In a phone conversation today between BeCA President Les Thomas and Kim Jorgensen of Becker Helicopters, Becker Helicopters have indicated they will endeavour, to the best of their ability, refrain from future training flights over our estate on a Sunday. Becker explained they have contractual obligations and timelines they must meet.
Becker have noted the concerns of residents in emails recently sent to them and are conscious of the needs of our residents. Becker regrets there may be some Sundays when some flights are unavoidable.
Instructions have been given by Becker Helicopters for pilots to be aware of the houses below and, when ever possible, fly accordingly. BeCA has requested that Becker have only one aircraft in the sky doing ‘touch n go’s’. However there will be times when this cannot occur. There will also be times when Becker Helicopters and local Helicopter Pilot Trainer, Chopperline, have their aircraft in the sky simultaneously.
Becker went on to say they had not received any details regarding a designated area arranged by Sunshine Coast Airport Management for them to practise ‘touch n go’s’ to the north.
At the last Airport Forum Meeting late in 2013 BeCA had been told this facility was now operative, but according to Becker Helicopters they nothing about it. BeCA was told another site to the south of the Sunshine Coast was also being investigated by Sunshine Coast Airport Management, but when we queried local MP Mark McArdle he was not aware of any negotiations. He was going to follow up with the Minister for Forests and Lands, Steve Dixon.
Becker Helicopters have earmarked a site to the south of Caloundra which would be perfect for their ‘touch n go’ activities. However the land in question is owned by Stockland and when approached by Becker Helicopters Stockland told them that the land was not available. Had Becker Helicopters been given access to this land all their ‘touch ‘n go’ activities at Caloundra Airport would have ceased.
Not only would that have been to the benefit of residents, but it would have made the sale of housing blocks at Bells Reach more attractive.
Becker Helicopters are prepared to fully prepare any land for use for ‘touch n go’s’, all they require is the land to do so and the approval to fly during the hours they require. They have already purchased a site to the west of the Sunshine Coast but their hours of use there are restricted.
Residents who have lodged email complaints may receive a ‘pro forma’ response from either Becker Helicopters and/or the Sunshine Coast Airport. However your emails have gained a positive response for Bellvista and Bells Reach residents.
A feature at each meeting of the Airport Forum is the discussion of Noise Statistics including the number complaints received. During the horrific month of February 2013 it was reported there was a total of 18 complaints. For the last few months the number of complaints was much less than 10. This signalled to Airport Management that noise wasn’t a concern for residents living around the Caloundra Aerodrome.
The purpose of BeCA asking people with concerns to notify Sunshine Coast Airport Management of the recent activity is to highlight that many people who live at Bellvista or Bells Reach do care about the invasion of their ‘space’ by noisy intrusions by aircraft and wish something to be done about it now. There should be quite a spike in the numbers of complaints from the weekend just gone when we attend our next forum meeting in the next few weeks.
BeCA is arranging to meet with Becker Helicopters in the near future. BeCA is also endeavouring to faciltate a meeting between Stockland and Becker Helicopters so an alternative mutually agreeable site for ‘touch n go’s’ can be available for training purposes away from any residential area.
BeCA will also liaise with local MP Mark McArdle on this issue to see if some State Government alternative for land for use by Becker Helicopters can be arranged if necessary.