It has been ‘a long time between drinks’ for meetings of the Caloundra Aerodrome Community and Aviation Forum. The forum group consists of Sunshine Coast Airport management, community groups, Councillors and aerodrome businesses who meet and discuss issues 4 times annually. The previous Forum Meeting was over 12 months ago and was attended by a dozen or so representatives. This meeting was conducted at the Helimods Hangar at the Caloundra Aerodrome and attracted almost 30 representatives.
The meeting was chaired by Council’s Brian Dale but much of the presentation was given by another Council employee, Glenn Paine who has the Caloundra Aerodrome as his major focus.
Glenn reported the number of aircraft noise complaints to Council and to Air Services Australia were down over the last 4 months. January saw a total of 14 complaints, February 12, March 1 and 2 for April. During the early part of 2018 Energex were doing aerial surveys of the electricity grid which employed many low level flights and were the basis for some of the complaints.
There was also a period when Becker Helicopters were doing the airport component of their training which meant in increase in low level flights and resultant complaints. With Becker Helicopters about to leave the Sunshine Coast, these complaints should fall even more. We understand CASA has contacted Becker Helicopters over these complaints.
Currently Caloundra Aerodrome has lodged a request with CASA to change the designated training flightpaths for the east-west runway. A positive response from CASA is expected in November when a 3 month trial is expected to commence. Currently the flightpath is a route which turns south and then circuits around over Golden Beach, Pelican Waters and Bellvista for another touch n go. The new trial will have aircraft turn north for their circuit and whenever possible aircraft turns will be made over the sea. This path will depart Caloundra Aerodrome and when over the sea, aircraft will turn to the north and then over the Industrial Area, some areas of Little Mountain and then the northern section of Bellvista.
The trial flightpaths will mean the vast majority of Bellvista, Bells Reach, Golden Beach and Pelican Waters will no longer be impacted by noise arising from aircraft training circuits. It is hoped this trial will result in even fewer aircraft noise complaints from residents.
As the expansion of Sunshine Coast Airport goes ahead there is some uncertainty of how many (if any) Maroochydore based flight schools will divert their training flights to Caloundra Aerodrome. As Caloundra Aerodrome is a ‘public aerodrome’, any aircraft based at at Redcliff, Caboolture, Archerfield or Maroochydore is able to use Caloundra Aerodrome. The “Fly Neighbourly Policy” which is a set of voluntary guidelines Caloundra based aircraft are obliged to follow, is not necessarily recognized by non Caloundra Aerodrome based aircraft.
Currently only 5 aircraft can be using a flightpath at a time.
Council only has jurisdiction over aircraft when they are on the ground. Once airborne aircraft come under the jurisdiction of CASA and Air Services Australia.
The focus of Caloundra Aerodrome is on aviation services. Council (who control the leases) does not envisage further Flying Schools setting up operation at Caloundra Aerodrome. As the expansion of the airport at Maroochydore goes ahead, Council will continue to monitor what training flights if any are moved from Maroochydore to Caloundra.
During Community Discussion, BeCA insisted that Airport Management and Council continue with negotiations for a permanent Satellite Helicopter Training Facility and ensure a permanent solution can be found. BeCA also insisted that when the permanent facility becomes operational, that ALL helicopter training schools be obligated to carry out the majority of their touch n go training at the facility, not just Helicopter Training Schools operating out of Sunshine Coast Airport.
Your BeCA representatives left the meeting feeling quite optimistic that finally there was a forum where the views of BeCA and the people it represents were made to feel that their input was very welcome. But it was also a forum in which the businesses based at the aerodrome were confident that there was a future for aviation industries at Caloundra Aerodrome.
The next meeting will be in another three months.
In the pdf document below, the blue line depicts the current flightpath and the green line is the proposed flightpath. It is a 500kb document and may take a little time to open.