A couple of lovely helicopter visitors were spotted making multiple stops at Central Queensland Airports on Thursday 14 December while on delivery to their new home at Cairns.
Nautilus Aviation has taken delivery of Australia's first two Bell Helicopters Textron 505 Jetranger X helicopters which have been registered VH-VSB and VH-VTB and we were very lucky to be invited to have a closer look at these factory fresh choppers as they made a brief visit to the Whitsunday Airport at Shute Harbour.
Both helicopters started the day at the Sunshine Coast and were noted visiting Bundaberg, Gladstone, Mackay and Townsville Airports for fuel while on their journey to Nautilus Aviation's Cairns Airport base.
The striking red coloured Bell 505s will reportedly be used by Nautilus Aviation for industry training on the type, commercial charter and tourism operations. Hawker Pacific will also lease one of the Bell 505s from Nautilus Aviation for a demonstration tour of Australia in early 2018.
The Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) issued Bell with its Australian Jetranger X type certification in March this year.
A new operator has sprung up at Gladstone Airport with Marine Helicopters starting operations this week operating transfer flights to and from Heron Island.
A pair of distinctive red Robinson R-66 helicopters - normally Airlie Beach-based VH-VRK and VH-VRN - have been spotted at Gladstone Airport and it is believed that at least one of these choppers will operate flights from near the Gladstone Airport terminal building.
Moreover, Marine Helicopters reportedly has an office setup inside the Gladstone Airport terminal building and plan to start operations later this week with bookings being taken each day.
We wish this new venture all the very best!
Sincere thanks to Col B at Gladstone Airport and Marine Helicopters for allowing us to share these photos!
A couple of interesting corporate aircraft were noted visiting Biloela / Thangool Airport on Wednesday 13 December.
Corporate Aviation Bell 429 helicopter VH-EQP touched down at Bilo from its Southport base on the Gold Coast. It then departed to Middlemount and Nebo Aerodromes before finishing the night parked at Mackay Airport where it was photographed below.
UPDATE! On Thursday 14 December, VH-EQP returned South, departing Mackay Airport again for Biloela / Thangool Airport before continuing onwards to Southport.
Also visiting Biloela / Thangool Airport on Wednesday 13 December was the familiar sight of Mackellar Mining Equipment Cessna 560 Citation Ultra bizjet VH-MMC. It arrived from and later departed back to its Sunshine Coast base.
On Monday 11 December, a trio of Australian Army NH Industries MRH-90 Multi-Role Helicopters - identified as A40-014, A40-040 and A40-043 - were spotted visiting the Whitsunday Airport Shute Harbour. They flew down together from Townsville.
They were noted collecting several Australian Defence Force (ADF) cadets and personnel before they returned to Townsville.
The trio were heard to be using the one radio callsign of "Cowboy".
Meanwhile, over the last couple of days, a single Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) British Aerospace (BAe) Hawk 127 jet training aircraft has again been spotted completing airwork, including a missed approach, at Hamilton Island Airport.
I presume that this is one of the RAAF BAe Hawk jets that have deployed to Townsville Airport to participate in the RAAF's Exercise High Sierra which is currently underway in the Tropical North - see Blog posts below.
Thanks to local aviator Merewyn Wright for sharing these great photos of the MRH-90s at Shute Harbour!