Low Cloud - All Cause Diversions and Delays at Hamilton Island and Proserpine Airports - UPDATED!

This post has been UPDATED and REPOSTED!

The monsoon is in full swing in the tropics during this wet season and over the last couple of days, several flights into both Hamilton Island and Proserpine (Whitsunday Coast) Airports have been either diverted or delayed.

During the afternoon on Tuesday 29 January, as we reported on our Facebook page, all flights in and out of Proserpine (Whitsunday Coast) Airport were cancelled without taking to the air.  Tigerair Australia flight TGW396/397, Virgin Australia flight VOZ1117/1118 and Jetstar flight JST830/833 were all cancelled.

UPDATE!  On Wednesday 30 January, Virgin Australia was noted operating an extra flight in and out of Proserpine Airport with Boeing B737-800 VH-YFI operating as VOZ9533/9540 from and back to Brisbane.

During the afternoon on Monday 28 January, as we reported on our Facebook page, four flights inbound to Hamilton Island Airport were forced to divert after circling and being unable to land.  These included:

-  QantasLink Dash-8-Q400 VH-QOP operating QLK2824 from Brisbane ended up returning to the capital.
-  Virgin Australia Boeing B737-800 VH-YFQ operating as VOZ1753 from Melbourne (Tullamarine) diverted to Rockhampton Airport.  It later returned to Melbourne.
-  Virgin Australia Boeing B737-800 VH-YIE operating as VOZ1497 from Brisbane also diverted to Rockhampton Airport.  It later returned to Brisbane.
-  Jetstar Airbus A320 VH-XSJ operating as JST846 from Sydney diverted to Mackay Airport.  It appears to have continued to Hamilton Island Airport and landed safely around sunset.

Hamish Armstrong /

UPDATE!  On Tuesday 29 January, after staying for the night, the Jetstar A320 VH-XSJ departed Hamilton Island Airport for Sydney as JST7849.  While Virgin Australia operated an additional flight with Boeing B737-800 VH-YID operating as VOZ9531/9532 from and back to Brisbane.

Meanwhile, on Sunday 27 January, Virgin Australia B737-800 VH-YIA operating as VOZ1497 from Brisbane diverted to Rockhampton Airport after being unable to land at Hamilton Island Airport.  It later departed and returned to Hamo but again couldn't land.  VH-YIA then returned to Brisbane.

While also on Sunday 27 January, Tigerair Australia (Tiger Airways Australia) Airbus A320 VH-VNF operating as TGW397 from Proserpine Airport to Sydney diverted to Brisbane.  It later continued to Sydney.

It is unclear if this had anything to do with weather being a technical stop or was medical related.

Finally, it appears that most - if not all - flight into Prosie are landing ok.  Most are holding and assessing weather conditions before making approaches.

Sunday, January 27, 2019

Local Embraer EMB-550 Legacy 500 Bizjet N142GZ Completes Flights in and out of Mackay Airport

As we posted below, on Wednesday 23 January, locally-based Embraer EMB-550 Legacy 500 bizjet N142GZ departed its Mackay Airport base for Brisbane.  It returned to the sugar city from the capital on Saturday 26 January.

File photo

Now, on Sunday 27 January, N142GZ was back in the air, departing Mackay Airport for Sydney.

It appears to be staying down South for at least the night.

Friday, January 25, 2019

Great Photos as RAAF Beech B350 Super King Air A32-675 "Hudson 07" Departs Rockhampton Airport

After arriving the previous day after a big day of flying - see Blog post below - on Friday 25 January, Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) Beech B350 Super King Air A32-675 was departing Rockhampton Airport.

It departed Rockhampton Airport for airwork at RAAF Base Amberley before continuing to Coffs Harbour.  A32-675 then returned to RAAF Base East Sale in Victoria.

Of interest, with the recent disbanding of the RAAF's 38 Squadron in Townsville after 75 years of continuous operational service, Super King Air A32-675 is one of the many aircraft that have been transferred to operations with the RAAF East Sale-based 32 Squadron.

Sincere thanks Russell for taking the time to capture and send through these great photos!  Enjoy!

All photos taken by Russell Prothero  ©

Great Photos of Pel-Air Aviation SAAB 340A Freighter VH-KDB at Rockhampton Airport

Since 1992, Pel-Air Aviation Pty Ltd (Pel-Air) has been providing the Australian express freight industry with a broad range of aircraft and services.  Freight operations are conducted both domestically and internationally on behalf of major freight forwarders.  Pel-Air’s current freight charter fleet comprises of  three converted SAAB 340A freighter aircraft each with a 3,500 kg capacity per aircraft.  They are registered VH-EKT, VH-KDB and VH-KDK.

In Central Queensland, Pel-Air provides a return Brisbane to Mackay via Rockhampton freight service most weekdays.  One of their SAAB 340A freighters makes a pre-dawn departure from Brisbane as PFY7416 and arrives into Rockhampton Airport before continuing further north to Mackay Airport as PFY7418.  The aircraft generally remains parked at Mackay Airport until late afternoon / early evening when the return service to Brisbane via Rockhampton Airport operates as PFY7415 / PFY7417.

At Rockhampton Airport recently, local photographer Russell P was on hand to capture an 'unscheduled' visit by one of Pel-Air's SAAB 340A freighters registered VH-KDB.  It had arrived into Rocky early in the morning as scheduled but didn't depart as planned; instead remaining parked for the day before it is pictured departing to Mackay Airport in the early evening.

Of interest, this SAAB 340A, VH-KDB, was delivered to Kendell Airlines at Wagga Wagga in New South Wales in December 1991 at the conclusion of a flight from Amsterdam in The Netherlands.  It operated with Australia's largest regional airline until 2001 when Kendell Airlines' parent company, Ansett Australia collapsed.  This grounded the entire fleet of Kendell Airlines aircraft and soon after, Kendell Airlines was placed into administration.

VH-KDB in 1992  (George Gaidzkar /

In 2002, Kendell Airlines, and fellow Ansett subsidiary, Hazelton Airlines, were sold to a consortium known as Australiawide Airlines, from which Regional Express Airlines (known as REX) was formed.  Most of the turboprop aircraft operated by Kendell Airlines at that time were taken over by REX and VH-KDB was registered to the company in 2007.

VH-KDB in 2007  (Ryan Hothersall /

VH-KDB operated its final passenger service for REX flying from Melbourne (Tullamarine) to Wagga Wagga in September 2008.  It was then converted into a freighter at Wagga Wagga soon after.

VH-KDB was transferred to the Regional Express subsidiary company Pel-Air Aviation and operated its first dedicated freighter service for Pel-Air out of Sydney in January 2009.

Pel-Air Aviation Pty Ltd (trading as Pel-Air) is based in Sydney and is a wholly owned subsidiary of Regional Express Holdings, which also owns Australian airlines Regional Express Airlines (REX) and Air Link.

Sincere thanks Russell for taking the time to capture and send through these great photos!  Enjoy!

Photos taken by Russell Prothero  ©