The land on which the Gulgong Aero Park was developed was originally purchased from Tom and Sonya Maxwell in 1982 by a group of like-minded people who shared a passion for flying. Led by Ian Harris. a syndicate of 24 pilots was formed to fund the purchase of the land and to begin the task of establishing the necessary infrastructure for an airfield. In 1983 a private company Cudgegong Soaring Pty. Ltd. was established to issue shareholdings to the syndicate participants.

Gulgong Airfield

Gulgong Airfield

Initially the early structure of the main hangar was fabricated in Mr Harris’s Sydney engineering factory. Over the past 30 years a dedicated group of core contributors and myriad other volunteers and club members have established a facility close to second to none as a sports aviation resource in Australia, wherein there has been a steady program of maintenance and enhancement to bring it to the standard that it is today. Today it is replete with its own clubhouse, showers and toilets, storage facilities, hangars and even a machinery workshop. The airfield is totally funded by its members and no landing charges are levied for its use by the general public. The economic benefits of this for the Gulgong region more broadly are substantial.

Far from being a sole purpose recreational glider strip, the airfield has the capacity to handle many large power aircraft, up to and including including Airforce C150 Transports. The strip can be used by these larger aircraft in cases of emergencies and natural disasters. Fire fighting aircraft can refuel and make use of the huge water catchment areas that are available and the strip is used regularly for air ambulance purposes.

Recreation, of course, was the primary motivator in establishing the airfield. Its location is ideal for many air sports including: sailplanes; hang gliding; ultra lights and paragliding. So much so that the site has hosted several National and State NSW Gliding Championships with contestants attracted from both interstate and internationally. The airfield is in constant use for training purposes and the testing of equipment prototypes.

2004 FAI Multiclass Nationals Participants

2004 FAI Multiclass Nationals Participants

In addition the strip has also become important for its educational functions. It is frequently used by groups such as the Air League, Scouts and other Field Study personnel. The adjoining airstrip residence is fully solar powered and can also be used, by appointment, for renewable energy study purposes. The most recent addition to the complex is an amazing wetland and park facility covering an area of approximately 30 acres is utilised for recreation and land management study. In 2010 this impressive development was awarded second place in the individual category, Central West Catchment competition, conducted by the NSW Catchment Management Authority. It is a superb achievement principally awarded to Ian Harris for his design and ongoing care for the area.