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Boonah Airfield Newsletter 3/2023

Updated: Nov 20, 2023

Hello everyone and welcome to the Boonah Airfield Newsletter number three for the year.

a wedge tailed eagle soaring with glider over Boonah Airfield

A young Wedge tailed Eagle decided to join Brett while thermalling over the airfield

In this edition

  • Thank you to Matt

  • Operation Mega Dam. How QFES and Boonah is getting ready for the upcoming bush fire season.

  • Our new mower has finally arrived.

  • James Stuarts' incredible story of how he overcame significant adversity to pursue his love of aviation.


A huge thank you to Matt (ARO) and his team of volunteers for the work you are doing to restore our little airfield to its former glory.

Of note Matt and his team has recently:

  • refurbished the primary and northern windsocks and surrounding areas.

  • laid and finished the centre of the runway with crusher dust.

  • filled the holes and large cracks that were forming over the length of the runway with deco.

  • filled and dressed the taxiways.

Your hard work is certainly noticed and appreciated, thank you.


Can you name this aircraft?

1. This aircraft flew for the first time on 30 July 1958.

2. The U.S. Army purchased 159 of the aircraft.

3. This aircraft was renowned for its rugged short take-off and landing capabilities.

4. The aircraft could carry 32 troops or two jeeps or similar light vehicles.

5. The RAAF ordered 18 aircraft in 1963, with further orders for seven in 1964 and four more aircraft ordered individually between 1968 and 1971.

6. This aircraft served with distinction in Vietnam, Pakistan, East Timor, Solomon Islands and many humanitarian missions internationally and civil aid within Australia.

7. They were retired from service in 2009.

The answer is at the end of the newsletter.........

Operation Mega Dam

The Boonah Airfield Committee was pleased to host Queensland Fire and Emergency Services on Sunday the 7th May 2023, for a major pre-fire season exercise. Operation Mega Dam was designed to test the equipment and capability of the support water tankers and portable collar dams that will operate from Boonah Airfield, if required this bushfire season.

Ultimate Aero provided space on their land that adjoins the airfield, for over 120 fire fighters and their trucks and the Boonah Airfield once again welcomed the water bombing aircraft and support groundcrews.

Boonah Airfield is the only approved airfield in the QFES South East division that can support aerial fire fighting capabilities, and with the black summer of 2019 still fresh in our minds, it provides a valuable asset for community protection.

Our new mower has finally arrived

Many thanks goes to Ray Squire who applied for and successfully received a grant to purchase the mower for BAI last year. Due to supply issues from the retailer, it has been delayed in getting here. However it arrived at the airfield this week and is currently being assembled and brought on line by our maintenance volunteers, Matt Edwards, Greg Davidson and Bill Finlen. The mower is a great asset that will be used to keep our airfield in top condition.

a ride on lawn mower


Below is a truly inspirational story, thanks for contributing James and best of luck with your aviation goals.

Hi my name is James (Jim) Stuart and I use to be a strong, healthy and fit 56-year-old long-haul truckdriver, (about 5kg over weight) but not too bad for someone that sat down for fourteen hours a day doing his job. Life was going along just fine living on the New South Wales Mid North Coast after building anew home with my darling wife Donna. We were both working flat out toward our retirement when an event of great life-changing proportions occurred.

On 1/1/2013 (yes New Year’s Day) after having twelve days vacation, I was getting ready to go back to work when I had a series of strokes. After thirty-six hours and four strokes, I was left paralysed down the right side and unable to speak. About two weeks after the strokes I was told by medical staff that on my release from the hospital, I would be going to a nursing home for the rest of my days… which I refused to accept.

Over the next two and a half years while living at home with my wife, I went through a number of rehabilitation programs with physiotherapy, hydrotherapy, occupational therapy and speech therapy at various hospitals and I made steady progress in my recovery. I also had acupuncture, remedial massage, Bowen therapy as well as shoulder surgery to repair a torn rotor cuff.

I had to accept that I had to live with my disabilities for the rest of my life so I took on the housekeeping as Donna was still working full time. It didn’t matter if it took me all day to hang the washing out or all week to vacuum the house as long as I was doing it. I didn’t do any cooking as I used to leave the gas cooktop on, but I would have everything on the bench so Donna would cook the evening meal.

In early December 2015 I was able to obtain a part-time job at a local club as a doorman and glass collector then eventually I was trained as a barman. On 17/12/2015, just short of three years after my strokes, I regained my motor vehicle licence which the doctors and I thought would never happen. I was also working for the Leukemia Foundation as a volunteer driver taking patients to and from their appointments . I also trained & worked as a Radio Operator with Marine Rescue as a volunteer.

On 03/09/2020 my wife and partner of 38 years passed away after a very short battle with cancer. I was devastated. Soon after her passing I then moved to live with my son and his family at Jimboomba QLD. After being there for a while I wondered what I could do to keep myself occupied. I decided to take an introductory flight with Airsport QLD at Boonah QLD to see if I would like to learn to fly a Light Sport Aircraft. I absolutely loved it! I have always had a great desire to learn to fly but life got in the way.

So my flying journey started on 06/02/2021 and on 13/02/2023 I was able to obtain my Recreational Pilots Certificate. The entire staff at Airsport QLD have been very professional, friendly & welcoming but most of all the instructors have been very patient. Thank you very much, Chris, Brett & Dave. My next goal in my flying adventure is to obtain a passenger endorsement and a cross-country endorsement.

Since my strokes, I have been working hard towards 100% recovery but whether I get there doesn’t really matter as long as I have that goal.


James (Jim) Stuart

The Quiz Answer

The DHC-4 Caribou

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:

Debby Burgess

My husband, Tim, and I moved to the Boonah area when we retired 5 years ago. As Tim had a longcareer in the RAAF we have lived in many different parts of our beautiful country. We have always enjoyed discovering new places and seeking new adventures, and our time here is no different. We both love this community and all it has to offer. As Tim is an aviation enthusiast, the Boonah Airfield played a big part in our decision when looking for a retirement location. The beautiful scenery, lovely natural environment, friendly welcoming people and closeness to our son and his family in Ipswich were the other factors that made this an ideal location for us.

As we have moved so extensively, I have had a varied career in many administrative, banking, finance and customer service roles in both the public and private sectors. I have been a volunteer in many different organisations throughout my life. My first ever committee position was in my early teens when I was a junior representative for Redcliffe Pony Club. I am currently the Secretary for Boonah District Meals on Wheels, I am a volunteer JP in both Boonah and Kalbar for the JP’s in the Community program, and a Boonah Land Care member.

I took on the role of Treasurer for BAI as I recognise the importance of the airfield to the community as a whole, and hope that I can contribute in a small way to its ongoing success.

While I am not an aviation enthusiast myself, I do enjoy our flights over such a scenic area in our Sling 2 aircraft. My happy place is anywhere in the Australian bush listening to our iconic birdsong, and possibly spotting a koala or a platypus in a stream at sunset. I feel very lucky that Tim and I can enjoy our retirement by combining his love of flying with my love of the Aussie bush whilst living relatively close to the city.

Thanks for reading this edition of the Boonah Airfield Newsletter!


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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