Monday, January 16, 2017

AMSA (Aerorescue) Dornier 328-100 VH-PPJ "Rescue 471" Around Rockhampton and Hervey Bay Airport

Some interesting movements over the last few days by Aerorescue (AMSA - Australian Maritime Safety Authority) / Aero Pearl Dornier 328-100 VH-PPJ "Rescue 471" which has been noted flying between Melbourne (Essendon) Airport and Cairns Airports via a couple of visits to Central Queensland.

VH-PPJ on a training flight at Hervey Bay Airport in 2016  (File photo)

VH-PPJ flew up to Cairns via Townsville on Friday 13 January before flying back South via a search for a missing boat off Rockhampton early on Saturday 14 January.  The Dornier didn't land at Rockhampton Airport following the search and instead continued to Brisbane.  VH-PPJ then departed Brisbane for Essendon.

Then on Sunday 15 January, VH-PPJ returned North from Essendon and landed at Hervey Bay (Fraser Coast) Airport.  After being 'scheduled' to complete a local flight around the region, this was changed and instead, VH-PPJ continued North to Cairns.

Finally, on Monday 16 January, VH-PPJ flew into Brisbane from Cairns.

Of interest, as we've mentioned a few times on the Blog of late, Aerorescue (AMSA - Australian Maritime Safety Authority) also utilises Cobham Aviation-operated Bombardier Challenger CL-600-2B16 bizjet VH-XND "Rescue 660" out of Cairns Airport on a full-time basis.

Photo taken by Ben May  ©

Friday, January 13, 2017

First RAAF Visitor to CQ for 2017 with Boeing B737-7ES / E-7A Wedgetail A30-003 Completing a Missed Approach at Rockhampton Airport

It appears that we've had the first military visitor into Central Queensland in 2017 with Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) Boeing B737-7ES / E-7A Wedgetail Airborne Early Warning & Control (AEW&C) aircraft A30-003 noted completing a missed approach onto Runway 33 at Rockhampton Airport on Friday 13 January.

A30-003 on approach to Rocky on a previous visit  (File photo)

It appears that A30-003 flew up from the South and returned down there after its airwork.  A30-003 was noted to be using the radio callsign of "Wedgetail 07".

Photo taken by Kayanne Hardsman  ©

Babcock Mission Critical Services Australasia Bell 412EP VH-VAU Operating for CQ Rescue at Mackay Airport

Over the course of this week, the Babcock Mission Critical Services Australasia (ex Australian Helicopters) Bell 412EP VH-VAU has been noted operating out of Mackay Airport for the Central Queensland Rescue Helicopter Service (CQ Rescue).

VH-VAU at Rockhampton Airport enroute to Mackay  (File photo)

VH-VAU looks to have taken up the 'main' radio callsign of CQ Rescue being "Rescue 412".

As we reported below, VH-VAU arrived into Mackay Airport from Coffs Harbour and other stops on Wednesday 4 January.

It looks to have (temporarily) replaced the familiar CQ Rescue /  Babcock Mission Critical Services Australasia Bell 412EP VH-CQJ "Rescue 412" which departed to Coffs Harbour on Thursday 5 January.

Photo taken by Kayanne Hardsman  ©

Canadair Challenger 604 Bizjet N604AK Arrives at Hamilton Island Airport

On Thursday 12 January, American-registered Canadair CL-600-2B16 Challenger 604 bizjet N604AK arrived at Hamilton Island Airport from Melbourne (Tullamarine) Airport.

N604AK at Tullamarine Airport in 2015  (File photo)

It's exact movements are not fully known but it looks to have flown into Melbourne from Sydney the previous day.

UPDATE!  On Monday 16 January, N604AK departed Hamilton Island Airport returning to Melbourne (Tullamarine) Airport.

Also on Thursday 12 January, Henadeck Cessna 525 Citation CJ1 VH-YNE departed Hamilton Island Airport for Bankstown.  But it was only 'home' for a short time before it departed Bankstown and returned to Hamo!  It is still parked at Hamo.  VH-YNE had originally arrived at Hamilton Island Airport on the previous Thursday 5 January.

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Virgin Australia Embraer E-190 VH-ZPA Departs Australia For Good - That's 7 Gone Now!

On Monday 9 January, Virgin Australia Embraer E-190 VH-ZPA is reported to have departed Australia for good, flying out of Brisbane for Apia (Tonga) as VOZ9901.  It has since continued to Honolulu (Hawaii), Van Nuys (California) and Nashville (Tennessee) for post-lease maintenance.

VH-ZPA is now the seventh Virgin Australia E-190 that has been withdrawn from the fleet (for now) and be transferred to other operators or storage.  VH-ZPD, VH-ZPG, VH-ZPF, VH-ZPE, VH-ZPJ and VH-ZPB have already left Australia.

VH-ZPA was the very first of eleven new E-190 aircraft that were originally ordered by Virgin Blue in November 2006.  It arrived into Brisbane at the conclusion of delivery flight from Sao Jose dos Campos in March 2008 and entered service the next month.  It took up the name 'Candid Canberra'.

After re-painting into the new Virgin Australia livery, it then wore the name ‘Apollo Beach’.

It's sad to see the E-190s disappearing - and as we have been reporting - Virgin Australia will eventually withdraw all remaining Embraer E-190 jets, as well as between four and six ATR 72 turboprops, on a cost-cutting program across all parts of the airline which will also include an unspecified number of job losses.

It was interesting to note that VH-ZPA's final visit to CQ was an overnight stay when it operated into Mackay Airport late on Sunday 1 January from Brisbane as VOZ621 before returning to the capital on Monday 2 January as VOZ604.

File photos taken by Anthony Schulz and Brendan Berry  ©

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Investigation Launched into Crash of Cessna 172 VH-WTQ on Middle Island off Agnes Water

As is being widely reported, on Tuesday 10 January, locally operated Cessna 172 VH-WTQ was involved in a fatal accident on a remote beach on Middle Island near Agnes Water.  The aircraft is operated by Wyndham Aviation and was operating a tourist flight for local company 1770 Castaway Fly-in Adventures.  There were four people on board including the well-known local pilot.

Picture:  Bundaberg RACQ LifeFlight

Picture:  Bundaberg RACQ LifeFlight

Picture:  Bundaberg RACQ LifeFlight

The Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) has launched an investigation into the accident in which the aircraft collided with terrain and came to rest inverted, resulting in substantial damage. One person was fatally injured and three others sustained serious injuries.

Cessna 172 VH-JER also of 1770 Castaway Fly-in Adventures was flying behind the downed aircraft also on a tourist flight.  Those on board saw the first aircraft go down and soon after, VH-JER landed not too far from the crash site and those on board rushed to the crash site to try and help the victims, with some performing CPR until authorities arrived.

Simon Coates /

Simon Coates /

Sadly, a young female tourist, died at the scene.

The RACQ Lifeflight / Sunshine Coast Helicopter Rescue Service (SCHRS) BK117 B-2 VH-EHQ "Rescue 522" and Capricorn Helicopter Rescue Service (CHRS) (Babcock Mission Critical Services Australasia) Bell 412EP VH-EPR "Rescue 300" transported the injured to Bundaberg and Rockhampton Hospitals respectively.

Picture:  Bundaberg RACQ LifeFlight

The Queensland Police Service (Airwing) Cessna 208 Caravan VH-PSQ was also involved.  It was flying from Brisbane to Rockhampton to complete airwork but diverted to the crash zone and provided aerial support in the early stages of the emergency.

Both Cessna 172s are operated by local tourist company 1770 Castaway Fly-in Adventures, which specialises in fly-in camping trips to the Middle Island.

Our thoughts and prayers are with the victims and their families that have been affected by today's accident and we wish those injured a speedy recovery.

Light Jets Australia Cessna 525 Citation CJ1 Bizjet VH-TFW Departs Bowen for Rockhampton Airport

On Tuesday 10 January, Light Jets Australia Cessna 525 Citation CJ1 bizjet VH-TFW arrived at Rockhampton Airport, flying South from Bowen Airport. It had arrived there from Archerfield on Saturday 7 January - see Blog post below.

VH-TFW at Bowen Airport on Saturday  (File photo)

VH-TFW later departed Rocky returning to Archerfield.

Meanwhile, also on Tuesday 10 January, locally-based Embraer EMB-550 Legacy 500 bizjet N142GZ returned home to Mackay Airport from Brisbane. It had earlier flown from the Gold Coast to Canberra before flying into Brisbane.

As mentioned below, N142GZ operated a return flight to Canberra last Friday 6 January before heading to the Gold Coast on Saturday.

Photo taken by James Kirk  ©

Monday, January 9, 2017

Aerorescue (AMSA) (Cobham Aviation) Challenger Bizjet VH-XND "Rescue 660" at Mackay Airport

The search for a man off the coast of Mackay on Monday 9 January has seen Aerorescue (AMSA - Australian Maritime Safety Authority) Bombardier Challenger CL-600-2B16 bizjet VH-XND "Rescue 660" fly South from its Cairns base to coordinate the operation.

The man is missing near Middle Percy Island, 70 kilometres southeast of Mackay.

Early on Sunday, the Central Queensland (CQ Rescue) Helicopter Service / Babcock Mission Critical Services Australasia Bell 412 helicopter VH-LSY "Rescue 422" completed a two-hour mission from Mackay Airport but failed to locate the missing man.

Later on Sunday 9 January, VH-XND was noted landing at Mackay Airport for fuel and a crew change.

West Wing Aviation Beech B200 King Air VH-XDW was noted arriving into Mackay Airport from Cairns on Sunday 9 January, presumably ferrying the replacement crew for "Rescue 660".

At the time of writing, both VH-XND and VH-XDW are returning to Cairns.

File photo taken by Kayanne Hardsman  ©

Mitchell Water Cessna 525 Citation M2 Bizjet VH-WMY Calls into Various CQ Airports

On Monday 9 January, Mitchell Water Cessna 525 Citation M2 bizjet VH-WMY was noted visiting a few Central Queensland Airports during a busy day of flying.

VH-WMY at Mackay Airport last year  (File photo)

It initially flew onto Hamilton Island Airport from Melbourne (Moorabbin) before continuing soon after to Mackay Airport.  VH-WMY then departed to Emerald Airport where it parked for a couple of hours before returning South to Roma and Brisbane.  At the time of writing, VH-WMY was noted returning to Moorabbin.

Meanwhile, also on Monday 9 January, McDermott Aviation Group / Machjet International Beech B200 King Air VH-WJK was also noted visiting Hamilton Island Airport twice during a busy day of flying.

Photo taken by 'AC'  ©

Sunday, January 8, 2017

Improved Weather in the Whitsundays sees Flights Resume and Attempts to Clear the Backlog of Passengers

After a couple of days of flight cancellations and disruptions, both Virgin Australia and Jetstar Airways have attempted to clear some of the passenger backlog on Sunday 8 January by operating additional flights into both Proserpine / Whitsunday Coast and Hamilton Island Airports.

File photo

After diverting the inbound flight and thus cancelling the outbound flight the previous day to and form Hamilton Island Airport, Virgin Australia operated an extra flight from and back to Sydney operated by Boeing B737-800 VH-YVA as VOZ9535/9534.

At Proserpine Airport - where there has been two days of no commercial flight operations - Sunday saw numerous flights from and back to Brisbane with two Jetstar Airways Airbus A320 flights - VH-VFH as JST830/833 and VH-VFN as JST836/837 - and three Virgin Australia flights - Embraer E-190 VH-ZPQ as VOZ1115/1116, Boeing B737-800 VH-YFS as VOZ1117/1118 and an extra Boeing B737-800 VH-VUV as VOZ9531/9530.

There doesn't appear to be anything more in the system at the time of writing.  I have also heard that many passengers elected to fly into Mackay Airport and be bussed to the Whitsundays.