Saturday, October 22, 2016

General Aviation Maintenance (GAM) Dornier DO 228-202 VH-VJN Spotted at Emerald Airport for Toll Freight

Over the last couple of weeks we've reported that General Aviation Maintenance (GAM) Dornier DO 228-202 VH-VJE has been substituted on some Toll Freight Aviation 'TFX110/111' cargo runs from Brisbane to Biloela / Thangool and Emerald Airports and back to Brisbane via Rockhampton Airport instead of the Toll Metro which usually operates this flight.

Then on Friday 21 October, fellow GAM Dornier DO 228-202 VH-VJN was spotted (above) being loaded at Emerald Airport prior to departing to Rockhampton Airport also operating for Toll Freight.

Reports suggest that GAM has secured a contract which will see them operate this freight run from Brisbane to Emerald Airport and back for Toll for the foreseeable future.  GAM has three Dornier DO 228-202 aircraft with two currently based at Brisbane - VH-VJE and VH-VJN - with VH-VJD currently at GAM's Melbourne (Essendon) Airport home base.

File photo

Of interest, a GAM AeroCommander 500-S is also currently based at Emerald Airport and operates week-daily flights from Emerald to Barcaldine and Longreach Airports and back.

All photos taken by 'AC'  ©

Friday, October 21, 2016

Exercise Wallaby 2016 - Third Wave of Heavy Jet Charters into Rockhampton Airport - Air New Zealand B787-9 Dreamliners ZK-NZF & ZK-NZJ Touch Down

Late on Friday 21 October, the third of four 'waves' of heavy jet passenger charter flights in support of the Singapore Armed Force's Exercise Wallaby 2016 kicked off with a pair of Air New Zealand Boeing B787-9 Dreamliners calling into Rockhampton Airport direct from Singapore's Changi Airport.

The first of the two Dreamliners to call in was ZK-NZF.  It touched down as ANZ1927 from Singapore and was photographed by local plane spotter Kayanne H as it pulled onto Gate 6 on the Southern end of the Rockhampton Airport apron. It had earlier positioned into Singapore from Auckland as ANZ6000.

After unloading and then loading a full load of passengers and cargo, ZK-NZF departed back to Singapore as ANZ1928.

At the time of writing, fellow Dreamliner ZK-NZJ is winging its way to Rockhampton Airport as ANZ1933.  It too had earlier positioned into Singapore from Auckland as ANZ6002.

ZK-NZJ famously visited Rocky during the previous second 'wave' of Air New Zealand charter flights and sustained minor damage due to bat strike.

It too will return to Singapore with a full load of passengers and cargo.

Both ZK-NZF and ZK-NZJ will return to Rockhampton Airport late on Saturday 22 October, with one of the two returning yet again on Sunday 23 October.

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

All photos taken by Kayanne Hardsman  ©

A Pair of Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) Pilatus PC-9/A Trainers Pass Through Rockhampton Airport

On Friday 21 October, a pair Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) Pilatus PC-9/A trainer aircraft were spotted passing through Rockhampton Airport.

They were identified as A32-032 and A32-031 and flew into Rocky from Townsville where they participated in the T150 Defence Force Air Display and Open Day last weekend.

Both PC-9s are flown by the RAAFs 4 Squadron based at Williamtown in New South Wales and flew into Rockhampton Airport using the radio callsign of "Mayhem".

After taking on fuel, they departed together to Williamtown but were noted be using the radio callsign of "Reaper".

Sincere thanks to local plane spotter 'IAD' who ventured to Rockhampton Airport and captured these great photos!

All photos taken by IAD'  ©

Thursday, October 20, 2016

First Embraer ERJ-140LR Regional Jet N297SK (to be VH-ZJG) Touches Down in Australia

The first Embraer ERJ-140LR regional jet bound for JetGo Australia has arrived in Australia on completion of a week-long delivery flight from the United States of America (USA) via Alaska, Russia, Japan and Palau.  The ERJ-140LR still wears its American registration marking of N297SK which it operated for Republic Airways Holdings, which provides regional services to the major network carriers in the USA.  It has been repainted into JetGo Australia livery and will ultimately wear Australian registration VH-ZJG when it enters service.

N297SK lands at Townsville on Wednesday

N297SK was spotted arriving into Townsville Airport late on Wednesday 19 October from Palau where it spent the night.  On Thursday 20 October, the ERJ-140LR ferried South to Brisbane.  During the delivery flight it was noted using the flight number and callsign of JG99 ("JetGo 99").

N297SK at Brisbane

VH-ZJG / N297SK (cn 145522) is the first of two 44-seat ERJ-140LRs due for delivery to JetGo with the other identified as N295SK (cn 145513) which will wear the Australian registration marking of VH-ZJE.  It is expected to arrive in Australia in late-November.

N297SK at Chicago in 2012  (David Osborn /

Presently, JetGo flys three 37-seat Embraer ERJ-135LRs - VH-JTG, VH-JGB and VH-JZG - on its regular public transport (RPT) and Fly-in Fly-out (FIFO) networks across three states along Australia’s east coast.

The oldest aircraft in the fleet VH-JTG (file photos shown above) is expected to be off-lease in the coming weeks.

Photos taken by 'Shinpow16', Lloyd Fox, Micah S and Dave  ©

Virgin Australia Boeing B737-800 VH-YIZ Calls into Gladstone Airport

During the late afternoon on Wednesday 19 October, Virgin Australia Boeing B737-800 VH-YIZ was noted calling into Gladstone Airport.  It operated the scheduled VOZ1717/1720 scheduled service from and back to Brisbane.

File photo

The larger Boeing jets are becoming a more common sight at Gladstone Airport of late with fellow B737-800 VH-YFS also operating through the port city earlier in the week.

Also on Wednesday 19 October, Virgin Australia Embraer E-190 VH-ZPT also flew into Gladstone Airport, touching down in the morning on the VOZ1707/1710 scheduled service also from and back to Brisbane.

It appears that the larger jet aircraft are operating into Gladstone Airport as the airline continues to cancel services into the port city - in fact on Wednesday 19 October - the late morning VOZ1711/1714 service was cancelled for some unknown reason.

Photos taken by 'AC' and 'Mick'  ©

Monday, October 17, 2016

RAAF Search and Rescue (CHC Helicopters) Sikorsky S-76A VH-HRP "Choppa 3" at Mackay and Gladstone Airports

On Monday 17 October, Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) Search and Rescue (CHC Helicopters) Sikorsky S-76A VH-HRP "Choppa 3" was noted departing Gladstone Airport for the South - possibly to RAAF Base Amberley.  It is believed that it has earlier arrived from Townsville and Mackay.

File photo

VH-HRP participated in the T150 Defence Force Air Show and Open Day at Townsville over the weekend.

Of interest, fellow RAAF Sikorsky S-76A VH-LHZ "Choppa 4" flew into Maryborough Airport last Wednesday 12 October in a SAR support role for the RAAF Roulettes as they completed a spectacular air display over the Airport followed by a very well-received meet and greet at the Maryborough Aero Club.

File photo

Contrary to initial reports, VH-LHZ looked to return to Amberley on Thursday 13 October - not continuing north with the Roulettes to Townsville.

Photos taken by Col and David Geck  ©

Brisbane-based Cessna 525A CitationJet2 VH-MOR Spotted at Gladstone Airport

On Monday 17 October Brisbane-based Cessna 525A CitationJet2 VH-MOR was spotted on the ground at Gladstone Airport.  It had earlier arrived from Archerfield.

After a few hours on the ground, the Citation bizjet returned to Archerfield.

Meanwhile, also on Monday 17 October, sleek Embraer EMB-550 Legacy 500 bizjet N142GZ popped into Rockhampton Airport from its Mackay Airport base.

At the time of writing it appears to be staying for at least the night.

Of interest, N142GZ also visited Rockhampton Airport last week arriving From Brisbane on Wednesday 12 October and departing to Mackay Airport on Friday 14 October.

Photos taken by 'Mick' and 'IAD'  ©

General Aviation Maintenance (GAM) Dornier DO 228-202 VH-VJE Back at Emerald Airport on Toll Freight Run

On Monday 18 October, General Aviation Maintenance (GAM) Dornier DO 228-202 VH-VJE was again noted operating the Toll Express Freight run from Brisbane to Emerald (via Biloela / Thangool) and back (via Rockhampton) Airport.

VH-VJE alongside VH-UJX at Emerald Airport last week  (File photo)

It flew into Emerald early on Monday as TFX110 and departed much later in the day as TFX111 to Brisbane.

This is the second Monday in a row that the Dornier has been substituted for the 'usual' Toll Freight Metro.

Photo taken by 'AC'  ©

Virgin Australia Boeing B737-800 VH-YFS Spends the Night at Gladstone Airport Sunday Night

Touching down at Gladstone Airport late on Sunday 16 October was Virgin Australia Boeing B737-800 VH-YFS.  It operated the scheduled VOZ1719 service from Brisbane.

VH-YFS during a previous evening visit to Gladstone Airport  (File photo)

VH-YFS stayed overnight on the ground at Gladstone Airport and departed back to Brisbane early on Monday 17 October operating the scheduled VOZ1708 service.

Of interest, the departure of VH-YFS was delayed by an hour.  With the early morning Virgin Australia Embraer E-190 jet service VOZ1707/1710 operated by VH-ZPH also touching down at Gladstone Airport on Monday 17 October, locals were afforded the rare sight of two Virgin jet aircraft on the ground at once!

Photo taken by Col  ©

RACQ Central Queensland (CQ) Rescue Helicopter Rescue Service Remembers Crash Victims

The RACQ-CQ Rescue Helicopter Service (CQ Rescue) has flown over 6500 missions in the Mackay, Isaac, and Whitsunday regions since it was established in 1996. The service is credited with having saved countless lives, and improved the outcomes for many of its patients. Some of the tasks the service attends can be intense, with the crews dealing with the trauma of road accidents and search and rescues.

However, tragedy unfortunately struck the service in 2003 when on Friday 17 October, the CQ Rescue chopper, which was on a routine medical retrieval to Hamilton Island, failed to arrive at its destination.

The wreckage of the Bell 407 chopper VH-HTD (pictured below in 2002) was discovered six metres under water, about 15 kilometres north of Mackay.

The crew, all aged 31, were very experienced at their jobs, but sadly all perished in the tragedy. A memorial stone (pictured below) was unveiled at Mackay Airport, near the RACQ-CQ Rescue building and hangar on the Western side of the Airport.

The RACQ-CQ Rescue Helicopter service is a valuable service that serves a vast area of Central Queensland. Donations are welcomed all year round. Visit the CQ Rescue website ( for details.