Weather cameras are installed at hundreds of airports across Australia and are of great assistance to pilots if they wish to get a visual of the airport prior to landing.
Local pilot, Martin Higgins, said the shire had been asked to install the cameras 12 to 18 months ago.
“It’s such a simple thing to do,” Mr Higgins said.
“Especially when there are so many CCTV cameras at the airport, installing them would bring
us up to speed with everyone else.”
East Gippsland Shire Council (EGSC) operates aerodromes at Orbost, Mallacoota and Bairnsdale.
EGSC general manager assets and environment, Fiona Weigall, said council was investigating installing weather cameras for pilots using the Bairnsdale Aerodrome.
“The cameras are not a mandatory requirement and are not installed at all airports,” Ms Weigall said.
“They are an additional ‘tool’ used by pilots to assist with their decision making.
Tooradin pilot, Brent Christensen, said often two or three cameras were installed, focused in different directions, picking up the wind sock as well.
“The airport weather cameras have great practical use for pilots, allowing them to make economic, safety and security decisions, as well as assisting with weather watch, including conditions like fog, or if other services are out,” Mr Christensen said.
Mr Christensen, a pilot of 20 years, works in information technology (IT), and said weather cameras were used by the Victorian Police, the Australian Maritime Safety Authority, the Bureau of Meteorology, Australian Transport and Safety Bureau and Air Ambulance Victoria.
“The camera technology is simple to install and can cost well under one thousand dollars per airport depending on the type of installation. They are used practically and do save thousands of dollars as people make smart decisions using the cameras,” he said.
According to Mr Higgins, a couple of weeks ago, three young pilots from Sydney University approached Bairnsdale Airport from Albury, and the Australian Weather Information Service was down.
If Bairnsdale’s airport had weather cameras the young pilots would have seen the conditions at the airport and may not have landed.
Local pilot, Rob Taylor, said it would also be beneficial for local pilot representatives to be able to advise local council on airport issues from a practical operational perspective.
Deputy mayor, Cr Ben Buckley, still a licensed aviator, said weather cameras would be a marvellous thing and very handy for pilots flying in the area, and could possibly save millions of dollars.
“I am all in favour of weather cameras being installed at our airports as soon as possible,” Mr Buckley said.
“Some users of Bairnsdale Aerodrome have provided feedback to council on using app technology, which provides live weather feeds and video footage to an app accessible by pilots.
“This can be used in conjunction with the Bureau of Meteorology weather app from the automated weather station to provide pilots with access to local weather and flying conditions.
Ms Weigall said Bairnsdale Aerodrome had recently been upgraded in respect to drainage and the installation of closed-circuit television (CCTV) cameras and security gates and fencing.
PICTURED: Local charter pilot and instructor, Martin Higgins, met with Bairnsdale flying community members Vin Martin, Rodney Stewart, Bob Docking, Leonie and Rod Taylor and John and Mouse Chester, last week at the Bairnsdale Airport, where they discussed the lack of weather cameras at East Gippsland airports, including Bairnsdale, Orbost and Mallacoota.