Saturday 31 December 2022

Spotting at Sunshine Coast Airport

Heading up the coast for New Year's Eve, we decided to leave home earlier and call into the Sunshine Coast airport, 1 to look at Bonza and 2 just because I haven't spotted there for that long I can't remember the last time.
The Sunshine Coast Airport (formerly known as Maroochydore Airport) (IATA: MCY, ICAO: YBSU) is located at a place called Marcoola on the Sunshine Coast and is approximately 110 km (68 miles) north of the Brisbane CBD. It is 140 km (1 hr. 35 min) from my home. But with the holiday traffic the trip took 2 hours.

It is the main airport for the Sunshine Coast and is the only airport in the region capable of servicing jet aircraft operations. There are direct flights to Adelaide, Melbourne and Sydney. Air New Zealand did serve the city with three weekly return flights from Maroochydore to Auckland but have ceased that route for now, searches show it due to recommence early 2023.

Sunshine Coast Airport is 10 km (6.2 miles) north of Maroochydore, and was developed, owned, and operated by the Sunshine Coast Regional Council. The airport used to have two runways. The longer main runway, 18/36, handled the jets (737, A320) and the shorter runway 12/30 handled general aviation. 12/30 has since been replaced with 13/31, a larger 2,450 m (8,040 ft) runway. As of the 10th of January 2021, 13/31, became the only active runway at Sunshine Coast Airport as runway 18/36 has been decommissioned and has since been turned into taxiway Foxtrot.

 ECLIPSE EA 550 N771MT (MSN 550-0273)





CESSNA 510 VH-SEQ (MSN 510-0143)




HAWKER 850 XP VH-BMW (MSN 258895)

Friday 30 December 2022

Australia's newest airline: Bonza

Bonza Aviation Pty Ltd, trading as Bonza airlines, is an upcoming Australian low-cost airline founded by former Virgin Blue executive Tim Jordan, along with Lydia Valenzuela and Peter McNally. 
The airline is funded and backed by 777 Partners, a private investment firm based in Miami, USA. 
The airline was planning to commence operations in Australia in 2022 and will predominantly serve new domestic and regional routes within Australia, but the airline still doesn't have its operating certificate.
Australia’s Bonza has been making waves this year amid the ongoing deliveries of Boeing 737 MAX aircraft. The low-cost carrier seeks to operate routes that are currently not served or underserved by other airlines. The preliminary route map displays 27 services across 17 destinations. The network primarily involves locations across Australia's East Coast.

Bonza will initiate services with up to five Boeing 737 MAX 8 aircraft in an all-economy configuration, with deliveries that commenced in the second half of 2022. This will make Bonza the first Australian airline to operate the Boeing 737 MAX aircraft, before Virgin Australia takes delivery of its Boeing 737 MAX 10 in mid 2023.
Bonza's home is based at the Sunshine Coast Airport (formerly known as Maroochydore Airport) (IATA: MCY, ICAO: YBSU) is located at Marcoola on the Sunshine Coast.
As I am holidaying on the sunshine coast with my family, we called into to have a look at this airline for the first time.

Bonza have three aircraft to date.
VH-UJT (MSN 62533) arrived on the 1st of August 2022 and called it 'Shazza' - aircraft first flew 12/09/2019

VH-UIK (MSN 43975) arrived on the 29th of October 2022 and called it 'Bazza' - aircraft first flew 25/04/2019

VH-UJK (MSN 43974) arrived on the 12th of December 2022 and called it 'Sheila' - aircraft first flew 16/05/2019

The aircraft are all leased from Bonza's majority shareholder, 777 Partners, who placed an order for 24 Boeing 737 MAX aircraft in March 2021 – some of these aircraft will be allocated to Canadian-based Flair Airlines, in which 777 Partners holds a stake.

Wednesday 28 December 2022

Jetstar flight turned back due to size of aircraft


Yesterday, (Tues 27th of Dec) a Jetstar flight travelling from Melbourne (MEL/YMML) to Denpasar (DPS/WADD) was forced to turn back 4 hours into its flight because the of the aircraft size.
Jetstar originally scheduled an Airbus A320-232 aircraft for the gate in Denpasar (Bali) but forgot to tell authorities there when demand necessitated a switch to a much bigger aircraft, a Boeing 787-8.
After learning of the news of the bigger aircraft Indonesian authorities revoked permission to land ruining holiday plans for everyone on board.

As it was the flight was already delayed 5 hours departing Melbourne and after 3 hours 50 minutes in flight, the Boeing 787 diverted back to the departure airport landing 13 hours after the scheduled takeoff.

The flight was due to depart at 6.15pm (Melbourne time) but didn't get away until 11.14pm, at 3.00am the flight turned around and headed back to Melbourne, landing there just short of seven hours later at 6.47am.

Bali is a paradise for Australians on vacation, in much the same way as parts of the Caribbean are for Americans and Canadians.

Jetstar has offered a flight credit for another date or a refund on the flight fare.

Tuesday 27 December 2022

73-year-old pays $370/month to live in a plane

In the early ’70s, Bruce Campbell paid $25,800 for 10 acres of land in Hillsboro, a suburb of Portland, Oregon. The electrical engineer, who’s now 73, tells CNBC 'Make It the Dream' began when he saw an airplane boneyard on TV when he was 15 years old. He decided then he wanted to live in one.

In 1999, Campbell decided he would follow through but had no idea how to go about it, so he hired a salvage company to find him a plane.

“That was a Whopper class mistake, he said. I’ll never do that again. Salvage companies are wreckers,”
 “I highly recommend just buying a jetliner completely intact and completely functional, except maybe the removal of the engines.”

After months of searching, the company found Campbell, a Boeing 727 200-passenger jetliner that was 1,066 square feet and weighed around 70,000 pounds. It was found in Greece and is a part of American history ... sort of.

The plane was used to transport the remains of the airline’s owner, Aristotle Onassis, in 1975. The late Greek-Argentinian shipping magnate was married to former First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis at the time of his death.

Campbell paid $100,000 for it, and the plane was flown from Greece to Oregon to prepare it for him to take ownership. Once the aircraft was ready, it was towed to Campbell’s land through the streets of downtown Hillsboro. That process included removing the engines and other elements that make it so the plane can never fly again, cost a total of $120,000 US. 

“When you live in a structure like this, you feel a little more fulfilled with your life,” he said. “And if you’re an engineer, scientist, or anyone who appreciates the elegance and beauty of aerospace technology, it’s just a happier place to live.”

Campbell added a makeshift shower, a temporary sink, a portable washing machine, a refrigerator, and a food service cart from another plane that serves as his pantry. In place of a stove, Campbell has a microwave and a toaster oven, which he barely uses. “I’m a nerd. I don’t cook, so it’s a minimal kitchen area,” he said.

Next to the kitchen area, Campbell has his futon sofa, which doubles as his sleeping area, and his workbench. His monthly expenses are $370 a month, which includes $220 a month in property taxes and between $100 to $250 a month in electricity.

Now, Campbell spends his time restoring old computer systems, fixing different electrical systems on the plane, and letting people come over and tour his aircraft.

“I have no regrets about pursuing this vision. In my experience with my guests, I believe that humanity will embrace this vision wholeheartedly in enough proportion that we can utilize every jetliner which retires from service,” he says.

Because he mostly splits his time between the U.S. and Japan, his hope is to one day have a plane home there, too. “It’s intended to put a home which I love in a land I love and with people I love,” he says. “If I can simply regain my youth, everything will be fine.”

Aircraft Information:
Aircraft: Boeing 727-284
Registration: N727SH
Serial Number: 20005
Line Number: 687
First Flew: 29/01/1969
Age: 53 Yrs. 11 Mts

Aircraft's History
Olympic Airways on the 7th of Feb 1969 as SX-CBC 
Aero Controls Inc. on the 26th of Oct 1998 as N727SH 

Monday 26 December 2022

Two killed in plane crash south of Sydney


Two people have died in another light plane crash which sparked a grass fire south of Sydney.
Emergency services responded to the fire at Appin about 3pm today where two bodies were found in the aircraft wreckage.
"Following an extensive search of the area crews located a light plane with two deceased persons," police said in a statement.
A crime scene has been established with police to work with the Australian Transport Safety Bureau to determine the circumstances of the incident.
Earlier police confirmed an aircraft was missing after taking off from the small private Wedderburn Airport.
Appin is situated about 75 kilometres southwest of Sydney and 35 kilometres northwest of Wollongong
The two victims are yet to be formally identified.

This is devastating news, and our thoughts go out to their family and friends

Sunday 25 December 2022

Light plane crashes in remote NT

A plane that went missing in the Northern Territory on Saturday has crashed in remote bushland, killing a man and woman.

Police and investigators are working to access the crash scene after a single-engined light aircraft missing in Arnhem Land was located in dense bushland near Bulman.

Federal investigators said the Cessna 210N aircraft collided with terrain and left a debris field scattered over a large distance.

The plane with a 22-year-old male pilot and 43-year-old woman passenger on board was expected to land in Tindal, south-east of Katherine.

NT Police said no further information would be available tomorrow (Monday) due to the remote crash location and the investigation being in its infancy.

The plane left Gove Airport in East Arnhem about 8.30am on Saturday bound for Katherine, 530 kilometres to the south-west.

A search by police, together with the Australian Maritime Safety Authority Response Centre, spotted the crashed plane on Sunday afternoon.

The authority said the wreckage with two dead was located about 250 kilometres north-east of Katherine using dedicated search and rescue aircraft from Cairns and Essendon and additional NT-based planes and helicopters.

The Australian Transport Safety Bureau also joined the crash investigation on Monday.

“A team of transport safety investigators from the ATSB’s Brisbane and Canberra offices are preparing to deploy to the accident site where they will commence the on-site phase of the investigation,” Chief Commissioner Angus Mitchell said.

“Given the remote location, the ATSB is liaising with Northern Territory Police to determine the best way for investigators to access the accident site over the coming days.”

The initial ATSB safety investigation will include an examination of the wreckage, assessment of aircraft and pilot records, weather forecasts and observation, and any available recorded data.

It will produce a preliminary report within the next six to eight weeks.

This is devastating news for all involved, and our thoughts go out to their family and friends during these difficult times.


This has been another trying and difficult year and it has touched everyone in different ways. People continue to lose their jobs, lose their homes due to high interest rates or rent hikes, and some have lost their lives or loved ones. We ourselves lost a family member two weeks ago, so this Christmas will be a different one for us. 
if you are in an area where it snows, we hope you stay safe and warm.
Whatever you are doing today, I want to take this opportunity to wish you all a Merry Christmas. Christmas is not just about spending time with family and friends, it's about creating precious memories that will last a lifetime. I hope today brings joy to your heart and happiness to your home. May your day be filled with love, laughter and good health - not just for Christmas day but every day.

U S airlines cancel 5,700 flights amid fierce winter storms

Airline cancellations topped 5,700 U.S. flights on Friday as massive winter storms snarled airport operations around the United States and frustrated tens of thousands of holiday travelers.

That followed nearly 2,700 canceled flights Thursday, while just over 1,000 flights have already been canceled for Saturday, according to flight-tracking website FlightAware.

Passenger railroad Amtrak has canceled dozens of trains through Christmas, disrupting holiday travel for thousands.

Highways in the Midwest faced lengthy delays because of snowy weather or crashes and authorities in parts of Indiana, Michigan, New York and Ohio urged motorists to avoid nonessential travel.

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) imposed ground stops or delays for de-icing at a number of U.S. airports because of winter weather.

Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg told CNN the U.S. aviation system "is operating under enormous strain" with two different storms and high winds affecting airports around the country. About 10% of U.S. flights were canceled Thursday, Buttigieg said.

Another 10,400 U.S. flights were delayed on Friday -- including more than 40% of those operated by American Airlines, United Airlines, Delta Air Lines and Southwest Airlines -- after 11,300 flights were delayed Thursday.

Southwest canceled 1,238 flights on Friday, 29% of all its scheduled flights, while Alaska Airlines canceled 507, or 64%, of its flights.

Seattle-Tacoma International Airport had 357 flights, or 63% of departures, canceled Friday. The FAA lifted a ground stop there due to snow and ice, but late Friday delays were still averaging nearly three hours.

Nearly half of departing flights at Detroit Metro were canceled, along with 70% at Portland, 38% at New York's LaGuardia, 29% at Chicago O'Hare and 27% at Boston.

Chicago was facing dangerously cold temperatures with wind chills hitting minus 31 degrees Celsius.

Full story sourced from here

Saturday 24 December 2022

Virgin 777's performs test flights out of Wellcamp Airport

I was informed from an aviation friend that the two Virgin Australia Boeing 777-300ER sitting out at Wellcamp Airport were doing test flights on Friday before heading off to their new homes next week.  
So being on holidays, I decided to make the 148 km, (one hour forty-five minute), trip out to see these amazing aircraft. The two aircraft registrations are VH-VPD and VH-VPH.

VPD was due out at 8.30am but didn't depart until 9.46.
It taxied out and departed from runway 30, from there it headed southwest and climbed to flight level 20,000 feet. 26 minutes later VPD returned, landing on runway 30 at 10.15
Boeing 777-3ZG
Serial Number 37938
First flew 19th January 2009
Engines 2 x GE GE90-115B
Off to Victorville to be scrapped.

VPH was due to leave at but didn't get away until 1.14pm. 
It taxied out and departed from runway 30, from there it to headed southwest and climbed to flight level 20,000 feet. 32 minutes later, after performing a small holding pattern, VPD returned, landing on runway 30 at 1.46pm
Boeing 777-3ZG
Serial Number 37943
First flew 8th November 2010
Engines 2 x GE GE90-115B
Off to Qatar to converted to a freighter

Wellcamp Airport; officially known as Brisbane West Wellcamp Airport (IATA: WTB, ICAO: YBWW) is 15.6 km (9.7 miles) west of the city of Toowoomba. The airport and business park are a privately owned airport and is the brainchild of the Wagner family, a local prominent business family in the Toowoomba region. 
The airport has a single asphalt runway, 12/30, and it is 2,870 metres long and 45 metres wide, it is capable of handling aircraft up B747-8 models.

Wellcamp airport does not have a control tower, so pilots are required to communicate via a Common Traffic Advisory Frequency (CTAF) to safely co-ordinate arrivals and departures on 127.65.

Remembering Air France 8969

As we get ready to spend time with loved ones over this holiday season, spare a thought for the passengers that were on this aircraft. This would be a Christmas they will never forget.

On the 24th December 1994 four armed men boarded Air France Flight 8969 which was due to depart Algiers-Houari Boumediene Airport (ALG/DAAG) for Paris-Orly Airport (ORY/LFPO) at 11:15 am. The men were dressed as Algerian presidential police; they wore blue uniforms with Air AlgĂ©rie logos. Their presence originally did not cause any alarm. Two of the men began inspecting the passengers' passports while one went into the cockpit and the fourth stood guard. Claude Burgniard, a flight attendant, recalled noticing that the "police" were armed and one of them had dynamite showing, which she considered to be unusual as the Algerian police were not normally armed when carrying out checks. The Algerian military felt suspicious on noticing that the Air France flight appeared to have an unauthorised delay, so they began surrounding the aircraft. Zahida Kakachi, a passenger, recalled seeing members of the Special Intervention Group (GIS), known as "ninjas", outside the aircraft. Kakachi recalled hearing one of the "police" say "taghut," an Arabic word for "infidel", upon seeing the GIS men gathering outside the A300; she then realised that the four men on board the plane were terrorists. The four hijackers then revealed that they were not police, but mujahideen seeking to establish an Islamic state in Algeria. They had hijacked the aircraft because the national airline Air France was a symbol of France, which they viewed as infidel foreign invaders. 24 hours in, the hijackers released some of the passengers, mainly women with young children and those with severe medical conditions. Over 170 people still remained on board the plane. The hijackers offered to release the remaining Algerian passengers, but the Algerians refused to leave the aircraft. Delhemme recalled that one passenger who was refusing to leave said that he thought the crew would be killed if he did, and Delhemme believes that the passengers' motives were sincere. By the end of the 25th December, the hijackers had freed a total of 63 passengers. The terrorists murdered three passengers and their intention was to blow up the plane over the Eiffel Tower in Paris. The terrorists demanded the plane be flown to Marseille. When the aircraft reached Marseille, the National Gendarmerie Intervention Group (GIGN), a counter-terror unit of the French National Gendarmerie, stormed the plane and killed all four hijackers. The remaining passengers and crew survived the 20-minute gun battle. Of the remaining passengers, 13 received minor injuries. 9 of the 30 GIGN operatives received injuries; of them, 1 received serious wounds. 3 crew members received injuries. 138 of the 220 passengers were Algerian citizens. A significant number of the passengers were French people leaving Algeria. Captain Bernard Delhemme said that the hijackers, who had extensively planned the operation, did not anticipate that most of the passengers would be Algerians.  The whole incident from start to finish lasted 54 hours.

Aircraft Information
Airline: Air France
Code: AF/AFR
Aircraft: Airbus A300B2-1C 
Registration F-GBEC
Serial Number: 104
First Flew: 28/02/1980
Age at Incident: 14 Yrs 10 Mts

Friday 23 December 2022

Qantas flight makes emergency landing in Azerbaijan


A Qantas flight travelling from Singapore (SIN/WSSS) to London (LHR/EGLL) has made an emergency landing in Azerbaijan several hours after taking off from Singapore.

Shortly after flying over the Georgian border, pilots were forced to make a 180-degree turn after receiving an intermittent fault indicator in the cockpit.

The plane landed safely at Baku Heydar Aliyev International Airport (GYD/UBBB) about 2.15pm (EST).

Flight QF1 took off from Singapore’s Changi Airport from runway 02R nine minutes after midnight and had been in the air for about nine hours before the diversion, according to flight tracking website Flightradar24.

Emergency services met the plane on arrival to the airport and engineers are currently inspecting the aircraft.

The plane made an emergency landing due to potential smoke in the cargo hold, which Qantas has since confirmed.

Initial investigations at Baku have found no evidence of smoke in the cargo hold, a Qantas spokesperson told

“The aircraft intermittently alerted the pilots to the potential of smoke in the cargo hold. Although it was considered likely to be a sensor fault, the aircraft diverted to Baku as a safety precaution. Initial investigations have found no evidence of smoke in the cargo hold," the spokesperson said.

“We thank customers for their patience, and we are working to get them on their way as quickly as possible.”

At the time of writing this the plane is still on the ground in Baku, and it is currently unknown how long it will be there for.

Aircraft Information:
Airline: Qantas
Code: QF/QFA
Aircraft: Airbus A380-842
Registration: VH-OQH
Serial Number: 050
Engines: 4 x RR Trent 972
First Flew: 28/08/2009
Age: 13 Yrs. 3Mts

Wednesday 21 December 2022

United Airlines makes emergency landing in Hong Kong

UNITED BOEING 777-222 N780UA (MSN 26944)

A United Airlines plane travelling from Hong Kong (HKG/VHHH) to Guam (GUM/PGUM) made a full emergency landing yesterday due to mechanical issues, with fire and ambulance teams placed on full alert.
Thirty-four fire engines, seven ambulances and seven fire boats were put on standby soon after 11am, following a report of engine problems from flight UA2831, according to the Fire Services Department.
Looking at Flightradar24 I can see the aircraft departed from 07R at 10.46am (local) the plane then stopped climb at 5,800 feet, descended to 2,800 feet and circled for 30 minutes and then landed safely at 11.41am on 07L.

“No smoke or flames were reported at the scene and no casualties were reported in the incident,” a spokesman said.

Aircraft Information:
Airline: United Airlines
Code: UA/UAL
Aircraft: Boeing 767-322
Registration: N648UA
Serial Number: 25285
Engines: 2 x PW PW4060
First Flew: 02/07/1992
Age: 30 Yrs. 5 Mts