Orange Regional Airport is a key transport hub for the central west, providing daily passenger connections with Sydney and a base for a growing number of aero-industry businesses.
The airport is located 15 kilometres south east of Orange. By car, the airport is 15 minutes drive from the centre of Orange.
The airport is owned, operated and maintained by Orange City Council. The City Council is aware of the importance of this gateway to Orange and the surrounding region and has continued to improve the quality of this facility.
The air space around Orange airport is non-controlled. All aircraft communicate using CTAF frequency 119.0. This frequency has an Aerodrome Frequency Response Unit (AFRU) to advise pilots they are on the correct frequency.
There are 2 notable Helicopter Businesses based at Orange – Central West Helicopters and Orange Helicopters.
Helicopter Pilot Training, Scenic Flights and Airwork Services
Central West Helicopters offers over 30 years of experience in providing helicopter pilot training services, commercial airwork services and scenic tours. Our professional pilots are here to provide the best quality helicopter training and create unforgettable tours and experiences within the Orange Region.
Orange Helicopter’s latest addition to the fleet, a MBB-Kawasaki Heavy Industries BK117-B2, VH-VCB.
Built in 1998 for the Keisatsu-chō JNPA (Japanese National Police Agency), it was registered JA6808, where it was stationed at the Wakayama Police department in Japan’s Kansai region. It was later retired from service in 2019 where it was replaced by a brand new EC135P3.
JA6808 was then sold, de-registered & exported to Australia with Orange Helicopters, a company that operates contracted aerial fire-fighting work for the New South Wales Rural Fire Service, taking ownership of the airframe.
Just before Christmas 2020, I was fortunate enough to be in Orange for work & after making a few enquiries, I found out that JA6808, now registered VH-VCB was due to go for its first flight around its new home. Given the recent weather of rain, storms & possibly flooding being experienced on the Australian East Coast, VH-VCB will now be used for pilot training to ensure that when a fire starts & the call is put out, that there will be adequately trained pilots ready to put the BK117 through its paces on the fire ground.
Below are some images of VH-VCB’s first flight around Orange Airport & its new base. I would like to thank the Orange Airport Aerodrome Operations Supervisor for providing me with some fantastic vantage locations to capture these images. The BK117 joins AS350B3+, VH-DVM, Agusta-Bell AB206A, VH- UOA recently acquired Bell 206L4, VH-SKU in the Orange Helicopters fleet of helicopters.
Orange Helicopters images and blog supplied:
Jayden – Aviation photographer based in the greater Newcastle area with a strong interest in helicopter & general aviation photography