GSL Aviation chief engineer Matt Harding standing in front of a 1950s seaplane at their maintenance hangar at Whitsunday Lakeside Park Estate, Bloomsbury. Picture: Heidi Petith
GSL Aviation chief engineer Matt Harding standing in front of a 1950s seaplane at their maintenance hangar at Whitsunday Lakeside Park Estate, Bloomsbury. Picture: Heidi Petith

‘Novelty’ retro seaplane added to Whitsunday tour fleet

A SCENIC tour company operator flying over the picturesque Whitsundays islands said adding a 1950s seaplane to their fleet was a real "novelty".

The 1957 DHC-2 Beaver is under the hangar for maintenance at an airfield village an hour's drive from Mackay.

GSL Aviation owner Trent Brown said the retro aircraft was added to the collection after acquiring Air Whitsundays earlier this year.

GSL Aviation chief maintenance engineer Matt Harding (centre) with first year apprentice Theodore Brown (right) and fourth year apprentice Cal Taylor (right) standing in front of a 1950s seaplane at their hangar at Whitsunday Lakeside Park Estate, Bloomsbury. Picture: Heidi Petith
GSL Aviation chief maintenance engineer Matt Harding (centre) with first year apprentice Theodore Brown (right) and fourth year apprentice Cal Taylor (right) standing in front of a 1950s seaplane at their hangar at Whitsunday Lakeside Park Estate, Bloomsbury. Picture: Heidi Petith

"We currently have 11 aircraft and that's between the Whitsundays and also Cairns," Mr Brown said.

"We fly the aircraft from Proserpine down to Bloomsbury.

"It's only about a six minute flight, super quick."

Mr Brown said each aircraft was serviced at the Whitsunday Lakeside Park Estate after 100 hours of flight.

The view of the Whitsundays from the cockpit of a GSL Aviation aircraft. Picture: GSL Aviaion.
The view of the Whitsundays from the cockpit of a GSL Aviation aircraft. Picture: GSL Aviaion.

He said they chose the Bloomsbury location because of its tarmac airstrip and the accommodation they received from owner Gary Poole.

Chief maintenance engineer Matt Harding said they used the hangar for all sorts of maintenance from changing out engines to resprays to rebuilding aircraft.

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Mr Brown said the seaplane would soon be back in the sky and ready for tour bookings by mid-December.

GSL Aviation chief maintenance engineer Matt Harding (centre) with first year apprentice Theodore Brown (right) and fourth year apprentice Cal Taylor (right) standing in front of a 1950s seaplane at their hangar at Whitsunday Lakeside Park Estate, Bloomsbury. Picture: Heidi Petith
GSL Aviation chief maintenance engineer Matt Harding (centre) with first year apprentice Theodore Brown (right) and fourth year apprentice Cal Taylor (right) standing in front of a 1950s seaplane at their hangar at Whitsunday Lakeside Park Estate, Bloomsbury. Picture: Heidi Petith

"A full day trip out to the reef and also to Whitehaven Beach is about $500," Mr Brown said.

"You land at the reef, then we've got a semi-submersible (boat).

"You drive around in that and see the coral and go snorkelling."

The spectacular view flying over the Whitsundays. Picture: GSL Aviation
The spectacular view flying over the Whitsundays. Picture: GSL Aviation

Mr Brown said the cost also included lunch and time on Whitehaven Beach.

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To check out the full range of trips on offer, head to GSL Aviation's website and keep up to date via their Facebook page.

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This story was thanks to the My Town series - a Daily Mercury and Mackay Regional Council initiative.

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