Wolumla's Chinese Flight School in holding pattern

Discussing plans for a Chinese flight school at Frogs Hollow earlier this year, former Deputy Premier Andrew Stoner (second from right) and company directors of Sports Aviation Australia (from left) Caroline Hong, Mitch Boyle, Jason Parker, Jason Ryan and Brad Stebbing.
Discussing plans for a Chinese flight school at Frogs Hollow earlier this year, former Deputy Premier Andrew Stoner (second from right) and company directors of Sports Aviation Australia (from left) Caroline Hong, Mitch Boyle, Jason Parker, Jason Ryan and Brad Stebbing.

The proposed Chinese flight school at Frogs Hollow airfield remains in a holding pattern after directors of Sports Aviation Australia (SAA), the company which wants to set up the school, said it needed more time to raise the finances.

The project, which targets the growing interest in aviation in China, was first mooted in March this year with owner of Frogs Hollow, Eric Johnson hoping to sell the airfield to SAA. 

SAA directors, Caroline Hong, Mitch Boyle, Jason Parker, Jason Ryan and Brad Stebbing, approached Mr Johnson and took out an option on the airfield until June 30.

Mr Johnson has been keen to sell his property after owning it for around 49 years and admitted that it had been on the market for some time. It has always been an airfield and in the intervening years, Mr Johnson has added further parcels of land.

However June 30 came and went and no offer was received from SAA for the land.

Mr Johnson told the News Weekly: “We had a meeting last Friday (July 3) and they said they wanted more time to raise the money. They seem to think they have a positive response from investors but need to find some more (investors),” Mr Johnson said.

He has extended the option until the end of August but that does not prohibit him from conducting any discussions, with an alternative buyer in the meantime, he said.

According the SAA’s website, the company plans to run its “first squadron late 2015”.

But talk of a possible flight school has angered Wolumla locals with Jeff Smith concerned that local people have not been approached to discuss the possible impacts.

Mr Smith is worried that the flight school will be a source of both noise and air pollution.

“This will have a major effect on our lifestyle,” Mr Smith said.

“Basically they will be buzzing over our heads all day doing touchdowns and power takeoffs.”

Recently project consultant, Norm Boyle, said: “Each student will spend around 440 hours in college classrooms and only 40 hours will be flight time.”

However Mr Smith said that each squadron would require many hours in total in the air making it unacceptably noisy and disrupting the quiet of their environment.

“Why are they considering buying Frogs Hollow, why wouldn’t they lease and work with Merimbula airport,” Mr Smith questioned.

The News Weekly contacted SAA director, Caroline Hong, who referred our questions to project consultant, Norm Boyle but we have received no further comments from the company.

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