Becker to keep flying in neighbourly deal with council

TAKING FLIGHT: Mayor Gerard O’Connell talks with helicopter pilot Mike Becker at Hervey Bay airport as he and other councillors prepare to take a flight.
TAKING FLIGHT: Mayor Gerard O’Connell talks with helicopter pilot Mike Becker at Hervey Bay airport as he and other councillors prepare to take a flight. Alistair Brightman

BECKER Helicopters will continue to use Fraser Coast airspace for training purposes, but restrictions will be placed on the business to reduce the noise which had angered people in the community.

Becker chief pilot Mike Becker said a Fly

Neighbourly Agreement would be worked out between the business and the council so the noise does not impact as much on people.

Mr Becker met with the council yesterday and admitted there had been faults on both sides when the business started using the airspace.

He believes people should have been notified before his business started using the airport for training flights in the area.

That would have given the council and the business a chance to gauge the number of complaints and it would have alerted people to what was happening, Mr Becker said.

He said he and the councillors had agreed to clean the slate and start afresh.

Mr Becker said the meeting had allowed everyone to get a handle on "what went on" and got everyone back on the same page.

A Fly Neighbourly Agreement would allow the business to occupy airspace without disrupting the community, Mr Becker said.

The deal would limit how late at night the helicopters could operate and where they could fly.

Mr Becker said an agreement was not yet in place.

But Fraser Coast mayor Gerard O'Connell said the agreement would be worked out as soon as possible.

With the relationship between Becker Helicopters and the Fraser Coast council re-established, that would also open the door to possible expansion into the region down the track.

Yesterday the councillors were also invited to Hervey Bay Airport to experience flying in a chopper, as well as the noise, for themselves.

Cr O'Connell and councillors Phil Truscott, Robert Garland, Stuart Taylor and Daniel Sanderson went to the airport, but Darren Everard, Chris Loft, George Seymour, Rolf Light, James Hansen and Trevor McDonald were notable absences on the tarmac.

When asked if their absences had any significance, Cr O'Connell laughed off the suggestion.

He said the meeting with Mr Becker had been very productive and that it had addressed a whole range of issues.

"It was an opportunity for councillors to hear answers to questions and seek and receive clarification," Cr O'Connell said.

Topics:  becker helicopters fraser coast regional council

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