Wednesday, February 7, 2024

New Helicorp (Australian Army) Leonardo (Agusta) AW139 Helicopter VH-YQC "Finch 22" Ferries North via CQ Airports - Plus More!

An interesting visitor through some Central Queensland Airports on Wednesday 7 February was recently registered (November 2023) Helicorp (Australian Army) Leonardo S.P.A. Helicopters (Agusta) AW139 helicopter VH-YQC which noted ferrying North from the Oakey Army Aviation Centre to Townsville via airwork at Bundaberg Airport and a landing at Rockhampton Airport.

It looked to have originally flown up from Melbourne (Essendon) and Bankstown at the end of January.

VH-YQC was heard to be using the radio callsign of "Finch 22".

VH-YQC is registered to Helicorp (Toll Group) and is the third and final 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.

UPDATE!  On Sunday 25 February, a fourth AW139 helicopter VH-YQJ ferried North into Townsville - see Blog post above!

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-YQC started flying for the Australian Army at Townsville the next day and on Saturday 10 February it was photographed above visiting Proserpine (Whitsunday Coast) airport on a flight from and back to Townsville as "Warhorse 207".

UPDATE!  On Thursday 8 February, fellow Helicorp (Australian Army) Leonardo S.P.A. Helicopters (Agusta) AW139 helicopter VH-YBF as "Finch 22" ferried South to the Oakey Army Aviation Centre from Townsville also via a stop at Rockhampton Airport and airwork at Mackay and Bundaberg Airports - see Blog post above!

Meanwhile, also on Wednesday 7 February, fellow Helicorp (Australian Army) Leonardo S.P.A. Helicopters (Agusta) AW139 helicopter VH-YBG has been noted flying around Charters Towers Aerodrome as "Warhorse 203" at the start of the week and remains in Townsville.

Finally, also on Wednesday 7 February, Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) Alenia C-27J Spartan transport aircraft A34-004 as "Wallaby 34" looked to complete airwork at Kingaroy Aerodrome while on a flight out of and back to RAAF Base Amberley.

Photo taken by Bert Van Drunick  ©️

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