News

Chopper influx over Noosa certain to create a fresh buzz

A NOOSA resident has made the shock discovery the Sunshine Coast had 15,000 more helicopter movements than any other airport in Australia.

The resident fears the use of Teewah Airstrip may intensify unless the community forces Sunshine Coast Council to help restrict Noosa North Shore helicopter training.

He has obtained eye-opening Air Services Australia figures that showed at August last year, the Coast airport had about 46,000 helicopter movements in a year compared to Moorabin in Melbourne, which had about 30,000 and Brisbane Archerfield on about 23,000.

"We are number one by far," the resident said.

"I thought we'd be high, but I never thought we'd be way above the nearest major city.

"You have to factor into that, too, that our airport does not have a tower open 24 hours a day, so all the helicopter movements that happen out of hours aren't counted. So that's not our total. It's even more than that."

And it may come as little surprise to Noosa residents, who have become increasingly vocal about flights that include military chopper pilot training.

Air-traffic noise complaints on the Coast have increased by more than 400% on 2008.

ASA figures showed there were 24 noise complaints in 2008, compared to 122 last year (as at August 23).

"That data is sent to Sunshine Coast Airport every month, so if (management) are not aware of this they should be," he said.

"With the training of pilots set to increase next year - many training courses for 2013 are already full - and with the aviation sector seen as a key area for growth with Sunshine Coast Regional Council, there needs to be serious thought given to where things are heading.

"We've had our property almost nine years now and there's been a big increase (in flights) in the last year and that's not just helicopters. It's fixed wing as well.

"The current level is bad enough, but if they're pushing this as getting bigger and bigger, at what point is anyone going to listen to the residents?"

The resident said one helicopter trainer's website stated it could train pilots "free from bureaucratic restraints and in the ideal training areas that are uncongested and untainted by urban demand".

"So, they're sort of saying it's open slather," he said.

The resident said he was worried the Sunshine Coast draft planning scheme included Teewah Airstrip as "accommodating general aviation".

"If we are fortunate enough to win back control of the local council via de-amalgamation, then the best interests of the residents, as well as the integrity of the Great Sandy National Park, can be protected," he said.

He said a community aviation consultation group that included Noosa representatives and an independent chairman should be installed to tackle issues such as aircraft noise.

Topics:  sunshine coast airport


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