Murray Bridge Aerodrome's future secured with $610,000 grant

Aviator Bill Antel's dream will live on into the future after the federal government seals his runway.

This story was originally published behind Murray Bridge News’ paywall. Paywalled stories are unlocked four weeks after publication. Can’t wait that long? Subscribe here.

A lot of years have passed since Bill Antel turned a paddock at Pallamana into his private airfield.

The community-minded aviator, now aged in his 80s, learnt to fly here, back when it was home only to a few gliders.

His friend Chris Sperou – the trick pilot who shot to international fame in the 1970s – was among the first to put up a shed near the runway, where a network of hangars now stand.

Now the future of the Murray Bridge Aerodrome is assured, thanks to a $610,000 grant from the federal government.

The money will be enough to seal the gravelly runway at Pallamana, along with all the associated taxiways and an aircraft parking area.

Mr Antel also has plans to extend the aerodrome’s runway slightly.

The upgrades will make life easier for the trainee pilots, power line inspectors, Country Fire Service water bombers and flying doctors who visit.

It will also make maintenance cheaper for Mr Antel, and guarantee that his vision will endure long into the future.

“I’m very thankful,” he said.

“I’ve been very fortunate in my life.”

Federal MP Tony Pasin visited the airfield to offer his congratulations on Thursday.

He said the upgrade was a great example of the government backing an industry – in this case, aviation – which would boost the local economy and help secure a stronger future for the Murraylands.

“Every dollar spent on local infrastructure is a dollar well spent,” he said.

The funding came from the federal government’s $100 million Regional Airports Program.