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Boonah Airfield Newsletter 2/2023

Hello everyone and welcome to our second newsletter.

It has been great to have had such beautiful flying weather lately, certainly a contrast to last year when la Nina was producing higher than average rainfall across the east coast of Australia making aviating difficult. The seasons have finally started to change as we see more foggy mornings in the cooler air.

In this edition

  • What have BAI been doing to manage and improve our beautiful little airfield.

  • Improved airfield maintenance.

  • How are the lease renewal negotiations going with the Scenic Rim Regional Council?

  • A story about Brian's new aeroplane.



Can you name each of these aircraft?

  1. This aircraft is one of the longest production run of any aircraft in the world (and not the Antonov or C172).

  2. This aircraft was once called the "fork tailed doctor killer".

  3. This aircraft was flown solo around the world by Boonah's own Bill Finlen.

  4. In 1959 this aircraft was involved when "the day the music died".

The answers are at the end of the newsletter...


From the Management Committee

When the new BAI Management Team were elected, they set three immediate priorities that needed to be addressed urgently:

  1. Improving and maintaining a safe airfield environment.

  2. Engage in positive lease renewal negotiations with the Scenic Rim Regional Council.

  3. Developing a strategic plan for the airfield that will benefit all airfield users and the wider Scenic Rim community.

  • One of the first things that the management committee did was to appoint an Airfield Reporting Officer (ARO) who is responsible for ensuring that the airfield is maintained to the highest possible standards ensuring a safe environment for all of the activities that occur at the airfield. The ARO now has an approved budget to work within and has the authority to make immediate repairs and improvements to the runway as required. ARO Matt Edwards and his team of volunteers have been working hard to repair the surface of the runway, keep the airfield mown, remove large invasive tree species from the airfield boundary, replace the southern windsock and refurbish and repaint the northern windsock. There has been a marked improvement to the surface of the runway and Matt and his team are providing great advice to the BAI management committee, to ensure the continued improvement and safety at Boonah Airfield.

  • The management committee has also formed a Lease Renewal sub-committee chaired by Tim Burgess. The current lease for the airfield will expire in 2025 after BAI exercised its five year option at the conclusion of the previous lease. The lease renewal sub-committee has done a significant amount of work developing a proposal to the council that will hopefully result in a mutually beneficial lease that will provide the local community with a crucially valuable asset benefitting the Scenic Rim as a whole. We would like to thank Councillor Marshall Chalk who has been facilitating our contact with the Scenic Rim Regional Council. We look forward to meeting with the council officers in the near future to negotiate the best outcome for the community. Tim would also like to thank the members of the community and adjoining landholders for their feedback that was provided.

  • Lastly, a Strategic Planning sub-committee is currently being formed and will bedeveloping, in consultation with the airfield users and the wider community, a long term strategic plan for the airfield. This is a huge process that if done carefully, will provide a solid guide for the future of Boonah Airfield.


The Scamp called ‘Casper’

You might have seen a new little maroonbi-plane gracing our skies over Boonah. Brian Deveson has finished his Aerosport "Scamp". Brian's Scamp story started after the completion of his Little Baker Supercat (called ‘Slim’) restoration, which had been an unwanted, unloved plane in desperate need of repairs and TLC. After the completion of the restoration and with only six hours flying time in it, he wanted to start another project. Obviously a glutton for punishment, he immediately started to look for another 'project' to keep himself busy. In the aviation classifieds he found a 'Whitney Scamp' located at Bacchus Marsh that was in need of a bit of love and attention. Once the deal was done, he asked Nigel from Ultimate Aero if he would help and mentor him through the refurbishment process. As with most aviation projects the simplest of jobs always seem to become very complex and time consuming and the project quickly became a rebuild. So, after countless hours of work and 'beating his head against the wall' working on the Scamp, the time came to do the test flight. Weight and balance done, engine now running great, airframe checked over and over. All control wires were connected and tested. RAA paperwork was competed, and the test flight program approved. The engine run up was done, and controls checked with all working great. Nigel from Ultimate Aero buckled in, and completed a couple of runs up and down the runway. He lined up for what was thought to be another run. The engine roared to max power as before, then to Brian's surprise ‘Casper’ was airborne and climbing out. Brian's comment was, "Holy crap, we've done it!". The Scamp flew and looked fantastic.

Well done Brian and all involved. For the whole unedited story click here>


Quiz Answers:

The answer for all the questions is the Beechcraft Bonanza. Amazingly it has been in production from 1947 - present!!

The aircraft pictured above is a Beechcraft V35 Bonanza, VH-TYE which was flown solo around the world by our very own Bill Finlen. An amazing adventure and adventurer.

(Thanks for the question Rob)


The BAI Management Committee

President: Melanie Perkins Vice President: Kathy Baburin Secretary: Jeremy Thompson Treasurer: Deb Burgess Airfield Reporting Officer: Matt Edwards Get to know your committee. Each edition I will introduce some of our management committee: Kathy Baburin Kathy and her family have lived in Boonah for 25 years. She is an active member of the wider community, and has joined the BAI Management Committee as Vice President to support users of the Boonah Airfield, as well as the local residents. Kathy sees great benefit in the Boonah Airfield as a community asset, and as commercial hub for tourism, business and employment.

Kathy has had a long involvement with local region, from being an elected councillor on both the Boonah Shire Council and Scenic Rim Regional Council, to now Chairing the Scenic Rim and Ipswich Inland Rail Community Consultation Committee and as a member of Urban Utilities (water provider) Community Consultative Reference Group.

Kathy works for a national company E C Birch as an Area Manager, and continues to work in her studio as a well-known dressmaker. Jeremy Thompson I first visited Boonah Airfield back in 1996 when I was briefly a member of the gliding club. It was a very different paddock back then and the gliding club seemed to be the only show in town. I was eager to spoil myself with some flying at the time having recently lost my wife to brain cancer. I remember being amazed that we could even glide down toward Lake Maroon and back. How was that possible? So little did I know about the sport. However, while I loved the flying I couldn't manage the time needed and thought myself a poor club mate and left.

Fast forward 20 years, a career as a government bureaucrat behind me, having worked in five countries on three different continents, a family of three successfully raised and a lot more free time on my hands, I rekindled my love of gliding and have made some friends along the way.

In addition to flying I'm also Sailing Secretary for the the South Brisbane Sailing Club, Deputy Chair of a human research ethics committee at UQ, and Treasurer of Boonah Gliding Club. People keep asking me "are you retired" and I keep replying "what's that?".


Boonah Airfield

Home to Aviation in the Scenic Rim


Postal Address:

PO Box 385

Boonah  Qld  4310


Phone:  1800 512 487


Degen Road, Dugandan,

Queensland  4310

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