Tuesday, July 27, 2021

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

On Tuesday 27 July, Australian Army marked Leonardo S.P.A. Helicopters (Agusta) AW139 Helicopter VH-YBG was noted passing through some Central Queensland Airports while heading North to its new home at Townsville.

After flying up from Bankstown to Oakey the previous day, VH-YBG was noted departing the Oakey Army Aviation Centre for (possibly) Childers and then Gladstone Airports.  It then appeared to continue up to Hamilton Island Airport and then Townsville.

VH-YBG is registered to Helicorp (Toll Group) and is the second of three AW139 helicopters that have 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-YBG started flying for the Australian Army at Townsville the next day on Wednesday 28 July with it completing a local flight. It was seen and heard to be using the flight number and radio callsign of 'MGIC237' / "Magic 237".

Of interest, and as reported below, the first AW139 helicopter, VH-YBF, was noted ferrying out of Townsville for Melbourne (Essendon) via Mackay and Gladstone Airports - plus more - about a fortnight ago after it had originally arrived in Townsville at the end of April.

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