After gaining control of fires around Yeppoon and the Capricorn Coast, on Wednesday 13 November, both Kestrel Aviation-operated Firehawk Helicopter (Brainerd Helicopters) Sikorsky UH-60A Blackhawk helicopter N9FH "Helitak 470" and Elite Helicopters (Brisbane) Aerospatiale AS.350BA Squirrel VH-WMW "Firebird 410" were noted departing Rockhampton Airport for Bundaberg Airport where they have taken up operations.
It also appears that Roma-based M.I. Helicopters Eurocopter AS.355F2 VH-JZX "Helitack 431" is also currently operating in the area out of Bundaberg Airport.
On Thursday 14 November, the helicopters were joined at Bundaberg Airport by the two Emerald-based Central Highlands Aerial Services (CHAS) water bombers Thrush S2R-T660 aircraft VH-PMD "Bomber 434" and VH-KCS "Bomber 435".
Also spotted at Bundaberg Airport, also on Thursday 14 November, were three Kennedy Aviation / Kennedy Air-Ag Air Tractor AT-802A 'Fire Boss' water bombing aircraft. They are believed to be VH-XAJ "Bomber 455", VH-XAT "Bomber 288" and VH-XAY "Bomber 289".
While Aircair Avaition (Moree) Air Tractor AT-802 VH-WXH "Bomber 253" was also heard in the area. VH-WXH was photographed below at Bundaberg Airport at the end of October alongside fellow Air Tractor AT-802s VH-WXF "Bomber 252" also on Aircair Aviation, as well as Mungindi Aerial Spraying Air Tractor AT-802s VH-ZRO "Bomber 425" and VH-NFD "Bomber 429".
Possibly supporting these water-bombing aircraft was Toowoomba-based Bontrail (Strahman Farms) Cessna 208 Caravan VH-SJJ which flew into Bundaberg Airport from Moree and Biniguy Airports also on Thursday 14 November.
Finally, also on Thursday 14 November, the Air Affairs Australia / Gojet Gates LearJet 35A bizjet VH-LJJ "Firescan 123" was back in the air and was noted visiting Rockhampton Airport for a short time while flying out of and back to Brisbane on an aerial reconnaissance flight.
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 sincerely thank those volunteers and other firefighters who are battling these fierce blazes up and down the Eastern Australia coast.
Photos taken by Isaac S ©