RAAF Learmonth

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RAAF Learmonth
Learmonth Airport
IATA: LEAICAO: YPLM
Summary
Airport type Military/Public
Operator RAAF/Shire of Exmouth
Serves Exmouth, Western Australia
Elevation AMSL 19 ft / 6 m
Coordinates 22°14′09″S 114°05′19″E / 22.23583°S 114.08861°E / -22.23583; 114.08861Coordinates: 22°14′09″S 114°05′19″E / 22.23583°S 114.08861°E / -22.23583; 114.08861
Map
YPLM is located in Western Australia
YPLM
YPLM
Location in Western Australia
Runways
Direction Length Surface
m ft
18/36 3,047 9,997 Asphalt/Concrete
Statistics (2012/13[1])
Passengers 90,861
Aircraft movements 1,938
Sources: Australian AIP and aerodrome chart[2]
Passenger and aircraft movements from the BITRE[3]

RAAF Learmonth, also known as Learmonth Airport (IATA: LEAICAO: YPLM), is a joint use Royal Australian Air Force base and civil airport. It is located near the town of Exmouth on the north-west coast of Western Australia. As an RAAF base, Learmonth is one of the RAAF's three 'bare bases'. No Air Force units are currently based at Learmonth and it is maintained by a small caretaker staff during peacetime.

The RAAF also operates the Learmonth Air Weapons Range which covers about 18,954 ha (46,840 acres) and is located 30 km (19 mi) south-west of the airbase.[4]

History[edit]

During World War II a little-known landing field was constructed on the western shore of Exmouth Gulf. It was code-named "Potshot" and maintained by No. 76 Operational Base Unit. In the 1950s the landing field was further developed as a military base and named RAAF Learmonth in honour of Wing Commander Charles Learmonth DFC and Bar, who, while leading No. 14 Squadron, was killed in a flying accident off Rottnest Island, Western Australia on 6 January 1944.[5]

In the mid-1960s, the Federal Government gave its support to plans by the Chief of the Air Staff, Air Marshal Val Hancock, to redevelop Learmonth as a 'bare base', due to its proximity to Indonesia. Though F-111C's could have made a round-trip to Indonesia's capital, Jakarta, from RAAF Base Darwin, the route they took would have been very much limited by range. Learmonth's proximity added flexibility to the routes in and out, enhancing the likelihood of a successful strike.[6] The major work was undertaken by No. 5 Airfield Construction Squadron between 1971 and 1973.[7]

On 7 October 2008, Qantas Flight 72 made an emergency landing at RAAF Learmonth. On 1 June 2012, an AirAsia X flight to Perth made an emergency landing at RAAF Learmonth for fuel refilling.[citation needed] Learmonth is designated an emergency alternative airport in the case of fog or bad weather affecting Perth Airport.[8]

Airlines and destinations[edit]

Airlines Destinations
Qantas Perth

Statistics[edit]

Learmonth Airport was ranked 49th in Australia for the number of revenue passengers served in financial year 2012-2013.[1][3]

Annual passenger and aircraft statistics for Learmonth[3]
Year[1] Revenue passengers Aircraft movements
2001-02
13,498
742
2002-03
17,428
986
2003-04
18,840
751
2004-05
25,374
859
2005-06
30,292
884
2006-07
36,840
1,052
2007-08
44,674
1,390
2008-09
43,210
1,260
2009-10
45,667
1,264
2010-11
55,759
1,429
2011-12
87,260
1,667
2012-13
90,861
1,938

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ a b c Fiscal year 1 July - 30 June
  2. ^ YPLM – Learmonth (PDF). AIP En Route Supplement from Airservices Australia, effective 29 May 2014, Aeronautical Chart
  3. ^ a b c "Airport Traffic Data 1985-86 to 2012-13". Bureau of Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Economics (BITRE). March 2014. Retrieved 20 March 2014.  Refers to "Regular Public Transport (RPT) operations only"
  4. ^ "Commonwealth heritage places in Western Australia". Commonwealth heritage places. Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities. Retrieved 4 December 2010. 
  5. ^ Sunday Times - 18 January 1954, p.3 Retrieved 2011-11-02
  6. ^ Carlo Kopp (May 2003), Three decades of the F-111, DefenceTODAY 
  7. ^ Stephens, The Royal Australian Air Force, pp.283-286
  8. ^ http://www.perthnow.com.au/news/western-australia/first-steps-to-second-perth-airport/story-fnhocxo3-1226726415926#sthash.OlS6OyeP.dpuf

References[edit]

  • Learmonth at RAAF Museum
  • Stephens, Alan (2006) [2001]. The Royal Australian Air Force: A History. London: Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-555541-4.