The Caloundra Aerodrome Community and Aviation Forum meets four times each year and provides an opportunity for all parties (Council, SC Airport Management, Community Groups and Aerodrome Tenants) to meet and raise issues and provide updates affecting the Caloundra Aerodrome.
It is at these meetings where BeCA can raise concerns on aircraft noise and behaviour affecting the lifestyles of all residents.
Recently the behaviour of aircraft above our homes has improved markedly and there are usually a handful of concerns raised from the community.
Council representatives reported on a small increase in noise complaints, mainly apparently relating to Becker Helicopters carrying out night training activities over the southern end of the coast.
There were several intermittent concerns from noisy aircraft, especially if they are performing repetitive circuits.
CASA is responsible for any activities in the air while Council and Airport Management are responsible for activities on the ground.
It is expected the changing of the flight training circuit for aircraft taking off towards the Pumicestone Passage will further reduce the volume of noise complaints. These circuits are designed so trainee pilots can practise touch n go landings and take offs via repetitive circuits. It is repetitive circuits which raise the greatest angst from residents.
The current flight path directs aircraft turn to the right after taking off to the east and then leads them to fly over the residential areas of Golden Beach and Pelican Waters while under full power. This path was first implemented in the early 70’s. At that stage there were few if any homes in that area. The development of Golden Beach and now Pelican Waters has markedly changed that situation.
As a result Airport Management is in the midst of seeking permission from CASA to alter this flight training circuit to one which turns left when over the water after take off, circuits above the Caloundra Industrial area and makes a final turn over vacant land to come in over Bellvista to land again on the east west runway.
CASA requires extensive and lengthy risk assessment investigations to be undertaken and these can take up to several months to complete. If all goes to plan the new left turn training flight path could be implemented in February 2019.
Cr Robinson reported that the recent inaugural Aviation Expo conducted at Sunshine Coast Airport was successful with many young people attending and becoming involved with many of the activities.
Extensive asphalting of runway aprons has now been completed. This will reduce damage to aircraft as the manoeuvre around the area. However space issues now arising with the number of aircraft now being parked on the aprons. Tree trimming around the runways is to be undertaken along with a full overhaul of runway lighting.
It is envisaged a section of an updated Sunshine Coast Airport website will be devoted to the Caloundra Aerodrome. Residents will be able to access numerous documents and information relating to aircraft use and behaviour and how they can respond.
The Fly Neighbourly Document is in the midst of being updated and will be available both as a hard copy document for all pilots of all aircraft across Australia and for download by residents.
As Caloundra Aerodrome is a ‘Public Aerodrome” any aircraft from SE Queensland (or wider) is able to use it for training purposes. It is becoming a more popular training centre for aircraft from as far afield as Archerfield. Aircraft with trainee pilots take off from Archerfield and fly to the sunshine Coast. They then use Caloundra Aerodrome flight training circuits to complete numerous circuits before returning to their home airfields. Currently these pilots are not operating under the Fly Neighbourly document as the Fly Neighbourly document is only for locally based aircraft and pilots!
It seems Gympie Airport has stopped repetitive circuits. Pilots who used to train there are now looking for alternative airports where they can train.
A Master Plan is being drawn up to map the development of the Sunshine Coast Airport as it becomes a fully international airport when the new runway is completed. There will need to be a decision made on what will happen to the current runway. If the old runway is closed it could mean that pilot training at the airport would need to work within international aircraft coming and going.
It is well known that pilot flight training and international flights do not mix. If the old runway is closed then those aircraft will need an alternative airport at which to practice.
The Forum meeting believes the State Government will need to step in and mandate to all local airports that they all must accept aircraft training circuits. Airports such as Gympie cannot say “Training flight circuits are now banned “ as it will impact on other local airports. Each airport must shoulder some of the load.
The Caloundra Aerodrome Community and Aviation Forum is due to meet again in mid November.