Cobden airfield upgrade takes off

THE long-awaited upgrade of Cobden’s airfield is nearing completion. 

Over the past two weeks the old gravel runway has been converted into an all-weather asphalt surface, much to the delight of Cobden Aero Club members. 

Club president Warren Ponting said the runway had been widened and the new surface, combined with new LED lighting, would mean the airstrip could be used day or night in any weather. 

He said the upgrade would allow more flights to use the airport, and the upgrade opened opportunities for tourism. 

Mr Ponting said the aero club had campaigned for the  upgrade which had been a long time coming. 

“A group of ladies involved in the club raised $50,000,” he said. 

“That was matched with a dollar-for-dollar grant, and with that two years ago we sealed the ends of the runways where most people take off and land. 

“But that left us with 900 metres of gravel runway in the middle.” 

Mr Ponting said at the club’s annual 2013 fly-in event, state aviation minister Gordon Rich-Philips saw first-hand the need for a runway upgrade. 

“He told us there was money available for upgrades and encouraged us to apply,” Mr Ponting said. “It’s a really important asset. It’s the only airstrip in the whole Corangamite Shire. 

“The upgrade will allow for fixed wing Air Ambulance to land.” 

Line marking works will be completed over the coming days before the new runway is commissioned for use.

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