|IATA: CA3 – ICAO: YCAB
|Operator||Caboolture Aero Club Inc|
|Serves||Moreton Bay Region, Queensland|
|Elevation AMSL||40 ft / 12 m|
Caboolture Airfield is an aerodrome catering to general aviation and ultralight aircraft located in Caboolture, Queensland, approximately 55 km (34 mi) north of the state capital Brisbane, adjacent to the Bruce Highway. The airfield is maintained and operated by the Caboolture Aero Club Incorporated and shares a large training area with nearby Caloundra Airport and Redcliffe Airport. The airfield is a popular site for the restoration of historic aircraft and a number of associated businesses are located onsite.
History and overview
An airstrip was first established at Caboolture prior to 1965 by Norman Douglas Thurecht who would later be a founding member of the Redcliffe Aero Club, after being denied permission to construct an airport at the present site of the Redcliffe Aerodrome owing to a lack of radar coverage in an area with close proximity to the busy Archerfield and Eagle Farm airports serving the city of Brisbane. Following the construction of Redcliffe Aerodrome, the Caboolture airstrip was abandoned and its operations moved to the new facility.
The present site of Caboolture Airfield is held by lease from the Queensland Government to Moreton Bay Regional Council. Since its inception, the Caboolture Aero Club has operated the site on the council's behalf. The Brisbane Valley Gliding Club began operating from the airfield circa 1990, with the club changing its name to Caboolture Gliding Club in May 1991 and establishing its main base at Caboolture.
The current lease arrangement for the airfield land is due to expire in 2018. The future of the airport beyond this time is unclear, however it has been suggested that a new facility be built to the north in the Sunshine Coast region, allowing the relocation of operations and closure of Caboolture and nearby Caloundra Airport, an option which is opposed by the Caboolture Aero Club.
The primary user of the airport is the Caboolture Aero Club, however several other flying clubs also are based at the field. These include the Caboolture Gliding Club and Caboolture Microlights, a Recreational Aviation Australia accredited flight training organisation. Skydive Caboolture also operates from the airport. Fixed wing and helicopter flight training is available onsite through several providers including Airwork Helicopters and Caboolture Recreational Aviation.
In addition to general aviation, recreational and flight training users, the airport is a popular facility for the servicing and restoration of vintage aircraft. A number of organisations operate from Caboolture, including the Beaufort Restoration Group and Sandora Aviation Pty Ltd. The vintage aviation community has attracted fly-ins and airshow events to the airport, notably hosting the Queensland Vintage Aeroplane Group's Festival of Flight in 2001 and 2011. The annual Caboolture Air Show is another popular event.
The airfield is also home to the Caboolture Warplane Museum, which maintains a small collection of warbird and other vintage aircraft in flying condition. Currently, the collection includes a P-51D Mustang and CAC Wirraway as well as a French built World War I Nieuport 17 fighter, as well as displays of aviation memorabilia and aircraft engines. Plans are currently well advanced for the establishment of a major museum at the airport site to be known as the Australian Aviation Defence and Heritage Museum which would incorporate the collection of the Caboolture Warplane Museum as well as other small collections around Australia to showcase the history of military aviation across the Army, Navy and Air Force.
The airfield has two grass runways, both of which operate with a displaced threshold to allow aircraft to sufficiently clear the Bruce Highway and local roads. The primary strip is 12/30 which has an available landing distance measuring 1,210 m (3,970 ft). A short sealed area exists at the runway 12 threshold stretching approximately 250m. A secondary strip aligned 06/24 has an available distance of 821 m (2,694 ft) for landings. Use of runway 24 is generally discouraged due to the proximity of Caboolture Hospital on this heading. Aircraft refuelling is available. There is no control tower at the airport and pilots are required to co-ordinate aircraft movements using a Common Traffic Advisory Frequency (CTAF). The nearest radio navigation aid for aircraft is the Brisbane VOR/DME installation, 18.9 nautical miles (35.0 km) to the south.
While the airport charges no landing fees for visiting aircraft, a number of hazards exist which make Caboolture challenging for pilots who are unfamiliar with the facilities. Significant bird and wildlife hazards exist on the runways, due in part to the airfield not being fenced and in close proximity to a landfill site. During periods of heavy rain, the unsealed taxiways are prone to becoming waterlogged with a possibility of aircraft becoming bogged.
Accidents and incidents
- On 1 October 2012, vintage de Havilland DH.84 Dragon Riama, based at Caboolture crashed 14 km (8.7 mi) north of Borumba Dam on the Sunshine Coast killing all six people on board. At the time Riama was one of only four airworthy examples of the DH.84 in the world. The aircraft was returning to Caboolture from an airshow at Monto. The final accident report by the Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) was released on 19 December 2013. The ATSB stated that the pilot was not qualified in, and the aircraft not equipped for instrument flight and "... the pilot radioed air traffic control (ATC) and requested navigation assistance, advising that the aircraft was in cloud." They found that: "With no or limited visual references available in and near cloud, it would have been very difficult for the pilot to maintain control of the aircraft. After maintaining control in such conditions for about an hour, and being unable to navigate away from the mountain range, the pilot most likely became spatially disoriented and lost control of the aircraft before it impacted the ground."
- On 22 March 2014 a Cessna 206 belonging to Adrenalin Skydivers crashed shortly after take-off and caught fire, killing the five occupants on board.
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- [dead link]
- "Investigation: AO-2012-130 - Collision with terrain involving de Havilland DH-84 Dragon, VH-UXG, 36 km SW of Gympie, Queensland on 1 October 2012". Atsb.gov.au. 19 December 2013. Retrieved 23 March 2014.
- "Five dead as skydiving flight crashes and burns at Caboolture airfield". The Sunday Mail. Queensland. 22 March 2014. Retrieved 23 March 2014.
- Anthony Gough, Kay Dibben, Thomas Chamberlin. "Investigation: AO-2014-053 - Collision with terrain involving Cessna U206G, VH-FRT, Caboolture Airfield, Qld on 22 March 2014". Atsb.gov.au. Retrieved 23 March 2014.