Monday, September 29, 2008

Spot the airfield: Clermont, Queensland

Enf of August, on a Qantas flight from Brisbane to Singapore. I am sitting by the window on the right-hand side. The captain makes an announcement that the city of Emerald is visible on the left-hand side. Bummer, I chose the wrong side. A few minutes later though I look out the window and notice a town in the distance. With what looks like an aerodrome to the north-west. Given that it's only a few minutes after Emerald and we're flying north-west, identifying the town shouldn't be too hard.

The town is Clermont, about 50 nautical miles to the northwest of Emerald. Sorry for the poor quality of the photos which were taken in bright daylight and from a fair distance. The atmospheric hue together with the airplane window conspired to make it all grainy and milky. Or at least that's my excuse.

According to this article in the SMH, the town was named after the town of Clermont-Ferrand in France, the hometown of Oscar de Satgé who was a powerful local postoralist and represented Clermont at the Queensland Legislative Assembly from 1869 to 1872. There was a bit of a short-lived gold rush in Clermont in the 1860s but today it is mostly coal mining and agriculture which sustain the local economy.

The hard runway 15/33 is at the front and oriented top-left bottom-right on the picture. There's a brown gravel strip to the north oriented 01/19. The aerodrome as an NDB navaid with a short range of only 35 nautical miles.

About three hours after sighting Clermont we had already left Australia and the sun was setting over the jet engine on the right wing of the A330, just as we were aproaching the Indonesian island of Java. The rings on the engine cowling remind us that the photo was taken in the week after the end of the Beijing Olympics.

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