If you’d like to experience the adrenalin rush of flying, but without the hefty price tag, A model aero club may be for you! Bob pearce informs us that our local model aero clubs are also a friendly, supportive social network of like-minded individuals …
What are the various radio controlled model aero clubs in the Manning-Great Lakes, and what is the approximate membership numbers of these clubs?
There are four local clubs which are affiliated with the Model Aircraft Association of Australia (MAAA), through the State body, Aeromodellers NSW, which cater for all forms of radio control models.
These four local clubs have a total membership approaching 110 members, and there are more than 80 clubs in NSW and 300 nationally; more than 10,000 members actively enjoy this sport Australia wide.
Which club/s are you personally affiliated with, and how long have you been a member?
I am a member of the Forster Tuncurry Model Aero Club and the Manning Model Aero Club, and I currently hold the position of President of the Forster Tuncurry Model Aero Club. My current membership with the Forster Tuncurry Model Aero Club began in 2002, which was when I retired to live in Tuncurry.
How and when did you first become interested in model aircraft?
I started very young and was encouraged by my grandparents, in about 1950, to construct and paint small balsa wood models. This led me to try free-flight models, which were very light weight and were covered with tissue paper and flew by means of rubber band power. I then progressed, as a teenager, to control line model flying using the first diesel model engine that I saved up to buy. This type of model flying utilises two wires from a control handle to the model which are used to make the model go up or down. Later in the late 1970s, I was introduced to building and flying radio control models.
What types of aircraft do you fly? Do members fly helicopters, as well as fixed wing aircraft?
The models that I generally fly are classed as sports, aerobatic models, but I also have a keen interest in building and flying scale models which replicate the real thing. I travel to other clubs, with my wife, Gloria, to compete in scale competitions conducted by the NSW Scale Aircraft Society.
Yes, other members fly helicopters, particularly members of the Rainbow Flat RC Helicopter Club, and most members have several types of models in their collection.
What types of aircraft do club members typically own?
If we look at the club members of our four local clubs, we would find that they jointly own just about every type of model aircraft available today, including fixed-wing aircraft which have electric or internal combustion engines, helicopters, quad copters (drones), gliders, electric powered jets and electric night flying models. Some members are also using FPV, which stands for first person view and utilises a camera in the model which transmits a video of the pilot’s view back to a monitor. This allows the pilot on the ground to fly the model as if he/she was actually in the model, just like the real thing.
What benefits are there to being a member of a model aero club?
Local model aero clubs are the strength of the sport, and their members are happy to share their collective knowledge and provide instruction, advice on model selection, and help getting your model flight ready. Aero clubs provide insurance cover within their annual club fees and conduct various forms of competition flying, where you can test your skill against other flyers.
Some may view owning and flying radio controlled aircraft as an expensive hobby. Is this actually the case? How much (roughly) would it cost the beginner enthusiast to take to the air?
Models come in all sizes, shapes and forms, and can be bought fully made up or in kits to build.
Gone are the days of saving every cent of pocket money just to buy a small model engine. Today’s beginners can purchase a ready-to-fly electric model complete with a radio control unit for under $200. When we look at the cost of equipment to play other sports, like surfing, cricket or golf, then aeromodelling is not considered expensive, particularly when the one radio control unit can be used to fly other models that may be added to your collection. I currently have nine models which all use the same control unit or transmitter.
Why would you encourage others to take this up as a hobby?
If you decide to take up aeromodelling as a hobby and join a local club, you’ll also see that it is about more than just the hobby or sport; it’s about friendships and a local supportive community of members having lots of fun and excitement at their club flying days and social activities which normally cater for the whole family. So, rather than trying to learn by yourself, why not shortcut the learning time and reduce potential risks to your model by getting free instruction through a club? A merit based award system is also available to recognise and grade your flying skills. So, if you are itching to stretch your wings, come along and experience the adrenalin rush of radio control model flying!
Where can people find out more about any of our local clubs?
To find out more about the local model aero clubs, you can contact one or all of the local clubs listed here:
Manning Model Aero Club.
At Wingham Contact. Mark Connor.
Mob 0431 380 048.
The Feral Flyers Model Aero Club.
At Mitchell’s Island. Contact. Frank Regan. Phone 6557 4112.
Rainbow Flat RC Helicopter Club.
At Koorainghat. Contact. Lindsay Ellis.
Mob. 0429 909 136.
Forster Tuncurry Model Aero Club. At Nabiac.
Contact. Bob Pearce. Phone. 6555 2367.
This article was from issue 101 of Manning-Great Lakes Focus