New interim helicopter training facility
  • Thursday 20 August 2015

Community associations have welcomed an announcement which will result in reduced helicopter noise for those living close to Caloundra Airport.

Becker Helicopter Services will undertake the majority of its helicopter training operations at a new interim helicopter training site at Bells Creek, following agreement with Sunshine Coast Council and Stockland.

Divisional Councillor Rick Baberowski said the move brought balancing the needs of the aviation industry with those of the community much closer.

“Council understands the issues the community has around high impact, repetitive training circuits and has worked with community, the State and aviation organisations to provide a better mechanism for managing helicopter activity at both Caloundra Aerodrome and the new interim satellite training facility on land adjoining the Bruce Highway at Bells Creek,” Cr Baberowski said.

“The interim area will be used by the helicopter operator as an alternative location for most of the helicopter training program currently carried out at or around Caloundra aerodrome.

“It is important to understand not all training operations will leave Caloundra aerodrome, as a requirement remains for on-aerodrome training as part of the pilots’ training program.

“However, it is expected that up to 70% of the Becker Helicopter training previously undertaken at or around Caloundra aerodrome will be carried out at the Bells Creek site.

“This is an important outcome for the large and growing residential community living close to the Caloundra Aerodrome and helps preserve faith in the recently approved masterplan for the aerodrome.”

Cr Baberowski said Becker Helicopters had worked with airport management and Council to find a solution by agreeing on modified training times, locations and reduced frequency of flights wherever possible.

Golden Beach Progress Association President Mick Graham said residents would appreciate the attempts to alleviate the noise issue and those disturbed by the training program would certainly welcome this news.

Bellvista and Bells Reach Community Association President Les Thomas said the announcement would provide peace of mind for residents.

“Our community has been striving for this outcome for more than 18 months and we are delighted this has come to pass,” Mr Thomas said.

Cr Baberowski said the satellite training facility on land owned by Stockland had been made available until December 2015 with an option to extend this to December 2016.

“We still need the State Government to provide a permanent satellite site in our region,” Cr Baberowski said.

“Council and the community sees this as the real solution to minimising the impacts on both airside residential communities at Caloundra while providing the air space needed by the aviation sector.”

Becker Helicopters is a 2014 Telstra Australian Business Award winner and employs more than 70 full-time staff and 30 contractors.

The company trains more than 100 students each year across the greater region.

It is expected operations will start at the Bells Creek interim site within weeks.