BeCA had two representatives attend the Caloundra Aerodrome Forum Meeting held last evening (Wednesday May 8th) at the Caloundra Council Offices. Other representatives in attendance were from the SC Regional Airport, SCRC and local Community groups. The meeting was chaired by Sue Bamford (Business and Commercial Manager) in Peter Pallot’s absence.
Also in attendance was a representative from Air Services Australia (ASA). Though he didn’t directly address the meeting, he mentioned a major focus area for ASA was on trends and improvement for neighbourhoods in relation to aircraft noise.
In summing up on the Caloundra Aerodrome Master Plan, it was reported that SC Airport representatives would be meeting next week to hold preliminary discussions with the the State Government on input the government could make on the proposed Satellite Training Facility for Helicopters.
It will be suggested that the previously identified “Johnson’s Rd” site be an appropriate area for the proposed facility. An area roughly 500 metres x 500 metres would be ample for such a facility. When a figure of $500,000 was suggested as a total cost to have the facility up and in service, it was suggested that a figure less than that ‘could’ be required.
A later meeting involving SC Airport representatives and other stakeholders on the Satellite Training Facility (Community Groups, Local Businesses/Developers who would be advantaged by the removal of repetitive circuits by helicopters) would be convened in due course.
A lively discussion followed with one community representative describing the Master Plan as something which could be ‘driven through with a tank’ and forecasting the only real answer was the total relocation of Caloundra Airport. As the population increased, the future of the Caloundra Aerodrome would be further doomed. The only way the aerodrome would survive was relocation, not a master plan to develop it further. A lively exchange of views followed.
Statistics on recent Aircraft Movements were produced. It was noted that according to figures obtained by monitoring services at Caloundra Airport, fixed wing aircraft accounted for 52% of all movements, ultra light aircraft 24% and rotary winged aircraft 24%. There has been an increase in overall movements since earlier this year. This could be partially due to Chopperline having very few students in January but currently catering for up to 8 young pilots learning to fly.
Weather and smoke also have an impact on the ability to fly. Smoke from a bushfire south of Brisbane can cause some aircraft to be grounded at Caloundra, such is the regulation under which aircraft can operate in SE Queensland!
Statistics on complaints indicated a sharp spike in February this year. This coincided with the two horrific Sunday Bellvista and other residents endured when bombarded with helicopter activity by Becker Helicopters. SC Airport “Assets and Operations Manager” Jason Rainbird reported that following numerous complaints regarding the behaviour of Becker Helicopters, they had approached Becker Helicopters to modify their training practices and lessen the impact on local residents. Jason went on the say that often when complaints are investigated it turns out to be something like a light aircraft spraying mosquitoes. A return phone call to the person who complained usually leads to the concern being satisfied.
BeCA reported on its recent meeting with Chopperline.
The meeting closed at 6:45pm.