Saturday, April 15, 2023

Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) (Cobham SAR Services Pty Ltd) Bombardier Challenger 604 Bizjets VH-XNC "Rescue 440" & VH-XNE "Rescue 330" at Mackay Airport

On Friday 14 April, a pair of Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) (Cobham SAR Services Pty Ltd) Bombardier CL-600-2B16 Challenger 604 bizjets looked to complete search and rescue operations off Mackay with both eventually calling into Mackay Airport for fuel.

In the wee small hours of Friday morning, VH-XNC as "Rescue 440" flew down from Cairns and operated off Mackay Airport before landing at Mackay Airport.  It then took off and resumed the airwork before returning to Cairns.  Of interest, VH-XNC "Rescue 440" had only flown up to Cairns from Melbourne (Essendon) earlier on Thursday 13 April.

While later on Friday morning, VH-XNE as "Rescue 330" also flew down from Cairns to complete search and rescue operations off Mackay before also landing at Mackay Airport for fuel.

However, VH-XNE "Rescue 330" then flew from Mackay Airport to Melbourne (Essendon) but looked to promptly flying back all the way back to Mackay Airport where it landed in the wee small hours of Saturday 15 April.  It then took off again from Mackay Airport and then returned once again to Essendon.

Of interest, this appears to be the first visit by VH-XNE into the region since it returned from planned maintenance earlier in the year where it had some unique Indigenous artwork applied.

As shown, Torres Strait Islander artist Michael Nona, from Badu Island in the Torres Strait, was selected to produce the artwork following an Expression of Interest process run by the Torres Strait Regional Authority earlier this year.

The inspiring Indigenous design will be wrapped around the front of the Challenger 604 rescue aircraft, operated for AMSA by Cobham Special Mission, which is part of their search and rescue fleet in Australia.

The design concept features a shark, known as Baydham in Kala Lagaw Ya language, representing an important symbol in the Torres Strait region.  Known as the protector of the reef, sharks play a role in maintaining balance in the seas.

All photos taken by Jonathan Williams  ©

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