The battle for Tumut
Tumut Airport’s unique location resulted in it becoming a key base for aerial firefighters during Australia’s recent bushfire crisis, saving properties and lives. But it’s weak and weary runway sees aircraft unable to fill their water tanks to capacity and take off, while water has to be carted in from the main street, with no water line to the aerodrome. Yet, with an upcoming byelection, Tumut’s needs are finally being heard. Hannah Dowling investigates.
Tumut Airport sits at the north-western foothills of the Snowy Mountains in regional NSW, around 300 kilometres south-west of Sydney and just 80 kilometres west of Canberra. Once used as a link in RPT routes, the airport is now home to a local aeroclub, and otherwise serves mostly recreational pilots. The sleepy airport recently made headlines, in light of its critical role played in the recent devastating bushfire season that ravaged through the nation, and an unfortunate flaw in the airport’s capacity.
To learn more, Australian Aviation spoke with Snowy Valleys Council deputy mayor John Larter. Cr Larter has been passionately outspoken about the state of Tumut Airport, and what needs to be done to ensure the airport can continue to serve its local communities in the combat of catastrophic bushfires well into the future. In addition to being the deputy mayor of the Snowy Valleys Council, Cr Larter also serves as the president of the Aerodrome Committee. Further, he has also spent time working as a paramedic in the area with Air Ambulance and holds both a private pilot licence and a commercial helicopter licence. As such, he is very acquainted with the Tumut Aerodrome, and more qualified than most to discuss its past, present and future.
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