It seems like a lot has happened in my two week absence in 1:400 scale. There have been several announcements of new releases including the December Aeroclassics, November Panda and Skywings and a batch of new JC Wings. Plus the icing on the cake is the first ever Tupolev Tu-104 in 1:400 scale announced by a new offshoot of Inflight. I'll be blogging about many of these things in the coming weeks but in this post I just wanted to reflect on my two week absence.
My family and I have just spent a fortnight in Queensland, Australia - just across the ditch from my permanent home in Auckland, New Zealand. I have to say that aviation played a very small part in my family holiday. Indeed it was really only just the getting to and from element, however that doesn't mean I neglected to get the camera out when at the airport.
We flew into Cairns from Auckland on Saturday October 14th arriving in the mid-morning. Our flight over was in the Air New Zealand Airbus A320 ZK-OJN. AKL is currently undergoing one of it's spurts of almost continuous expansion. This has sadly seen all the inside pre-security viewing spots vanish in recent times, however when you get airside in the international terminal there are still some ok views to be had from within the pier, albeit these are often marred by reflections through the glass.
I didn't have a lot of time and the best of the few shots I got were from the window of our A320. They don't illustrate the diversity of airlines that nowadays serve AKL, especially Chinese airliners, and all show the flag carrier at its homebase. Note that in the distance you can see some of the 777s and DHC-8s still wear the older Teal livery.
Cairns has a single runway and two terminals (domestic and international). It is served by the usual Australian suspects (Qantas, Jetstar, Virgin Australia, Tiger Airways, ReX, Alliance etc) plus a decent amount of international traffic (Cathay, Silk Air, Philippines, Air Niugini etc). There is a substantial general aviation and aircraft maintenance area across the field from the terminals with a number of commuter types present from a range of airlines and operators (especially Skytrans).
Above and below you can see the Cobham ramp with a pair of Cobham SAR Services Bombardier CL-600-2B16 Challengers (VH-XND and XNE) and a pair of National Jet Surveillance (Border Force) DHC-8s (VH-ZZI and ZZG). I don't know who operates the other DHC-8 but judging by the bird of paradise on the tail I'm guessing its from Papua New Guinea.
Our taxi to the international terminal took us past the domestic terminal gates and allowed me to get off a few shots of typical visitors
As you'd expect there was also a decent number of Regional Express (ReX) Saabs present, parked rather randomly at the corner of the terminals. In this case the four frames were VH-ZRJ, ZRK, ZRY and ZRZ:
As we neared our gate we passed a Jetstar A320, VH-VFK, and 787-8, VH-VKI, before nudging into gate 4 for disembarkation. Interestingly the international terminal still has some of the older style fixed airbridge type gates.
That was all the spotting I was able to get in on the trip to Cairns. On our return we left using the domestic terminal, which is rather horrible from a spotting perspective (it has barely any windows in it) and airside views are completely obscured. Of course as I said we weren't really going on hols for the aircraft anyway, but for the wildlife. Queensland certainly delivered on that front. All the animals below, which were a fraction of what we saw, were seen in the wild, not in zoos. The Cassowaries were a particular highlight, whilst you can't help but be impressed by the crocs.
Leaving Cairns we travelled to Brisbane where I also got some shots of the local air traffic, which I'll cover in part 2.
I'm Richard Stretton: a fan of 1/400 scale model aircraft and airports. This blog reports work on my model airport dioramas and discussion of the model manufacturers output.