The way is being cleared for houses with hangars for planes to be built at Masterton’s Hood Aerodrome but it has yet to be clarified if having them there will threaten events like Wings Over Wairarapa.
Masterton District Council yesterday considered designating 4ha of land it has purchased on Manaia Rd to the west of the airport terminal for aerodrome and recreation purposes – an airpark precinct – so the Vintage Aviation Hub can be built there.
This land has no designation.
It’s also considering changing the designation of a second piece of land at the aerodrome to that same designation so leasehold hangars and hangar homes can be built there.
It is known as the Griffiths Block, taking the name of the family that once farmed there, and is south of the terminal.
The Vintage Aviation Hub is to go in at 10 Manaia Rd but a report to Masterton District Council says it could also be used for hangar homes if the hub doesn’t go ahead.
A notice of requirement published earlier was objected to by residents Megan and Allan Flynn, who had issues with stormwater discharges and how it would affect their property.
Tom Williams said hangar homes could threaten the future of Wings Over Wairarapa, because display aircraft cannot fly low over a residential area.
The report to council says at present there are two major aviation events at the aerodrome, but more could be held in the future. Wings over Wairarapa is held biennially and the National Aerobatic Competitions held annually.
Under Civil Aviation rules, Civil Aviation Authority authorisation is required to allow airshow and aerobatic activity below minimum prescribed heights.
One of the matters that the CAA takes into account is whether the airshow and aerobatic activity would be over an area considered to be a congested area, which is defined as any area that is substantially in use for residential, industrial, commercial, or recreational purposes.
In April, the aerodrome manager sought clarification from the CAA as to whether the hangar homes, as sited in the indicative concept plan, could be interpreted to be a congested area.
CAA said the determination of whether an area is considered to be a congested area is a matter to be decided on a case-by-case basis. The main question is whether the hangar homes will be “substantially in use for residential, industrial, commercial or recreational purposes” at the time of a proposed aviation event.
CAA also said more information would be needed but its initial feedback was that any buildings sited within any buffer areas of the aerobatic/high speed display line would likely have a negative effect on airshow activity.
The authority says a full aeronautical study would be necessary to make a definitive determination.
The confirmed designation would have a lapse period of 10 years from inclusion in the Wairarapa Combined District Plan.
It’s suggested that hangar homes may help to make airfields viable.