The proposed meeting between Becker Helicopters (including part owner Mike Becker) and BeCA has been put on hold for a couple of days BeCA was told last evening. Becker Helicopters have been called to an emergency meeting with Sunshine Coast Airport Management today (Thurs).
Whether BeCA warrants a further meeting after that will be decided upon later.
BeCA remains keen to discuss the issues with Becker and will continue to push for some form of dialogue.
Local councillor Tim Dwyer appeared on local radio yesterday saying he had received many concerns from rate payers on the increased number of helicopter flights. Previously Cr Dwyer had always remarked that if you buy near an airport you deserve the consequences. It is pleasing to note some moderation of his opinion. He is calling for concern to be displayed to all Caloundra residents by Becker. He also said Becker Helicopters were not breaking any regulations.
BeCA is disappointed not to have received any response from our own Councillor Rick Baberowski. After all Caloundra Aerodrome does lie in his Council District but the only comment so far that we know of has been made by another Councillor. BeCA is aware Cr Baberowski met with Airport Management on Monday but this Community Association has not heard anything from him.
BeCA suggested residents forward emails of complaint to Becker Helicopters, SC Airport Management, MP Mark McArdle and Cr Baberowski over the increase in helicopter activity above our homes.
BeCA has had several responses from Becker Helicopters, a personal phone call from the SC Airport General Manager, an email from the office of our local MP saying they were collating the emails prior to Mark’s return from interstate, but we have heard nothing from Cr Baberowski.
Mike Becker, part owner of Becker Helicopters appeared on local radio 90.3 last evening and gave his side of events. There was very little in what he said that BeCA would disagree with.
The residents complaining in the new Noosa shire are complaining about helicopters flying overhead at 2,500 feet above their homes to the Teewah Airport. CASA regulations say they should fly at no lower than 1000′ so they are currently flying well above the recommended height. It appears Teewah has very few if any homes around the airport. Now Becker are unable to use Teewah, they will fly at the CASA recommended height of 1000′ on their way to Gympie Airport over the Noosa Council area.
Noosa is planning to close the airspace above some Noosa Council areas to commercial helicopters to further prevent this from happening.
According to Becker Helicopters they have been unsuccessfully requesting meetings with Sunshine Coast Airport over a satellite Helicopter Training facility for some time. Mike Becker did say that around 30% of helicopter pilot training needs to be carried out within the confines of an airport and BeCA believes this includes the current series of “touch n go’s”.
For the last few months Mike Becker says he has called for the Sunshine Coast Airport Management to at least discuss the issue with him but up until today there had been no concrete response to his requests. He wants an “Aviation Plan” put in place to ensure local aviation industries can survive successfully here on the Sunshine Coast.
Hopefully there will be some positive news out of today’s meeting between SC Airport and Becker Helicopters for Bellvista and Bells Reach residents.
BeCA has been told by SC Airport General Manager Peter Pallot that they are working diligently to provide a satellite training facility for helicopters at Bells Creek. At this stage any facility is at least months away. Local MP Mark McArdle has passed similar information along to BeCA. Peter Pallot said his aim was that this facility would remove all touch n’ go’s from Caloundra Aerodrome when commissioned.
UPDATE: Cr Baberowski has now issued a press release which is available in the post above this one.