Flying high: Clare Valley Flying Club wins national award

Clare Valley Flying Group has soared to new heights this week, named the 2020 Aero Club of the Year in the Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) Wings Awards.

The awards, a collaboration between CASA, the Australian Division of the Royal Aeronautical Society and Australian Flying magazine, recognise the outstanding efforts of individuals and groups in Australian aviation.

In a year that saw more nominations for the awards than ever before, Clare Valley Flying Group was named winner of the Aero Club of the Year, partly for its significant contribution to the “advancement of flying in Australia over the past 12 months”.

Flying group treasurer Tony Smith said it was recognition of a collaborative effort that had seen the Clare Valley Aerodrome grow since 2009 from an empty paddock to a well-utilised, 1200-metre sealed runway with lighting to allow all-weather and night-time use.

“For the club, the award is recognition of how good our aerodrome is and all the hard work that has gone into it, not just by the committee and members but the community and local businesses that have supported us along the way, he said.

“We’ve had huge support from local businesses, donations of materials and in-kind labour as well as support from the Clare and Gilbert Valleys Council and grants from the Federal and State governments.

“The aerodrome is now used by the Royal Flying Doctor Service, flight training schools, as a base for the Country Fire Service water bombers in summer in conjunction with Aerotech who also operate their agricultural spraying from there, various helicopter operators including County Helicopters who moved their base to Clare, along with recreational users and tourism operators.

“To win Aero Club of the Year is a feather in our cap.”

The award will be officially presented to the group at an event planned for April.