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Flying by remote… a bit like the real thing

Grafton Model Aircraft Club is holding its Australian Model Flying Day on Sunday October 22 at Tancreds Lane, Clarenza. Pictured: GMAC members at the opening day of the Clarenza strip in 2014. Image: Contributed
  Geoff Helisma On Sunday October 22 the Grafton Model Aircraft Club is holding its annual model flying event, and everyone is invited to come along, find out what makes model aircraft fliers tick and maybe even take the controls in hand. The event is being held in conjunction with and as part of the Model Aeronautical Association of Australia’s (MAAA) model flying month (October). All money raised during the nationwide event will be donated to the Royal Flying Doctor Service. The MAAA’s president Neil Tank said the initiative aims “to get more Australians to participate in our great sport”. “It’s a great way to introduce the next generation to our fast-growing family sport,” he said. “With more clubs expected to be involved this year, there’s an even greater chance to educate the broader community about the sport … [and] it’s also a great opportunity for a younger generation to experience the adrenalin rush and thrill of flight in a safe and controlled environment.” The Grafton club will be displaying some of its projects currently under construction. “One model that will be on display will be an 11 foot [3.5metres] wingspan Lockheed Constellation … by the club secretary Bob Tomlinson,” the club’s PR and events officer Daryl Woolfe said “This is a famous 1950s airliner with beautiful curving lines and a distinct triple tail fin. “While this machine is still some way off completion, it will show people the complexity of making a large, heavy, scale model plane. “The kit was imported from the USA and had to be heavily modified to the standard require by Bob.” Other models that will be on display include an under construction “Avro Lancaster of World War Two fame” and some “beautifully crafted large scale models, from a Cessna 172 and going back to World War One aircraft”, owned by club member Ray Clarke who “has won a few trophies over the last little while”. Mr Woolfe said anybody who would like to try flying a radio controlled model on the day is “more than welcome to make use of the club training plane and there is no charge for doing so”. “The club trainer is controlled by what is known as a buddy box system, with both pilots having separate control transmitters that are linked by either a cable or wi fi. “The instructing or senior pilot uses the primary controller and transfers control to the student pilot … by the use of a spring loaded switch. “…The buddy box is a safe way of teaching a new pilot the basics of flying before the new pilot is let go on their own.” Meanwhile, on Saturday October 21, head to Grafton Shopping World (9am to about 2pm) to check out a static display of models, on the day before the flying day at Tancreds Lane, Clarenza, from 8am until public interest runs out. In the event of inclement weather, the open day will be held the following Sunday October 29. Cost: buy a $5 badge to support the Royal Flying Doctor Services. For over 75 years the MAAA has been Australia’s largest flying organisation and supports more than 300 MAAA clubs and over 10,000 members nationwide. For more info go to: