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How many Aero Clubs help manage their airfields?


Old Koreelah
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Our local government is concerned at the cost of maintaining our local airport, and the imposition of landing fees is being touted as one solution. We believe current traffic is far too low to make that viable, and fear it would discourage people from using the place.

 

We know of a couple of airports which are administered by the local flying club, saving money for the local council. Does anyone know of others we can learn from?

 

 

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G'day Old K,

 

The Central Coast Aero Club manages YWVA for the local Council (Wyong). The work is shared between the Club and the separate flying school (Warnervale Air). Doesn't stop the Council from charging landing fees even though the club saves them a motza. At least the Council is now kicking in a few bucks on the upgrade.

 

YMND is owned and operated by RNAC and I doubt it costs the Council anything other than a bit of grief over noise complaints.

 

YCNK is owned by Cessnock Council and some activities are managed by either the GA flying school or the Hunter Recreational Flying School. Council still charges landing fees.

 

If your local Council wants to defray the annual upkeep costs, you might have a look at some things the club can do like mowing which can be a sizeable cost. As well, their needs to be some thought put into having events that attract big spending aviators, classic car enthusiasts (not dragsters or truck racers!!!) and the locals to come and spend money at the airport. Increased air traffic, as you point out, is not going to make an appreciable difference to the annual cost of operating the airport.

 

Perhaps organising charter flights to holiday destinations might bring in some commercial money?

 

Perhaps local Chamber of Commerce or Service Clubs might have some ideas?

 

 

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Isis Flying Club run the Childers Qld Airstrip, which is owned by Council. It is a distance from town. The Council recently enlarged and renewed their lease over land beside the airstrip where they have built (and continue to build) hangars. The Club keeps the lease mowed and tidy and also mow the strip and tie down area. They did minor works - eg Council supplied a new windsock and gates and the club members erected them, spread grass seed and crusher dust. They got a grant to buy a ride on mower and they were cleaning the public toilets at the entrance to the airstrip. Council provides consumables and does the major work - removing saplings, grading the drainage lines for example.

 

 

 

Once a year the Club hosts a "Fly-in, Walk-in, Drive-in" event for everyone - car club, visiting aviators, tourists, locals with help from other community groups. It proves the airstrip is a valued community asset which does not require a lot of $$ to maintain. They also have, as members; Council staff, media, community minded people & other non-aviation club people. It pays to spread the love rather than appearing to be a minor, self centred, demanding group.

 

 

 

Sue

 

 

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Kyneton airfield is managed entirely by the aero club with no help or support from council. We have wonderful support from volunteer members to do all the work. Had a meeting yesterday with council and consultants about future possibilities. My guess is that we are moving into a great future for YKTN.

 

 

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Local shire owns the Cobden Airfield from where I fly, the Airfield is ran by a committee of management on behalf of the shire. This committee is made up by a diverse group of people consisting of pilots, members of the community from all backgrounds and also includes two shire councillors and meetings are also attended by shire works engineer / manager.

 

Local pilots volunteer for mowing roster, working bees, Airport Reporting Officer duties.

 

Fortunately the local community sees the value of having a local Airfield in good condition to be available for any situation should the need arise. The fact that it is good for we recreational pilots is a very minor consideration in community thinking.(as it should be). A grant has been obtained to seal the runway in the new year. Only commercial operators are asked to use the honour box for landing fees.

 

 

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I am fairly jealous of all of the above.

 

Maranoa Regional Council is hell bent on getting every dollar from everyone that they can due to the fifo workforce and large movements of passengers. They would prefer that the aero club just cease to exist and any spirit of co-operation has long gone. I dropped into my old club where I learned to fly at Alice Springs yesterday and they have a similar similar problem with the airport owner.

 

If you have a reasonable council then do everything you can to work with them to achieve a good result

 

 

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Post Script to my last post. It hasn't always been this way, hard work and dedication by those on the airport committee of management and the aero club publicising Air Ambulance missions to Cobden and fly-ins and a massive effort to keep a Wind Tower company from erecting wind towers (22) 2 nm directly north of runway 36 has jelled the community to support the Airfield and aroused the shires interest in it's success. The icing on the cake came in Feb. this year when a visit to our last fly-in by the State Minister for Aviation (who flew in in his own plane) saw us secure a $200K donation to seal the runway.

 

 

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South Grafton Aerodrome is managed by a committee set up under section 355 of the Local Government Act. The aerodrome is leased by council from the Dept of Lands. A council management committee of sorts has been operating for 40 or more years but in 2008 the Council decided it should get rid of the aerodrome as it didn't want any responsibility or cost associated with it.

 

The aerodrome is right on the edge of town & is used by Angel Flight, RFDS for patient transfer etc as well as RA & GA private aircraft etc. A group of aviators put a proposal to council that they manage the facility at no cost to council and this proposal was accepted. The committee is made up of hangar owners and pilots and there is a council representative although he is non voting. The committee sets lease fees for hangars, recommends new hangar applications, collects landing fees (via honesty box), commercial operator fees & maintains the facility. This includes sealing of the runway, mowing etc. As the aerodrome includes several paddocks, a local farmer is allowed to graze cattle & take hay in return for mowing the strip, taxiways & tie down areas. Funds have been steadily increasing since 2008 & with the assistance of a grant (if application successful) resealing will happen next year.

 

This arrangement is working well but there are still those who don't want it there so there is always work to do in keeping the existence of the aerodrome positive in the minds of councillors.

 

 

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