Frogs Hollow flight college objections 'unfounded', SAA says

This aerial map shows where the proposed flight college at Frogs Hollow would be.

This aerial map shows where the proposed flight college at Frogs Hollow would be.

Frogs Hollow flight school still awaiting take-off

Wolumla Residents Action Group dusted off

AIRCRAFT at Frogs Hollow will be quieter and produce less pollution than cars on the nearby highway according to the company behind a proposal to build a flight college at the grass airfield near Bega.

Sports Aviation Australia (SAA) is pushing ahead with its search for investors as an already-extended deadline for a purchase option on the land approaches at the end of this month.

SAA spokesman Norm Boyle said recent objections to the proposal for a flight school for Chinese student pilots were unfounded.

“We’ve done extensive modelling on take-off plans, with heights at each spot and decibel levels,” Mr Boyle said.

“Those reports are based on a Cessna with 200 horsepower – we’re using aircraft with 100 horsepower so our motors will be even quitter than computer models.

“The highway will be noisier than our airplanes,” he said.

One of the concerns raised by nearby residents and landowners is the Newlyns Estate just south of the large land parcel on which the Frogs Hollow airfield is located.

Mr Boyle said, for the most part, the training flights carried out by prospective student pilots would be to the north.

“Around 80-85 per cent of work done will be to the north and most air work is done between 4000-10,000 feet.

“But if it’s to the south because of wind conditions, we will be way above Newlyns before reaching it.

“Our aircraft can take off within 100 metres.

“We will be at 800 feet before the end of the runway and then it’s another 300 metres or so to the start of the estate.

“Our feeling is that Newlyns Estate is well away [from the runway].”

Other suggestions thrown forward by proposal detractors include why the idea for flight training has not been considered for Merimbula Airport.

“The infrastructure at Merimbula is not suitable,” he said.

“Frogs Hollow is used a lot more for training than people realise.

“Recreational aviation is not really suited to tar runways, grass is preferred.

“As well as that, we couldn’t fit our planned infrastructure at Merimbula Airport, the student accommodation and so on,” he said.

“Emerging countries have a thirst for knowledge.

“The economics of jumping on that idea are well proven, but regional centres are not getting a lot of that.

“This will benefit the whole region.”

While discussion for and against the flight college proposal continues via several Facebook pages (see breakout), it is not currently an official development application before the council.

Discussing plans for a Chinese flight school at Frogs Hollow in February 2015 are 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 in February 2015 are 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.

Allegations against SAA's Andrew Stoner 

FORMER NSW National Party leader and deputy premier Andrew Stoner has been a supporter of the Frogs Hollow flight college since it was launched in February 2015.

More recently, visitors to Sports Aviation Australia’s (SAA) website would have noticed Mr Stoner has now been listed as a company director.

Mr Stoner has been in national news of late with suggestions he should be referred to ICAC over dealings he had while in politics that are allegedly proving favourable to him personally since his retirement.

When asked of those allegations, SAA corporate consultant Norm Boyle said he was not in a position to speak on Mr Stoner’s other dealings through his private consultancy firm, but that approval had been granted by the NSW Parliamentary Ethics Committee for his appointment to the SAA board.

Heated debate over college on Facebook 

WHILE the flight college proposal is yet to be even lodged as a development application, debate both for and against continues apace on Facebook.

On the pro side, the “Friends of the Bega Flight College Proposal – SAA” Facebook page has 130 Likes as of this week.

It includes snippets of information from Sports Aviation Australia’s proposal for the site and claims it is “to inform local and interested members of the public on factual information”.

For the negative, “NO Frogs Hollow Chinese Flying School” has 87 Likes and two or three recurring contributors.

It purports to inform the public about the “proposed new Chinese Student Flying School, about to devastate our lifestyles!” and has admittedly blocked people who don’t share their outrage at the flight college plans.