The old clubroom near the front gate is now completely empty of our things and after 40-odd years of operating from the vicinity of the base, those doors are closed for good (ironically on the centenery of the RAAF). The removal of all items included the last days needed to pull apart the simulator and give the rooms a final clean/sweep/wipe. One part of the feeling is dissapointment and another is relief.
Many may not know the difficulties that arise from maintaining a club footprint on a military base, where the ways of civilan methods versus the requirements of the Estate & Infastructure Group (Australian public service for Defence bases), are just not really workable. Examples such as having every last piece of electrical equipment tested and tagged yearly, conforming with Emergency control proceedures, workplace health and saftey, I.D cards, security, etc etc. In other words, the two dont fit and the future will only get more difficult (expensive) trying to meet those requirements. Such a shame we have been given the flick but its just headaches for us, headaches for them.
Looking back at the flying the club enjoyed from Point cook, it is easily said that we have had the best place in Melbourne to conduct operations from. A secure area to park planes, massive aerodrome with several intersecting runways, grass landing areas and for the members of days gone by- free and easy base access, a great “watering hole” clubhouse down the back of the base nearby the old Bellman hangers, parties, pizza nights in the old control tower and a club atmosphere to beat all. Oh well, nothing good lasts forever.
Anyway, we are pretty steady in our ways at YBSS now and flying from there is effortless. We can come and go as we please and are pretty much free to get on with aviating. We have plans to have another clubhouse or sorts and what that will look like at the new aerodrome is not 100% yet. It may take a little while, but the wait will be worth it, because if one can see into the not-to-distant future, with all the squeeze on aviation in Melbourne, (such as the land sell-off of YMMB for commercial property development), it will be reliased that aerodromes like YBSS will begin to see arrivals from aviation businesses and similar operations. This means a flying club at YBSS is very much a needed idenity and we shall be positioned to offer such a club.
We may have had some good times at YMPC, but we the members and committee now and future, must carve out a new story.