On Sunday 27 September
, several Flight Training Adelaide (FTA) / Qantas Group Pilot Academy Diamond DA-40 Star training aircraft were noted visiting some Central Queensland Airports, all flying out of their Toowoomba-Wellcamp Airport base.
DA-40 Stars VH-PQS, VH-YTE, VH-YTK, VH-EQF and VH-YTU all flew into Gladstone Airport from Wellcamp.
They all later returned to Wellcamp with VH-PQS flying via Hervey Bay (Fraser Coast) Airport, VH-YTE and VH-YTK both returning via Bundaberg Airport, and VH-EQF and VH-YTU returning direct.
While fellow DA-40 Stars VH-YTJ and VH-PQR were noted also calling into Hervey Bay and Bundaberg Airports also on Sunday 27 September.
UPDATE! On Monday 28 September, more DA-40 Stars were noted visiting the region - VH-ERE popped into Bundaberg Airport, VH-PQE and VH-YTU visited Hervey Bay (Fraser Coast) Airport and VH-YTJ visited Maryborough Airport.
As mentioned previously, these are some of several Diamond DA-40 Star training aircraft that operate out of Wellcamp with the Qantas Group’s new pilot academy which was officially launched in late January. Some of the aircraft and have been noted completing airwork and calling into Central Queensland Airports in recent weeks.
The Pilot Academy has the capacity to train up to 250 pilots each year with Qantas reportedly hoping to build a long-term talent pipeline for the airline and its subsidiaries Jetstar and QantasLink plus the wider industry.
The first 34 students commenced training at the new facilities in early January on the single-engine Diamond DA40 and multi-engine DA42 aircraft. 100 students are expected to be in training by the end of 2020.
According to Qantas, the academy has the potential to train as many as 500 pilots each year across two locations including Toowoomba and Mackay – the preferred location for the second academy site.
Meanwhile, some other General Aviation (GA) aircraft and helicopters noted visiting CQ Airports also on Sunday 27 September, included Gulf Aircraft Cessna 680 Citation Sovereign bizjet VH-PYN which was noted departing Hamilton Island Airport for Brisbane. It had arrived into Hamo from the capital on Wednesday 23 September.
While FKG Air (Redjet Aviation) Hawker Beechcraft B200GT VH-FKB visited Hamilton Island Airport once again, this time arriving from Toowoomba and later departing to Archerfield and then Toowoomba.
And American-registered but Australian-based Cirrus SR22T N931DW which looked to visit the Hervey Bay (Fraser Coast) Airport from its Sunshine Coast base.
Of the choppers, Pacific Helicopters Ltd of Papua New Guinea (PNG) MBB-Kawasaki BK117B-2 helicopter P2-BKB was noted passing through Rockhampton Airport. It arrived from the Redcliffe and possibly Bundaberg Airport before then departing for an overnight stay at the Whitsunday Airport at Shute Harbour.
UPDATE! On Monday 28 September, P2-BKB departed the Whitsunday Airport and continued further North.
Also on Sunday 27 September, Corporate Aviation Bell 429 Global Ranger helicopter VH-EQP flew down from Hamilton Island Airport to Gladstone Airport and then its Southport home. It flew North to Hamo back on Monday 21 September.
While Stirling Helicopters Eurocopter AS.350BA Squirrel VH-WHW was noted operating out of Rockhampton Airport as "Firebird 421" assisting with fighting a bushfire East of Rockhampton.
Finally, it also appeared that over the weekend, Stirling Helicopters Bell Helicopter Textron Canada 407 VH-IBF, as well as a pair of McDermott Aviation helicopters, operated out of Gladstone Airport fighting a bushfire to the South of the port city.