In February 1956, Southern Airlines commenced the first air service from Essendon Airport to Shepparton using a De Havilland Dove aircraft. During this same year, the aerodrome was forced to close down for several months due to floods which resulted in the cancellation of the air service to Essendon. After the 1956 floods, the aerodrome committee undertook extensive works to upgrade the aerodrome to an all weather facility.
During 1967, the main runway 18/36 was sealed to a distance of about 760m from the northern end stopping short of the east west runway. The remaining section of the main runway and the east west runway was grass.
The main runway and east west runway were fully constructed and the remainder of the main runway sealed during the period 1970-72, with the east west runway remaining a gravel surface. Runway lighting was installed in 1974 and was controlled with the aid of a five hour timer. PAL radio control operation of the lights occurred around 1979.
During 1981, a Non Directional Beacon (NDB) was installed which allowed instrument approaches to be used by Instrument Flight Rules aircraft in low cloud conditions 24 hours a day. In May 1996, the Bureau of Meteorology installed an automatic weather station with a read out installed in the offices of Gawne Aviation. The weather station was further enhanced with the installation of an AWIB (Auto Weather Information Broadcast) in December 1997. The AWIB broadcasts on the NDB to provide incoming flights with up to the minute weather information at the aerodrome.
Works for the extension of Runway No 18 – 36 at the Shepparton Aerodrome by a further 232 metres and the installation of associated lighting works were completed in 2001. The project involved the extension of the runway by 142 metres at the northern end and 90 metres at the southern end, increasing the runway length from 1147 metres to 1379 metres. Lighting works included additional runway lighting for the extended length and relocation of existing runway lighting. A Precision Approach Path Indicator (PAPI) visual aid system was also installed at each end of the runway. The PAPI system is connected to the runway lighting system and is activated by pilot radio control operation on the CTAF frequency.
Reference: Future Needs and Planning Issues for the Aerodrome to the Year 2050 – Discussion Paper, January 2002