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Last Updated: Mon Jan 27 11:18:09 UTC 2014







Barrow Island Aircraft 1979 - 1980

Dr Carlo Kopp, AFAIAA, SMIEEE, PEng
July, 2012
Text 2010 Carlo Kopp
Photographic and lineart images 1979 - 2012 Carlo Kopp


This web page contains a selection of pictures taken in 1979-1980, during my 18 months working on Barrow Island for WAPET (now Chevron), in the North West Shelf region of my home state, Western Australia. Barrow Island has always depended heavily on aircraft for personnel rotations, but also resupply of offshore platforms. During that time I was responsible for some months for airport tarmac operations, and refuelled a range of aircraft, primarily the Beechcraft King Air series and Cessna Citations.

Photos and text 1979 - 2010 Carlo Kopp; Photographs produced using a 35 mm Exacta VX500 with a 50 mm Domiplan f/2.8 lens. Scans performed using a Nikon 5000ED to 4000PPI.



MacRobertson Miller Airlines Fokker F-27 Friendship at the Barrow Island main airport. This turboprop transport supplanted the Douglas DC-3/C-47 as the primary workhorse used to provide personnel movements for the mining industry in the North West. MMA was later absorbed into Ansett, as Ansett WA, and then vanished with the collapse of Ansett.



MacRobertson Miller Airlines Fokker F-28 Fellowship RMA Pilbara at the Barrow Island main airport.



Bell 206. Mayne-Bristow Helicopters, a division of UK rotary wing operator Bristow Helicopters, maintained a deployment of two helicopters on Barrow Island during the 1979 - 1981 period, used for resupply and personnel rotations on nearby offshore exploration rigs. In the background is the Barrow Island main camp area, at that time providing personnel housing in containerised huts.





Mayne-Bristow Helicopters Bell 206 tethered on its pad next to the Barrow Island helicopter hangar.



The workhorse of the Bristow deployment was a Westland Wessex Mk.60, a civilian variant of the Royal Air Force Wessex HC.2 assault helicopter, capable of carrying 16 personnel. The Wessex is a Rolls-Royce Gnome gas turbine powered derivative of the earlier Sikorsky S-58 / CH/UH-34D, best known due to its extensive use by the US Marine Corps during the Vietnam conflict. While the Wessex was mostly operated from the Bristow landing pad near the main workshop site, it would refuel at the Barrow Airport (below), and at least one of the pilots enjoyed performing rolling runway takeoffs with this aircraft.





Wessex Mk.60 transiting Barrow Island on a hop from Karratha to an offshore rig, about 2,000 ft AMSL.





Wessex Mk.60 recovering to the Bristow helicopter pad. Servicings and maintenance were usually performed inside the large hangar.









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