PILOTS, PA­TIENTS WEL­COME PROJECT

Aero­drome up­grades fin­ished, and things are look­ing good for es­sen­tial ser­vices:

Central and North Burnett Times - - FRONT PAGE - Jack Lawrie jack.lawrie@cnbtimes.com.au

PILOTS us­ing the Monto Aero­drome have spo­ken highly of the tar­mac qual­ity since the new up­grades were fin­ished.

Though it still has no pilots based in the area, An­gel Flight has been get­ting busier in Monto, hav­ing taken 12 flights in the space of a year.

An­gel Flight chief ex­ec­u­tive of­fi­cer Mar­jorie Pa­gani said with the up­grades fin­ished, the level of safety had vastly im­proved.

“I’d just like to ap­plaud all con­cerned for mak­ing this hap­pen. It’s some­thing very dear to our hearts,” Ms Pa­gani said.

Monto res­i­dent Paul Irvine is one of the pri­mary users of the ser­vice, and has been one of two reg­u­lar users of the ser­vice.

In the last few trips he’s taken to the Royal Bris­bane Hos­pi­tal for cancer treat­ment, Mr Irvine said he had no­ticed a con­sid­er­able change.

“I’ve had a cou­ple of flights since they’ve done it and it seems to be a lot bet­ter,” he said.

“They get a bit rough nor­mally when they come down, they’re only th­ese lit­tle aero­planes.”

Keith Miller, who’s due to take a trip out to pick up Mr Irvine next week, said land­ing and taxi on the run­way in his Cessna 182 sin­gle-en­gine was like driv­ing a car.

“The new sur­face is par­tic­u­larly smooth, so that makes it eas­ier to take off,” Mr Miller said.

As fly­ing doc­tor pilots gen­er­ally did not get called in for night flights, Mr Miller said he didn’t have an opinion on the new ground light­ing.

How­ever, he be­lieves air­ports are an im­por­tant gate­way to the com­mu­nity.

❝ To me, air­ports are a great com­mu­nity as­set and th­ese up­grades give peo­ple more rea­son to visit.

— Keith Miller, pi­lot

“To me, air­ports are a great com­mu­nity as­set and th­ese up­grades give peo­ple more rea­son to visit,” Mr Miller said.

“Coun­try air­ports be­come a life­line to the rest of the com­mu­nity.”

Com­mer­cial pilots will oc­ca­sion­ally fly up to visit a pre­vi­ous des­ti­na­tion in their free time, so first im­pres­sions count for a lot.

Scott Hutchinson, one of the first pilots to fly to Monto for An­gel Flight, said he nor­mally took ex­cep­tion to land­ing on bush strips.

Monto’s aero­drome how­ever, is an ex­cep­tion.

“My air­craft, an SR-22 is quite sleek and ex­pen­sive, and a lot of th­ese bush land­ing strips you need a fair amount of dis­tance, there’s of­ten bush and ob­struc­tions on ei­ther side,” Mr Hutchinson said.

“I don’t re­mem­ber how it was when I started, but lately I’ve been tak­ing my daugh­ter on trips and I’ve no­ticed how nice it’s got­ten.

“It’s a good sur­face.”

PHOTO: CON­TRIB­UTED

LIKE A CAR: Paul Irvine's last trip on Monto Aero­drome went much smoother thanks to the new up­grades.

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