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Possum1

Kooralbyn Airfield for Breakfast

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I thought I would post a new thread here about Kooralbyn Airport as a destination for breakfast/coffee lunch etc.

 

We recently flew into Kooralbyn from Archerfield for the all-you-can-eat buffet breakfast for $22 at Lilies Restaurant, which includes reasonable flat white coffee out of a machine, cereal, fruit and the usual full hot breakfast items. Coffee connoisseurs, you've been warned! At least you can go back and try the other coffee selections for no extra cost. There is also a toasting machine and a pancake-making machine to play with as well. The restaurant is located in the Kooralbyn Resort main building about 200m from the airstrip.

 

Valley Kitchen Cafe(VK's), closer to the airfield, is also very popular but we have yet to try this.

 

On the operational side, the new bitumen surface is excellent quality and the new windsock has been re-located to the parking area in front of the now unfortunately vandalised terminal building and former sky-diving base.

 

It is of concern to me that the displaced thresholds, that were clearly marked when I was last here 23 years ago, have not been repainted on the new bitumen. I remember the Chief Pilot, under whose AOC I was operating a C206 for charters at the time, reminding me on more than one occasion about how important these were considering the surrounding hilly terrain. I have noticed at least one aircraft landing very short of where these displaced thresholds once were. 

 

I cannot find any old photos on the internet which show clearly where these thresholds once were, but there is a small history section display on the left hand side of the Resort reception area as you walk in where there is a clear photo of the runway thresholds as they once were. Here a pilot can clearly see where they are in relation to the lakes at the SE end and the parking and terminal area at the NW end.

 

Does anyone have an old photo that shows these displaced thresholds?

Edited by Possum1
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I was told that there once was a thriving Ultralight club at Koralbyn. Skydivers arrived and joined the club and with enough members got control, the Ultralights disappeared and the club plundered. I guess when they had stuffed everything up they left. Such a shame.

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Yes there was a thriving Ultralight Club at Koralbyn. I was taken for a flight from there in a Drifter in about the early 90's.

The day I was there it was a very busy day with lots of activity going on.

 

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I went to Valley Kitchen a few weeks ago, unfortuanly when I landed the windsock was missing.

 

The Valley Kitchen does great coffee and breakfast as well.

 

It’s a nice little airstrip, watch the bump just at the beginning of 30. 

 

Yes unfortunately the building has been trashed, looks like it would have been great in the day.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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5 hours ago, BusaKaine said:

I went to Valley Kitchen a few weeks ago, unfortuanly when I landed the windsock was missing.

I also noted that the windsock was missing on my visit on 19 January. I rang the reception at the Ramada Kooralbyn about this the following Monday morning and the lady said she would inform their maintenance dept straight away. As of my last visit, 16 February, the windsock has been replaced.

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6 hours ago, Kyle Communications said:

2013 this sat pic ..previously dates back to 2006 no displacement

No it doesn't. Yes there is. The 2012 Google Earth satellite run shows no Xs on the runway. The 2013 run does. The Xs appeared in late 2012/early 2013. The old Rwy 12 displaced threshold is about 50m past the second cross immediately to the SE of the parking area.

 

In the two 2009 and the 2011 Google Earth runs, adjacent to the parking area entrance, one of the arrows pointing to the Rwy 12 displaced threshold can still be faintly but clearly discerned on the bitumen, as can the displaced threshold itself, 80 metres further down the runway to the SE.

 

The other displaced threshold at the SE end(Rwy 30) lies between the two lakes and can also be faintly discerned in the 2009, 2011 and 2012 runs.

 

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An X means that the runway is closed, it has no indication of a displaced threshold, the runway is closed ! 

 

A displaced threshold has multiple lines (parallel with the runway direction) running up to the gable markers which show the start of the usable runway. I learnt this in my first day of training!

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28 minutes ago, FlyBoy1960 said:

An X means that the runway is closed, it has no indication of a displaced threshold, the runway is closed ! 

Duh!

 

33 minutes ago, FlyBoy1960 said:

A displaced threshold has multiple lines (parallel with the runway direction) running up to the gable markers which show the start of the usable runway. I learnt this in my first day of training!

A very poor explanation. I am talking about the clear, visible and undeniable evidence of displaced thresholds on the two 2009 Google Earth satellite photo runs, the 2011 and 2012 run, all images of Kooralbyn airfield prior to it being marked closed. 

 

I am not referring to the images that clearly show the airfield closed from 2013 to 2016.

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On the 2018 photo the the threshold displacement is clearly visible though not marked as such. The closed runway X is still clearly visible on each of those sections though it has deteriorated over time. These 2 X's indicate that the runway is currently closed even if it is not according to the owners. The X's should be painted out with black paint or sand blasted off.

Edited by kgwilson

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The Xs at each end were painted out as seen in the photos of June 2016 onwards. Unfortunately it was not a quality job and from about 18 months later the Xs at each end have had the black paint washed/eroded off them and by the August 2018 photo, they are clearly visible again. 

 

Obviously, the owners intend that the airport is open as the people on reception at the resort have confirmed this. They certainly would not have replaced the windsock so quickly earlier this month if this was not so. Tel: 07 5544 6688.

 

As long as the visiting pilots do their homework and realise that the originally intended displaced threshold for landing on Runway 12 is well past the parking area at 300m in and the displaced threshold for landing on Runway 30 is between the two lakes at 150m in, they should have no problems. At 1400 metres total runway length there is plenty of room for landing long.

 

Although these limits were set 40 years ago in an era of single and twin engine GA aircraft without consideration of modern day ultralight and sports aviation aircraft capabilities, I think it is a good idea for pilots to aim for these thresholds anyway. They were after all designed and placed in these locations with the express purpose of keeping pilots and their aircraft safely out of trees and associated high terrain. 

Edited by Possum1
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Posted (edited)
22 hours ago, Possum1 said:

The Xs at each end were painted out as seen in the photos of June 2016 onwards. Unfortunately it was not a quality job and from about 18 months later the Xs at each end have had the black paint washed/eroded off them and by the August 2018 photo, they are clearly visible again. 

 

Obviously, the owners intend that the airport is open as the people on reception at the resort have confirmed this. They certainly would not have replaced the windsock so quickly earlier this month if this was not so. Tel: 07 5544 6688.

 

As long as the visiting pilots do their homework and realise that the originally intended displaced threshold for landing on Runway 12 is well past the parking area at 300m in and the displaced threshold for landing on Runway 30 is between the two lakes at 150m in, they should have no problems. At 1400 metres total runway length there is plenty of room for landing long.

 

Although these limits were set 40 years ago in an era of single and twin engine GA aircraft without consideration of modern day ultralight and sports aviation aircraft capabilities, I think it is a good idea for pilots to aim for these thresholds anyway. They were after all designed and placed in these locations with the express purpose of keeping pilots and their aircraft safely out of trees and associated high terrain. 

 

I don't know where you got this information about "limits were set 40 years ago", because they certainly weren't. Actually the Kooralbyn airstrip was built in 1979/80 by the developers to accommodate Learjets and Citations which conducted champagne flights from Melbourne and Sydney for prospective home buyers - they weren't using any displaced thresholds ...

 

I was working as an instructor in the Kooralbyn Skyflyte flying school from 1987 to 1989 and there certainly weren't any displaced thresholds then either. BUT - even then, problems were starting to show up with the airstrip because the resort had been sold several times and none of the new owners had any particular interest in the airstrip, some of the owners were more interested in asset stripping the place than using it as a resort, and others never should have got involved because they didn't have sufficient funds, so the airstrip never got any maintenance and the surface progressively began to break up over the next ten years or so.

 

By around 2000 to 2005 the surface at the runway ends was so bad with potholes (there were plenty you had to dodge along the rest of the runway too) that the operators there decided to move the threshold to avoid knocking wheels off planes as they were landing. It had nothing to do with "keeping pilots and their aircraft safely out of trees and associated high terrain" - those of us who became very familiar with operating there were quite used to almost bumping wheels on the new resort roof approaching to 12, and at the other end, approaching or departing close alongside Mt Kooralbyn, looking up at the ridge ...

 

If you can avoid letting the visual picture of the surrounding hills, lakes, resort building and parallel road spook you, and just concentrate on the runway itself, it really isn't as bad as some would have you believe. With the experience of thousands of operations there, the best advice I can offer -

 

- has to do with wind which has a northerly component - if the wind is northerly use a left hand circuit to runway 30, track along the ridge of Mt Kooralbyn on base leg, or just to the west of it (avoid the rotor behind it), and land short on 30 to avoid turbulence on the ground about half way along the strip. If the wind is north-easterly use a right hand circuit and either land on 12 extremely short and completely stop before the cutting, or land long to avoid severe turbulence on the ground at the cutting halfway along the strip. Also - keep that RH circuit tight, approach over the LH side of the oval track/polo field, straight towards the resort then turn right onto final. Pilots making long low straight-in approaches are asking for trouble if they have an engine problem on final, there's nowhere to go, so if you must use a long straight-in approach, keep it high and scrub off the height very late, once you're sure you can glide to the strip.

 

When the wind is Easterly, Southerly or Westerly there are no particular turbulence hazards, other than what you might expect at a valley airstrip.

Edited by Head in the clouds
Added a bit ...

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Posted (edited)

My logbook says the displaced thresholds existed on and from 4 November 1996. Take-offs were made from the northern and southern extremities of the runway with no problems. The photo on the wall in the reception of the Ramada Kooralbyn Resort shows they were there a lot earlier than that. The Google Earth photo of 10/9/2009 clearly shows the location of the faded remnants of these.

 

 

Edited by Possum1

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Yes there certainly was a thriving ultralight activity at Kooralbyn in the 90's. I trained there in a Drifter with Peter Reed. Excellent training that still holds me in good stead 2700hrs later. Then the meat-bombers came in and took over and destroyed all that..... Disgraceful non-sharing politics.....

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