Aircraft safety concerns at Kyneton airfield have prompted Macedon Ranges council to fast-track plans to maintain the airfield and its surroundings.
The council has moved to accelerate the completion of its Kyneton Airfield Master Plan for the airfield’s long-term management and to investigate obstacles, including large trees, that could pose safety threats.
Kyneton Aeroclub vice-president Warren Canning told Star Weekly action needed to be taken. “It’s got to the stage where the situation can no longer be ignored,” he said.
He said a large tree plantation on the airfield’s northern border was of “immediate concern”.
He said that if they did not already, the height of the trees would soon exceed national safety guidelines.
“There’s a risk of aircraft impacting the trees, particularly on landing but also on take-off,” he said.
The trees could also affect wind-shear at the airfield, he said.
At its May meeting, the council passed a motion to protect the airspace at the airfield and ensure obstacles are maintained in line with required standards.
Cr Mandi Mees said a “regulatory gap” in the current council planning scheme meant it only concerned the airfield, not the airspace around it. She said the council needed to promptly address this issue.
“We really need to look at dealing with this now,” she said.
Council assets and operations director Dale Thornton said he would commission an investigation into the airfield’s obstacles, but predicted the results would not come back before August.
A second part to the motion sought the prompt completion of the master plan for the airfield’s long-term management. Cr Mees said it was time for the airfield issues to be resolved.
“It’s time to bring it to a close – so the Kyneton community can have closure,” she said.
The airfield master plan process has been under way since September, 2014, when the council decided Kyneton Airfield would remain at the current site.
Kyneton Airfield is not a certified or registered aerodrome, therefore pilots are obligated to determine if it is suitable for their use. The council owns the airfield, which is leased by Kyneton Aeroclub.
Mr Canning said correspondence with the Civil Aviation Safety Authority had concluded that the airfield’s maintenance fell on the local council.