Tuesday, October 17, 2017

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

The RACQ-CQ Rescue Helicopter Service (CQ Rescue) has flown over 7400 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 (https://cqrescue.org.au/) for details.

Monday, October 16, 2017

Volga-Dnepr Antonov AN-124 RA-82047 Comes and Gos at Rockhampton Airport Taking Four RSAF Boeing AH-64D Apache Helicopters Home

Under the cover of darkness on Sunday 15 October, Volga-Dnepr Airlines Antonov AN-124-100 RA-82047 touched down at Rockhampton Airport, arriving from Johor Bahru Senai International Airport (Malaysia) via Darwin as ADB4096/4097.

A few local plane spotters, along with other members of the public, were on hand as the giant Russian aircraft touched down and taxied onto its parking spot on Gate 6 on the Southern end of the Rockhampton Airport apron.

As the tech crew departed for their accommodation, the ground engineers were joined by local ground crew and the Antonov commenced loading with its front landing gear being raised and the aircraft placed into its unique 'kneeling' position to allow the loading of its cargo. 

On this flight, the four Republic of Singapore Air Force (RSAF) Boeing AH-64D Apache helicopters which had been deployed to Rockhampton during the Singapore Armed Force's Exercise Wallaby 2017, along with their rotor blades and other equipment, were all loaded in preparation for their return to Singapore.

Loading was completed in the wee small hours of Monday 16 October and then soon after the sun came up, RA-82047 made a spectacular departure from Rockhampton Airport flying direct to Paya Lebar Air Base in Singapore as VDA4052.

It is interesting to note that the aircraft still wears a sticker on its port-side commemorating 25 years of the Volga Dnepr Group.

The AN-124 is expected to return to Rocky later this week - some reports suggest RA-82047 will touch down once again at Rockhampton Airport on Thursday 19 October - when it will load and transport the remaining two RSAF Boeing CH-47SD helicopters home to Singapore.

Please note that this flight mentioned above are very much subject to change.

Sincere thanks to local plane spotters Kayanne H and 'IAD' for taking the time to capture and send through these great photos of the Antonov's visit to Rocky overnight!

Photos taken by Kayanne Hardsman and 'IAD'  ©

A Closer Look at the Heavy Jet Passenger Charter Flights into Rockhampton Airport

As we posted several times, during September and October, Rockhampton Airport played host to three 'waves' of heavy passenger jet aircraft that flew personnel in and out of Singapore's Changi Airport in support of the Singapore Armed Force's Exercise Wallaby 2017.

We have been fortunate to receive several photos from 'inside the fence' captured by local plane spotter Ben O has he assisted with unloading and loading both a Singapore Airlines Boeing B777-200 and Royal Brunei Airlines Boeing B787-8 Dreamliner over various nights during one of the 'waves'.  Enjoy!

Sincere thanks to Ben for taking the time to capture and send through these awesome photos!

All photos taken by Ben O'Dowd  ©