Hangar dispute at aerodrome
A hangar constructed at the Waharoa Aerodrome violates aviation rules and poses a risk to aircraft users, the Piako Gliding Club claims.
The club said it was alarmed the Matamata-Piako District Council approved plans to build the new hangar over part of the aerodrome’s runway apron.
Club president Ian Wood suggested the hangar’s location infringes a number of aerodrome safety guidelines and possibly the council’s own rules for building across boundaries.
He said there was no argument about the need for new hangars at the aerodrome, to meet demand.
But it was the location of the new building, which reduced manoeuvring space, in contention.
‘‘The crux of the point is that gliders have long wingspans and manoeuvring them through tight spaces is not desirable as damage may result.’’
He said gliders had a wingspan of 17m, others were 22m.
‘‘Modern gliders, on order by Piako Gliding Club members, have spans of up to 25 meters. In addition to the span, a safe margin of at least 6m, three at either side, must be allowed.’’
Wood said the club had lobbied the council on its preferred hangar location.
There was a site meeting with aerodrome users and council representatives in April.
A follow-up letter from mayor Jan Barnes confirmed that hangars ‘‘should not encroach any further on to the apron area’’.
Club member, Dave Dennison, a geotech engineer with experience in planning, provided the council with alternative sites for new hangars.
But in August, club members noticed construction had begun on the contested site.
In a written response, the council said it acknowledged the location of the new hangar had changed the manoeuvring space at some points.
It said however that the minimum manoeuvring space available for aircraft had not changed.
‘‘For some gliders this is 24m and for others it is 30m. Gliders are allocated hangar space according to their wingspan.
‘‘The 24m gap that some gliders have to manoeuvre between does not seem to cause a problem. The gap between the new hangar and a fuel pump is 36m.’’
The council said as a result of feedback, it had decided no further hangar development would occur in this area.
‘‘This will ensure events, including parking, can continue to be hosted successfully.’’
A second hangar under construction, was further away from the runway and would not interfere with aircraft movements. The council said the new hangar complied with its building rules.
A gliding club contests this new hangar was built across a small section of the aerdrome’s runway.