Airport upgrades benefit STARS


A recently installed refuelling station at the airport is proving to be a huge plus for emergency air evacuations in the area.

Completed in 2018, at a cost of around $12,000, the new fuelling station has quietly been supplying the Winnipeg STARS med-evac helicopters with Jet A fuel for the past 18 months.

“It’s been up and running for about a year and a half, and it gets used a lot,” said Gordon Wood, secretary/treasurer for the Killarney Flying Club, a pilot who often takes to the skies in his own Piper Cherokee. “You don’t often hear them, because they usually come in from the east. The pilots are so happy they can get fuel in Killarney, because if there’s any weather problems, they have to leave here full of fuel. It’s just so convenient for them now, and easy to use.”

And the substantial costs for the 24-hour refuelling station have now been fully met, thanks to a number of generous sponsors and donors. 

They include the Killarney School Grad Class of 2017, who donated $3,085 of their remaining grad funds; Centennial Farm Supply, who donated $1,200-plus; and Pugh’s Sand and Gravel, who supplied the concrete pad. 

Moore Enterprises, Wood Seeds, Dickson’s Seeds and Bob’s Air Service jointly donated $2,800; while Manitoba Hydro’s International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 2034 donated $1,000 towards the project. 

In addition, G&R Electric donated electrical supplies, and installed them, while Killarney Flying Club members helped complete the labour.

“We are on the fringe of their area for their fuel load, and sometimes they need to refuel here,” said Wood. “If they have to go further, it’s safer for them to be tanked up. Sometimes they can’t leave without it.”

Next on the Flying Club’s to-do list is a plan to install a paved helicopter landing pad for the STARS choppers. 

At present they must land and fuel up on gravel standing, which is not ideal for either refuelling, or for loading their patients on stretchers, especially in wet conditions.

And they recently got their first boost for this project, thanks to a donation from the Community Christmas Cantata Choir last month of around $905. 

“They are calling it the Killarney Airport LifeFlight Landing Pad,” said Wood. “It’s a great name. That’s next on our list.”

So many people and businesses have donated to the airport upgrades, he added, that a plaque is to be erected at the airport in the spring to honour them.

FUEL FOR THE STARS – A bird’s eye view into Killarney Airport’s new $12,000 Jet A fuel supply station, which is being used to fill the tanks of STARS helicopters 24/7. The project was completed around 18 months ago, thanks to incredible donations and support from the community. The STARS air ambulance transports emergency medical patients around the province, and Killarney’s fuelling location in this region makes their challenging job much safer and faster. 


IBEW MEMBERS POWER UP CASH – Members of MB Hydro’s IBEW Local #2034 recently donated $1,000 to help pay for explosion-proof electrical material at Killarney Airport’s new Jet A refuelling station. Pictured in front of the fuel station are (left to right): Gordon Wood, secretary and treasurer for the Killarney Flying Club; Dean Fenwick, MB Hydro electrical inspector for southwest Manitoba; and Derek Kempthorne, a MB Hydro planner.