Theodore Airport – Queensland, Australia
In 2006, the Federal Government Minister for Transport and Regional Services, Warren Truss, dedicated the installation of new solar-powered airport lighting at the Theodore Airport in Queensland. At the official opening, Mr. Truss said that local residents had worked tirelessly to raise the funds necessary to replace the flares that previously lit the runway.
The lights became essential after the Royal Flying Doctor Service decided that, for safety reasons, it could not land at Theodore Airport outside of daylight hours. To their credit, residents of the town donated their own money to replace the flares with permanent lighting. As a small town with only one medical practice, townspeople rely heavily on the Royal Flying Doctor Service to provide emergency medical services.
- Warren Truss, Minister for Transport and Regional Services
Mr. Truss said that since the Flying Doctor nighttime service was withdrawn, there had been cases where people had to be driven 45 minutes to another airstrip so they could be flown to Brisbane or Rockhampton hospitals.
The lighting selected consisted of 60 Flash Technology 702 and 601 solar-powered LED lights, supplied by Autralian-based distributor Orion Solar. Solar power was selected because of the lower installation cost and the fact that there are no ongoing running costs. Mr. Truss commented on the selection of solar-powered lights by recalling experiences of circling airfields when pilot activated lighting had failed. He felt leaving the activation of the lights to nature would be more reliable.