In 2006, the Federal Government Minister for Transport and Regional Services, Warren Truss, dedicated the installation of new solar-powered lighting at the Theodore Airport in Queensland at the weekend. 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.” 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 Truss said that since the Flying Doctor nighttime service was withdrawn, there had been cases where people had to be driven 45 minutes to another airstrip so they could be flown to Brisbane or Rockhampton hospitals.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 Carmanah 702 and 601 solar powered LED lights, supplied by Orion Solar Solutions. Solar power was selected because of the lower cost of installation 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 said that leaving the activation of the lights to nature would be more reliable.