27 June 2021

Hood Aerodrome plans

I missed seeing these last month...

More questions were raised than answered at a community workshop about the future of Hood Aerodrome held at Masterton War Memorial Stadium on Monday night. Three concepts were presented to an audience of about 80. Each of the concepts would require changes to Manaia Rd, which ran roughly perpendicular to the existing runway. Concepts 1 and 2 would divert Manaia Rd around the proposed runway extension. Concept 3 would require the diversion of Manaia Rd through residential areas to Andrew St in Kuripuni, or the closure of Manaia Rd. All the proposals involved a lengthening and widening of the existing runway to allow for expanded services. Representatives from independent design and engineering consultancy Beca, who presented the options, recommended a runway length of 1280m. “None of these options work without changing the road,” Beca landscape architect Craig Pocock said. Manaia Rd residents present at the workshop said they were given three working days’ notice before the proposals went before the public meeting. “All of these plans are getting moved on to our front lawn, basically,” one resident said. The workshop came nearly 10 months after Finance Minister Grant Robertson announced a $10 million funding package for the airport. Masterton District Council would supplement the central government funding with an additional $7 million. MDC project manager Martyn Round said he had talked about plans to extend the runway with all affected landowners last week. Council spokesman Steve Rendle confirmed on Tuesday landowners had been told of the potential for land acquisition last week. Another attendee asked what would happen to the $17 million total funding for the project if nothing ended up going ahead. Round said some of the money had already been committed to hangar developments in the next five years. Concept 2 would also require operational changes to air show Wings Over Wairarapa to free up land for development south of the airfield. Wings Over Wairarapa general manager Jenny Gasson said she had held several conversations with Beca about the proposed changes. “It would be pretty accurate to say that we’re not there yet. It certainly presents a lot of challenges for us.” However, Gasson said Wings was not saying no to any of the proposals and would work with whatever was decided. Masterton district councillor Bex Johnson said the purpose of Monday’s meeting was to gather the community’s ideas to help develop a master plan for Hood Aerodrome. “Hood is a key asset to the council and our community, and work is required to bring it up to standard,” Johnson said. “We also want to make sure we are ready for any future opportunities.” The plan would look at least 20 years into the future and shape how any aerodrome development would unfold. “We don’t want to do something now that prevents or precludes us doing something in the future,” Johnson said.

Source : https://times-age.co.nz/aerodrome-masterplan-landowners-share-fear-of-flying-blind/, 13 May 2021

A Masterton pilot associated with Hood Aerodrome for 70 years says plans to extend its runway are ill-advised. His call to halt the extension comes after nearby residents expressed frustration with the project at a master plan meeting on Monday. The pilot, who asked not to be named, said there had been a “shroud of secrecy” over plans for Hood Aerodrome, with landowners kept out of the loop. “This sort of secrecy is not on … no one was consulted. When all is said and done, we as ratepayers, me as a property investor on the aerodrome, none of us knew about this. It just came out of the blue.” At last Monday’s community meeting, Beca representatives Adam Vorstermans and Rick Pemberton presented their reasoning for a runway length of 1280 metres. They said the length would be suitable for small commercial airlines using Saab 340 and Q300 aircraft. The pilot said extending the runway would be futile because he did not expect commercial airlines to return to Masterton. He said many airlines were also condensing their fleets, and production of aircraft such as the Saab 340 had been discontinued. “There’s not going to be one little bit of benefit to Joe Public in the town … we’re doing it to provide for aircraft that are disappearing out of the skies.” Vostermans and Pemberton had proposed three different concepts for the aerodrome’s development. Concepts 1 and 2 would divert Manaia Rd around the extended runway, while Concept 3 would divert Manaia Rd to the north to connect with Andrew St in Kuripuni. While some Manaia Rd residents said they had received little warning of the plans, other residents were less concerned by the proposed changes. National Party Wairarapa candidate and Manaia Rd resident Mike Butterick said he would accept whatever proposal was chosen. “If we need to have a bit of change, that’s the way it is. Whether they block Manaia Rd off or do a loop … if it’s what we need to do for growth in Masterton then so be it.” Butterick said the aerodrome master plan had to look a long way into the future if it would have a practical use. “There’s no point, for example, in plonking a whole lot of houses on the land on the northern end and then deciding that we need more capacity at the airport.” Butterick said although it was convenient for residents to drive the short distance up Manaia Rd into town, a detour to Andrew St would not add much travel time. However, Butterick said there could be issues for residents of Andrew St and surrounding areas, who would experience higher traffic volumes, including logging trucks, passing through. “I would imagine they’re probably not going to be super impressed, but we’ve got to make long-term plans and allow for that growth.” Butterick said the planning process needed to include strategies to mitigate the effect of any increase in traffic. Fellow Manaia Rd resident and 2016 Masterton District Council candidate Ross Cottle said he was not concerned about a diversion to Manaia Rd. “It won’t particularly worry me if they put a bend in it and we have to go around it – that’s probably not a big deal.” Cottle supported the project but worried excessive traffic would pass through Kuripuni if Concept 3 went ahead. “That would push a lot of big logging and stock trucks through town, and I think that would be a very silly idea.” Cottle said, overall, the development would benefit Masterton residents, including business people who could use it for travel. “It won’t become fully evident or used in the next 10 or 15 years, but I certainly do see it as being a plus for Wairarapa generally.” MDC Hood Aerodrome Governance Group chairwoman Bex Johnson said elected members of the council received the master plan concepts only two days before they went public. “They were shared with property owners over the same period, ie before they were made public.” Beca had been openly discussing possible requirements with operators and stakeholders since March, she said, but there was little to show property owners before the draft concepts were finalised. The plan aimed to ensure it delivered maximum value to ratepayers over time, Johnson said. “The master plan aims to look 20 or 30 years into the future and ensure that what we do enables development, rather than creating obstacles for projects we haven’t yet envisaged. “There are exciting opportunities to make Hood a true community facility that delivers jobs and economic growth, but it requires proper planning.” Johnson said Hood Aerodrome was one of the council’s key assets and said the infrastructure work proposed for the next five years was more than just the runway extension. MDC chief executive Kath Ross agreed, saying while the announcement of government funding was made on July 15 last year, the concepts were finalised only on May 4, 2021. “Once these had been received, meetings were immediately set up by council staff to share the concepts with individual landowners whose properties might be affected. This took place over the following few days.” The concepts were made public on the council’s website on May 7 to allow them to be considered before the community workshop on May 10, she said. Ross confirmed council staff met all five landowners whose properties would potentially be affected. Beca had also been working with operators and other stakeholders since March to gather information used to develop the three concepts, she said. “This engagement has included individual discussions, group meetings, and invitations for email submissions.” The Strategic Advisory Group for Hood Aerodrome had also been involved in the process.

Source : https://times-age.co.nz/hood-plan-flies-in-the-face-of-reason-says-pilot/, 20 May 2021


  1. My understanding is that, while additional runway length at Hood Aerodrome could be desirable, the main issue is with the width of the sealed runway. It basically needs to be widened, because it doesn't comply with the standards required, which is holding Hood back from becoming a licensed airport.

    However, there is a lot of ignorance out there. I've seen some really whacko letters to the editor of the Wairarapa Times-Age, including one from a former Greater Wellington Regional Councillor (who was also Chairman of the Wairarapa Branch of the NZ National Party way back), who claimed in a letter that there is nothing wrong with the runway at Hood Aerodrome, because Boeing 737s have operated into and out of there heaps of times. My jaw dropped when I read that piece of rubbish, because I very much doubt it would be possible to land a 737 at Masterton without either running off the side of the narrow runway, or almost certainly running off the end at speed. Also, a former STUFF columnist who lives in Masterton has written a lot of letters to the editor of the Times-Age and some of the claims in his letters are rather bizzare.

  2. Agree with all you said.
    However although I also don't believe it has happened in the right circumstances a B737 could land there. Width is not an issue - the B737s have a narrow track - fuselage mounted undercarriage. Saabs and Dash8s would have more of an issue. C130s with a similar undercarriage width have often been in and out of Masterton and with load. I have seen them and its not that tight.
    Length is a different issue. To put a B737 into an airfield such as Masterton it would need to be empty with minimal fuel and a good strong Masterton wind on the nose. Its amazing how little runway is needed in such conditions. RNZAF flew 2 B727s into BHE/WB using these tactics. In theory with same conditions it could also takeoff. OK for an airshow - not much use otherwise.
    If a B737 ever went into MS I am picking late 70s/ early 80s when Air NZ trialled the B737 into a bunch of airfields they never had any intention of using them to serve - I believe it may have had something to do with testing potential emergency diversion alternates. Seem to recall the flights into BHE got some publicity.

  3. Masterton's runway wasn't sealed in the late 1970s/early 1980s so I'm sure it couldn't have and didn't happen. My post on Wairarapa Airlines gives the story on the runway... http://3rdlevelnz.blogspot.com/2010/11/wairarapa-airlines-revisited.html

  4. Looks like very little extension is proposed from 1250m to 1280m. But the widening will be the significant expense of this project. Not sure how many meters wide is being added.

  5. The Falcon50 might be the biggest jet to go in their.

  6. The Falcon50 might be the biggest jet to go in their.