International students will soon learn to fly in Leigh Creek’s clear skies and uncrowded air space through a trial by Parafield Airport-based pilot training school, Flight Training Adelaide.

The six-week trial commences on 31 July and will allow FTA to deliver part of its commercial pilot training course in Leigh Creek.

With a contribution of $40,000 towards the trial, the South Australian Government will provide access to upgraded facilities at the Leigh Creek Airport to allow for year-round pilot training in the Northern Flinders Ranges region.

The trial will include 12 student pilots, four airplanes and four staff using the region’s premier, all weather airport with two runways and refuelling facilities.

The Outback Communities Authority runs the airport and it has recently modernised its departure lounge and training rooms, with students and staff to stay at Leigh Creek Outback Resort’s refurbished accommodation.

Background

The South Australian Government is supporting Leigh Creek to remain open for business beyond July 2018 providing essential services for people both in the town and surrounding communities.

The trial supports recommendations of the Leigh Creek Futures report, released in June 2016 by former South Australian Education and Tourism Minister Dr Jane-Lomax Smith.

FTA has been training commercial pilots for global carriers since 1982.

The management of the Leigh Creek Township transitioned from Flinders Power (formerly Alinta Energy) to the South Australian Government on 1 January 2017.

The OCA has taken over municipal responsibilities for Leigh Creek.

This airport is currently used by the outback mail run, business and industrial experts visiting the mine site, increasingly bespoke tourism businesses and was recently the base for a Federal Government-run airborne geophysical survey.

Quotes attributable to Employment Minister Kyam Maher

Leigh Creek is a wonderful tourism destination and forms the gateway to some of the most spectacular country in South Australia.

The addition of Flight Training Adelaide to Leigh Creek will provide a new commercial opportunity for the town and utilise its high quality airport and runway.

The trial will help FTA to develop their capacity to meet the growing demand for pilots and provides an ideal environment for early stage pilot training.

Quotes attributable to Regional Development Minister Geoff Brock

I am delighted that the trial will be the first step in bringing international students to the area so they can experience the outback.

This project is a great outcome for Leigh Creek and will attract more people to the town, bringing much-needed economic support throughout the year to the local businesses that have really being doing it tough, and are working hard to see their community thrive.

Quotes attributable to Flight Training Adelaide Managing Director Pine Pienaar

What makes Leigh Creek attractive as a training venue is the world class runway, uncongested airspace and a higher probability of good weather all year round.

The added value it offers our international students is experiencing the outback and Flinders Ranges and a raft of different leisure and sporting activities while in South Australia.

Quotes attributable to Outback Communities Authority Chair Cecilia Woolford

The Leigh Creek Airport is a remarkable facility which is admired by all who visit, and we will continue to seize these opportunities, bringing new money into the region and adding to the vibrancy of the community.

We are thrilled that FTA has chosen Leigh Creek as a base for their trial and we trust that the students will enjoy exploring the outback and its many attractions from the sky.