Airpark anniversary marked in Longreach

$14.3m Qantas Founders Museum airpark marks one year since sod turning

Life & Style
The airpark roof is a stunning architectural feature as well as being a sunshade for the Qantas Founders Museum's aircraft. Pictures supplied.

The airpark roof is a stunning architectural feature as well as being a sunshade for the Qantas Founders Museum's aircraft. Pictures supplied.

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The Qantas Founders Museum had planned to celebrate the completion of its $14.3m Airpark Roof Project with a community launch this month.

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The Qantas Founders Museum had planned to celebrate the completion of its $14.3m Airpark Roof Project with a community launch this month.

While the coronavirus crisis has changed plans, it does not take away from what has been achieved in the year since the official sod turning.

On May 10, 2019 the museum welcomed the state Member for Gregory Lachlan Millar and the federal Member for Maranoa David Littleproud for the official sod turning.

It marked the official start to the museum's biggest project to date - an ambitious two-stage project to create a unique night experience using sound and light projected on the fuselages of the iconic Boeing 747, Boeing 707, Super Constellation aircraft and 8072m2 roof.

Stage one included the roof construction, providing an all-weather venue fully funded by the federal government.

Stage two, the state-of-the-art light and sound show, the only one of its kind in Queensland, and the construction of a nine metre high viewing platform and lift, was supported by the state government.

The airpark site was handed over to building contractors Watpac in September 2019, while the museum worked with the Buchan Group for the sound and light show experience.

Today the incredible structure, now the biggest in Longreach, can be seen for many kilometres as visitors and the local community have followed and marvelled at the progress.

Teams worked in shifts from 6am to 4pm and 4pm to 2am in trying summer conditions - higher temperatures, unseasonable winds, flies and bugs - and spending weeks away from home.

In the latter weeks, they also had to manage COVID-19 workplace restrictions.

The roof is half as big as the Sydney Cricket Ground and is angled to give maximum height to the structure while keeping under the Longreach Airport obstacle limitation surface line.

Sheeting installation took five months to complete, using approximately 13km of sheets, some of them 54 metres long that had to be lifted into position.

The roof is expected to harness over one tonne of water a second during a storm event, while some of the other impressive statistics include:

  • To date over 500m3 of concrete has been used
  • Over 800 tonnes of gravel has been laid in the Airpark area
  • 11,000m of cabling has been installed
  • A 12m long aluminium spitter to control the flow of water off the roof was fitted.
  • The roof is expected to harness over a 1 tonne of water per second during a storm event.

A 9m viewing platform with a lift and staircase have also been constructed, and all this work was completed with the museum's Boeing 747 and 707 in situ.

In March 2020 the Super Constellation and DC-3 were moved into position under the structure.

The Qantas Founders Museum's DC3 being moved into position under the airpark roof.

The Qantas Founders Museum's DC3 being moved into position under the airpark roof.

The Watpac team engaged with local contractors and where possible tried to incorporate as many local sub-contractors and suppliers from Longreach and surrounding townships.

Work still to be completed includes signage, fire hydrant flow testing, installation and testing of the lighting and projector equipment, lift air-conditioning, carpark resurfacing, and certification, but has to wait for COVID-19 restrictions to be lifted before work can recommence.

The museum has put out its thanks to the contractors for all their hard work under challenging conditions and is now waiting patiently to welcome visitors back.

"We know it will be worth the wait," it says.

The 9m viewing platform gives a great overview of the aircraft under the airpark roof.

The 9m viewing platform gives a great overview of the aircraft under the airpark roof.

The story Airpark anniversary marked in Longreach first appeared on North Queensland Register.

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