New safety rules at Kybong airport after near disasters
GYMPIE Regional Council is tightening safety measures at the Kybong Airport after it was revealed there had been a dozen near disasters there - none of which the council had been told about.
At a special ordinary meeting on Friday, councillors were told there had been 12 close calls at the airport over the past five years.
While near misses had to be reported to the Civil Aviation Safety Authority, there was no obligation for CASA to inform the council.
It was only through recent meetings with CASA that they had come to light.
"There were a lot of close calls that we actually didn't know about," Councillor Mal Gear said.
Changes adopted by the council include: no flights for any aircraft between sunset and sunrise (except for emergency aircraft); radio use is now mandatory for all aircraft; and adoption of a standard circuit pattern for aircraft.
Helicopter hovering is also banned at the airport, a welcome relief to many nearby residents who were frustrated by the high levels of noise it was causing.
A petition carrying 210 signatures about the noise was submitted to the council at their May 10 ordinary meeting.
Cr Gear said the safety improvements were needed out there right away.
"CASA was really concerned about what was going on out there," he said.
"Users and residents will be happy with this."
Under the changes, the council will have power to enforce these rules.
Anyone caught in breach could face punishments including being banned from the airspace.
The motion was adopted unanimously.
After the meeting, residents who had been fighting for the ban on hovering were quick to thank the council online for adopting the changes.