Friday, April 30, 2021

Australian Army (Helicorp) Leonardo S.P.A. Helicopters (Agusta) AW139 Helicopter VH-YBF Ferries North via Gladstone and Mackay Airports

Certainly an interesting helicopter to pass through Central Queensland Airports on Friday 30 April was Australian Army marked Leonardo S.P.A. Helicopters (Agusta) AW139 Helicopter VH-YBF. It was spotted preparing for departure at Mackay Airport.

VH-YBF was noted to ferry into Townsville after flying up from Bankstown via Armidale, Oakey, Gladstone and Mackay Airports.

VH-YBF is registered to Helicorp (Toll Group) and is reportedly the first of three AW139 helicopters that has been leased to the Australian Army's 5th Aviation Regiment based at Townsville.  They have been provided to the Army to provide a similar capability to the NH Industries MRH-90 so pilots can keep up their hours.

The Australian Army's MRH-90 helicopters have suffered years of poor serviceability due to various technical issues so AW139 helicopters are a 'stop gap' measure.

There are reports though that the AW139 could ultimately be used by the Australian Army as a general utility helicopter.

UPDATE!  It appears that VH-YBF started flying for the Australian Army at Townsville on Thursday 6 May with it completing a local flight.  It was seen and heard to be using the flight number and radio callsign of 'MGIC237' / "Magic 237".

Sincere thanks to local plane spotter 'JM' for taking the time to capture and send through these great photos!

All photos taken by 'JM'  ©

Air Kiribati Embraer E-190-E2 VH-IKJ Pops into Rockhampton Airport Again

On Friday 30 April, Air Kiribati Embraer E190-E2 (ERJ-190-300 STD) VH-IKJ was spotted at Rockhampton Airport, operating what appears to be another training flight.

The Embraer arrived from Bankstown and taxied in and parked in front of the Air Traffic Control Tower. After some time, it departed to Brisbane.

As mentioned previously, the brand new Embraer was delivered to Air Kiribati at Toowoomba-Wellcamp in January 2020 wearing its Brazilian delivery registration marking of PR-EHT.

It was added to the Australian Aircraft Register in February as VH-IKJ is owned by and registered to the Government of Kiribati, with Sydney-based passenger and cargo airline Pionair Australia as the registered operator.

Air Kiribati is the flag carrier of the Republic of Kiribati (pronounced Kiribas) and operates scheduled passenger services to 20 atolls spread over an area of 3.5m sq km.

It is headquartered at Bonriki International Airport on the island of Tarawa in the Gilbert Islands.  The airline operates an international service from Tarawa to Tuvalu.  Regional charter flights, medical evacuation and search and rescue services are also undertaken by the airline.

Kiribati is a small nation that covers an immense geographical area - which is mostly water.  The E190-E2 was chosen for its ability to economically connect two important islands, Tarawa in the west and Kiritimati or Christmas Island in the east. Even with the E2 this is more than a 4 hour flight.

VH-IKJ appears to have completed a handful of flights between Brisbane and Tarawa.

Sincere thanks to local photographer Steve V for allowing us to share these great photos!

All photos taken by Steve Vit  ©

Tamworth-Based Eclipse EA500 Bizjet N465DG Finally Departs Rockhampton Airport - Plus More!

On Friday 30 April, Australian-based but American-registered Eclipse EA500 bizjet N465DG looked to finally depart Rockhampton Airport.  It was spotted flying South to Armidale and then Tamworth.

N465DG had arrived into Rockhampton Airport last Friday 23 April direct from Tamworth.

AirMed Australia Cessna 510 Citation Mustang bizjet VH-NEQ was noted departing Hamilton Island Airport for Bendigo also on Friday 30 April.  It had arrived into Hamo from Bendigo the previous day.

Meanwhile, also on Friday 30 April, Chaika LLC L65 Sea Bear amphibious aircraft VH-OMS flew down from Hamilton Island Airport to Gladstone Airport and ports further South.  It had been up at the Whitsunday Airport at Shute Harbour for last weekend's Fly-in and Seaplane Pilots Association Australia (SPAA) annual conference "Splashdown 2021".

The Queensland Police Service (Airwing) (State of Queensland) Raytheon B1900D VH-PSK called into Rockhampton Airport from Cairns and Townsville before later departing to Brisbane.  During the afternoon, VH-PSK then called into Maryborough Airport from Brisbane while heading back to Townsville and Cairns.

Finally, also on Friday 30 April, Cootamundra (New South Wales) based Outback Aero Cessna 208 Grand Caravan VH-FTT was noted visiting Longreach Airport.  It's exact movements are not known unfortunately.

And LifeFlight Agusta Westland AW139 helicopter VH-XIA looked to call into Gladstone Airport while out on a training flight from Archerfield.  It flew up via Chinchilla Airport and then returned South over the same route.

Photo taken by Steve Vit  ©

Thursday, April 29, 2021

Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) Boeing C-17A Globemaster III A41-209 Completes a Missed Approach at Rockhampton Airport

On Thursday 29 April, Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) Boeing C-17A Globemaster III A41-209 was noted completing a missed approach and low overshoot at Rockhampton Airport.  It was heard to be flying as "Stallion 71".

It appears that the Globemaster earlier departed from RAAF Base Amberley and returned there after completing the airwork at Rocky.

Photo taken by Steve Vit  ©️

Revesco Aviation Embraer EMB-500 Phenom Bizjet VH-PNM Pops into Gladstone Airport - Plus More!

On Thursday 29 April, the smart little Revesco Aviation (Perth, Western Australia) Embraer EMB-500 Phenom bizjet VH-PNM was noted visiting Gladstone Airport.  

Paul Corfiatis /

It arrived from Brisbane and later departed to Newcastle (Williamtown).

Meanwhile, also on Thursday 29 April, AirMed Australia Cessna 510 Citation Mustang bizjet VH-NEQ was noted arriving into Hamilton Island Airport from Bendigo.

UPDATE!  After staying for the night, on Friday 30 April, VH-NEQ returned to Bendigo from Hamo.

And the locally-based Embraer EMB-550 Legacy 500 bizjet N142GZ was back in the air out of Mackay Airport, flying down to Brisbane and back.

Finally, some light General Aviation (GA) action, also on Thursday 29 April, included Ipswich-based Airborne P/L (Palm Lake Works) Pilatus PC-12/47E VH-PLE which made yet another visit to Bundaberg Airport.  It looked to arrive from the Gold Coast via Caloundra and later depart back down there.

New South Wales-based Cessna 172 VH-SNU and Piper PA-28-235 Dakota VH-KIF arrived together into Rockhampton Airport from the North before later departing to Hervey Bay (Fraser Coast) Airport.

Pittsworth based Baartz Farming Beech A36 Bonanza VH-EUB called into Roma Airport and then Babbiloora and Millmerran while on a flight out of and back to Toowoomba.

Wednesday, April 28, 2021

Toowoomba Based Piper PA-31-350 Navajo VH-TTX at Flys up to Emerald and Collinsville Airports Again - Plus More!

Noted making what appears to now be a weekly trip up to Emerald and Collinsville Airport on Wednesday 28 April was BK Hire (Toowoomba) Piper PA-31-350 Navajo VH-TTX.

Simon Coates /

It arrived into Emerald Airport from Toowoomba before it then flew up to Collinsville Aerodrome.  VH-TTX later returned to Emerald and then Toowoomba Airports.

Meanwhile, also on Wednesday 28 April, Brisbane-based Pilatus PC-12/47E VH-AAC departed Mount Isa for Avon Downs, Longreach and Surat Airports.  It had flown North from Archerfield to Longreach, Avon Downs and Mount Isa Airport on Monday 26 April.

And New South Wales-based Schofield Flying Club Piper PA-28-181 Cherokee VH-SFR departed Rockhampton Airport for Moree.  It had arrived during the latter part of last week.

Tuesday, April 27, 2021

BPW Aviation / Airspeed Aviation Cessna 441 Conquest II VH-EQU at CQ Airports - Plus More incl Piper Cherokee VH-KTN off the Runway at Rockhampton Airport

On Tuesday 27 April, BPW Aviation / Airspeed Aviation Cessna 441 Conquest II VH-EQU was noted visiting a couple of Central Queensland Airports.

It looked to fly up from Redcliffe and Archerfield to Hervey Bay (Fraser Coast) and then Mackay Airports before finishing at Cairns.

UPDATE!  On Wednesday 28 April, VH-EQU flew down from Cairns to Innisfail, Townsville, Rockhampton (pictured) and Gladstone Airports.

UPDATE!  On Thursday 29 April, VH-EQU flew from Gladstone Airport to Bundaberg, Maryborough, Lismore and Grafton Airports.

Brescon (Toowoomba) Beech B200 King Air VH-XDW flew up from Toowoomba-Wellcamp to Chinchilla, Yellow Bank and Rolleston Airports.  It later returned to Wellcamp via Chinchilla Airport.

Brisbane-based Altitude Aviation Raytheon B200 King Air VH-EEL visited Collinsville Aerodrome from Archerfield .

Seair Pacific / Istlecote Cessna 208 Caravan VH-TQW flew up from Hervey Bay (Fraser Coast) and Maryborough Airports to Wanella Station (near Coppabella) before flying back down to Hervey Bay Airport.

Meanwhile, also on Tuesday 27 April, there were more light General Aviation aircraft and helicopters continuing to come and go from CQ Airports after spending the weekend up in the Whitsundays.  

NSW based Alpha Aviation Piper PA-32R-301 Cherokees VH-KTN and VH-OAZ both arrived into Rockhampton Airport from Proserpine (Whitsunday Coast) Airport.  On touchdown though, VH-KTN had landing gear issues and ran off the main Runway 15/33.  The runway was closed for a little while. There was no major damage to the aircraft and it ended up continuing to the Sunshine Coast later in the day.

VH-OAZ also departed Rocky for the Sunny Coast.

Schofield Flying Club (NSW) Piper PA-28-181 Cherokee VH-SFA departed Rockhampton Airport for Roma Airport.  

J & J Aviation (Victoria) Piper PA-28-181 VH-TXD flew down from Hamilton Island Airport to Hervey Bay (Fraser Coast) Airport. 

Macair Aviation (New South Wales) Robinson R44 VH-VVY flew from Mackay Airport to Rockhampton and then Bundaberg Airports. 

Touchdown Helicopters Robinson R44 VH-YZD arrived from the North then departed to the South.

Finally, also on Tuesday 27 April, the Queensland Police Service (Airwing) (State of Queensland) Raytheon B1900D VH-PSK called into Maryborough and Rockhampton Airports while flying up from Brisbane to Townsville and then Cairns.  It had flown down to Brisbane from Cairns via Townsville earlier in the day.

The visiting Airborne Research Australia Diamond HK-36 TTC-ECO Motor Glider VH-EOS departed Rockhampton Airport on a survey flight to the North. 

And Classic 1953-build Cessna 195A VH-ONV finally departed Rockhampton Airport for Toowoomba.

VH-ONV had arrived at the end of last week after being unable to land up at the Whitsundays (its intended destination) due to weather.

Photos taken by Steve Vit and Trevor Hardsman  ©

Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) Boeing B737-7ES / E-7A Wedgetail A30-001 Spotted Completing Airwork at Rockhampton Airport

Also on Tuesday 27 April, Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) Boeing B737-7ES / E-7A Wedgetail Airborne Early Warning & Control (AEW&C) aircraft A30-001 was photographed as it completed a airwork at Rockhampton Airport.

It looked to earlier fly up from RAAF Base Williamtown to Rocky via a missed approach at RAAF Base Amberley.  After completing the airwork, including at least three missed approaches, A30-001 returned to Williamtown.

A30-001 was heard to be using the radio callsign of "Wedgetail 15".

Sincere thanks to local photographer Steve V for allowing us to share these great photos!

All photos taken by Steve Vit  ©

Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) Boeing C-17A Globemaster III A41-212 "Stallion 43" Spotted Completing Airwork at CQ Airports

On Tuesday 27 April, Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) Boeing C-17A Globemaster III A41-212 was noted completing airwork at Central Queensland Airports.

A41-212 looked to depart RAAF Base Amberley and flew straight up to Mackay Airport where it competed a missed approach. It then headed South and was spotted completing another missed approach but at Rockhampton Airport.

The C-17 then returned to Amberley.

A41-212 was heard to be using the radio callsign of "Stallion 43".

Sincere thanks to local photographer Steve V for allowing us to share these great photos!

All photos taken by Steve Vit  ©

Monday, April 26, 2021

Holypeak Pty Ltd Canadair Challenger 604 Bizjet N360SL Calls into CQ Airports - Plus More!

On Monday 26 April, Holypeak Pty Ltd Canadair CL-600-2B16 Challenger 604 bizjet N360SL was noted visiting some Central Queensland Airports. The smart little Challenger looked to arrive into Rockhampton Airport from Cairns and Townsville. It had arrived into Cairns from its Melbourne (Essendon) base earlier in day - as shown below.

After some time on the ground, N360SL departed Rockhampton Airport for Gladstone and Bundaberg Airports where it appeared to be staying for the night.

UPDATE!  On Tuesday 27 April, N360SL departed Bundaberg Airport for the Gold Coast.

Meanwhile, also on Monday 26 April, Moorabbin Aviation Services (Victoria) Cessna S550 Citation SII bizjet VH-JLU also visited Bundaberg Airport from Melbourne (Essendon).

Colville Aviation Services Pilatus Britten-Norman BN2B-26 VH-ZOU was noted arriving into Emerald Airport from Mareeba and Charters Towers Airports.  It then continued to the South-East corner of the state - possibly Watts Bridge - where it will undergo planned maintenance. 

Brisbane-based Pilatus PC-12/47E VH-AAC landed at Longreach Airport from Archerfield before then departing to Avon Downs and Mount Isa. 

AirServices Australia / Aero Pearl-operated Hawker Beechcraft B300 Super King Air VH-FIZ "Auscal 4" also called into Longreach Airport, arriving from Darwin and departing to Brisbane. 

VH-FIZ had called into Longreach Airport enroute to the Northern Territory earlier in the week - see Blog post below!

And Airborne Research Australia Diamond HK-36 TTC-ECO Motor Glider VH-EOS departed Rockhampton Airport to complete aerial survey work to the West but had trouble with its instruments and returned to the field.

VH-EOS was photographed above after arriving back from its flight.  It had arrived into Rockhampton Airport from the South-West the previous day.

Finally, also on Monday 26 April, a few departures from the Whitsunday Airport at Shute Harbour following the weekend Fly-in that were noted included:

Cirrus SR22 VH-CFP departed to Emerald Airport and then Gold Coast. 

Cessna 172 VH-EGL departed to Rockhampton Airport. 

Both New South Wales-based Piper PA-32R-301 Saratoga VH-GKF and Piper PA-28-181 Cherokee VH-URD arrived into Rockhampton Airport from Hamilton Island Airport.  They later departed to Bundaberg Airport.

Flight One Cirrus SR20 VH-FOL departed Shute to Proserpine (Whitsunday Coast) Airport for Bundaberg and then Archerfield Airports.

While sister-ship and fellow Cirrus SR20 VH-FOH departed from Prosie to Bundy via Biloela / Thangool Airport.

UPDATE!  VH-FOH continued to Archerfield on Tuesday 27 April.

Sincere thanks to local plane spotter Trevor H for taking the time to capture and send through these great photos of a great visitor to Rockhampton Airport!

Photos taken by Jonathan Williams and Trevor Hardsman  ©

A Quick Look Outside and Inside of Paspaley Pearling Grumman G-73AT Turbo Mallard VH-PPT at Proserpine (Whitsunday Coast) Airport

As mentioned below, over the previous weekend, the Seaplane Pilots Association Australia (SPAA) annual conference "Splashdown 2021" was held in the Whitsundays with most aircraft arriving and parking at the Whitsunday Airport Shute Harbour. Perhaps the nicest aircraft to come to Whitsundays for the conference was the Paspaley Pearling Company Grumman G-73AT Turbo Mallard VH-PPT "Pearling 66".

VH-PPT (serial number J-26) has had a fascinating history with the 1947-built aircraft mostly operating as a VIP and luxury transport aircraft before being sold to Air Whitsunday in 1983. It wore the delivery registration of N2419X for the flight to Australia, where it arrived on 9 March 1983. The Mallard entered service as VH-JAW in June 1983 and was later sold to Vowell Air Services in June 1985 before later being owned by Helicopter Resources.

In May 1990, it was exported to the USA as N73AH but returned again as VH-JAW in June 1994, when it was bought by Paspaley Pearling, operating in Darwin and the Kimberley region of Western Australia. It was reregistered VH-PPT in 2001 and is still in service with them.

Paspaley Pearling in fact operates a fleet of three 1947-built Grumman G-73AT Turbo Mallards – VH-PPE, VH-PPI & VH-PPT – from its hangars at Darwin International Airport which provide scenic joyflights over the region, as well as regularly service the company’s Kimberley based pearling operations.

The G-73 Mallard was originally designed in 1944 with 59 aircraft built between 1946 and 1951. The aircraft was a step up from the smaller Grumman G-21 Goose and Grumman G-44 Widgeon aircraft, having a larger passenger capacity, wingtip fuel tanks, a double stepped hull, fully stressed skin and tricycle undercarriage.

The G-73 Mallard was powered by Pratt and Whitney R-1340 radial engines and it soon established itself as a strong, reliable and stable aircraft.

During the 1970’s, the idea of re-engineering the aircraft produced the modified Frakes Aviation G-73T Turbo Mallard, powered by Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6 turbines. In a further model development, the three Grumman Mallards of Paspaley based in Darwin underwent the Pearl Aviation G-73AT Turbo Mallard program at approximately $5 million which saw a renewing of the airframe life and installation of new engine nacelles housing PT6A-34 turbines, plus the associated engine instrumentation.

The new turbines also drive 4 blade Hartzell propellers which improve performance of the aircraft both on water and when airborne. Additional modifications are constantly being implemented by Paspaley such as updated avionics and navigation systems.

Inside the Mallard, I found it reasonably spacious with interior and the dark-blue cloth seating, featuring the Paspaley Pearl logo, well maintained given the operations flying employees to and from the company's Kimberley locations. The normal seating capacity is 13 in a 2-1 and 1-2 arrangement, plus two technical crew.

The flight deck has some obvious changes with most if the original gauges gone and replaced by modern instrumentation including electronic checklists.

iPad/Tablets on each control column yoke are often the standard these days, but it was also great to see the overhead panel was looking quite authentic. This panel houses electrical controls, engine fuel selectors and gauges, plus the underslung throttle/pitch quadrant levers.

One of those quirky features of the Mallard is located behind the co-pilot’s smaller rudder pedals – the access passage to the forward compartment. This is where one of the crew crawls through to open the front deck hatch which will allow them to secure a mooring line after landing on the water.

I did enjoy waiting the short time for the turbine engines on the Mallard to fire up and then watch and listen as VH-PPT "Pearling 66" depart the Proserpine (Whitsunday Coast) Airport on the long journey back to Darwin via Burketown.

Sincere thanks to Dan from Paspaley Pearling for the opportunity to have a quick look and learn a little bit more about this fascinating amphibious aircraft. Do check out more information and great social media content at the following websites: