Monday, August 28, 2017

Pilatus PC-12/47E VH-MDH visits Gladstone

MDH Pty Ltd Pilatus PC-12/47E VH-MDH spent part of the day parked at Gladstone Airport on Monday 28 August after flying in from Devoncourt Station near Cloncurry. Several hours later, the immaculately presented 2012 build aircraft made a late afternoon departure to Cloncurry.

MDH Pty Ltd is one of Australia's largest beef cattle operations running about 175 000 head of cattle across eleven stations in Queensland :

Manufactured by Pilatus Aircraft of Switzerland, the Pilatus PC-12 is the worlds best selling pressurized, single-turboprop powered plane with approximately 1500 aircraft built as of June 2017. The main market for the PC-12 is regional airline and corporate operators.

In Australia, operators include Pegasus Air Pty Ltd, Royal Flying Doctor Service (Central and Western Operations), Western Australia Police Service and Northern Territory Police Service among others.  


Monday, August 21, 2017

Inflight photos - Alliance Airlines Fokker 70LR VH-QQX - Gladstone to Brisbane

As a child growing up in Central Queensland (originally from Tasmania, so please don't hold that against me) i enjoyed following aviation topics and taking the occasional joyflight as much as i still do in my adult years, and to fund those flights, often volunteered to complete odd jobs around the community such as mowing lawns & trimming gardens, and even collected cans for recycling.

Fast forward a couple of decades and many greying hairs later, it is pleasing to see my eldest son also has a passion for aviation (amongst other interests such as playing AFL and trail bike riding), and equally enjoys the occasional joyflight.

Approaching his thirteenth birthday, the question was put forward what he wanted as a gift to celebrate the milestone of entering the teenage era ... "a flight to Brisbane".

Coincidentally, Alliance Airlines which had commenced services to Gladstone only a couple of weeks earlier, was advertising one-way tickets to/from Brisbane for only $59pp, and luck have it, we were able to secure flights between the two cities which coincided with the day of his 13th birthday.

First flight of the day, we departed Gladstone for Brisbane aboard Alliance Airlines Fokker 70LR VH-QQX as VA2700 on Wednesday 16 August, and found ourselves landing at Brisbane Airport only 47 minutes after departing the port city.

As a brief description of our first experience flying with Alliance Airlines, the aircraft was very neatly presented and in good condition (well maintained cabin), flight attendants were friendly, polite & efficient, however, being seated at the rear of the aircraft adjacent to the Rolls Royce Tay 620-15 turbofans (at our request) was perhaps slightly noisier than anticipated.

But, in all fairness, this can only be expected with aircraft that have engines mounted on the rear of the fuselage and not under the wing.

As already widely reported, Alliance Airlines commenced RPT operations to Bundaberg, Gladstone and Port Macquarie on Monday 17 July after the routes were vacated by Virgin Australia the previous day, and predominately utilise 80-seat Fokker 70 jets on the services. Depending on operational requirements, the larger 100-seat Fokker 100 is occasionally substituted.

The new flights to Bundaberg, Gladstone and Port Macquarie (and Moranbah in due time) are operated on behalf of Virgin Australia under a codeshare and wet-lease agreement, identical to the current services operated from Brisbane to Cloncurry, Emerald, Mt Isa and Rockhampton.

Despite increasingly venturing into RPT operations in recent years, mainly due to the decline in the mining sector, a healthy proportion of Alliance Airlines revenue continues to be derived from Fly-In / Fly-Out (FIFO) operations and adhoc charter.

If by chance you missed our Youtube videos filmed while departing Gladstone, and again while landing at Brisbane, they can be found and viewed at :