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Model Aero Club

The Southern Highlands Model Aero Club moved onto the Bong Bong Common land in 1989. They established their clubhouse in the small cottage on the site, formerly used as an office by the operators of the Bowral Airfield from 1978. Since then, they have maintained the mown area that comprises their airstrip and the entrance and surrounds of the clubhouse.


 
Official Opening of the Clubhouse in 1989

The club was formed originally from an amalgamation of remnants of the Berrima District Model Aero Club and the Rosmore Aero Modeling Society. The club caters mainly for social and recreational radio control or control line flyers. With the exception of a once a month glider morning there is no competitive flying conducted at the Common. The emphasis is on fun and enjoyment.

 
Types of model flown include sports power, “old timers”, electric sports and gliders, plus the monthly two meter tow line glider competition. The site is not suitable for “free flight” models. Due to the nature of the flying site the club has placed a size and power restriction on models for safety. Modelers from other clubs wishing to fly as visitors should contact a club officer for information.
 
The club is affiliated with the Model Aeronautical Association of Australia (MAAA). Membership, therefore, provides the modeler with Australia wide insurance cover (subject to compliance with requirements).
 
The operation of radio controlled model aircraft (except for some very small models) is generally controlled by the Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA). The Authority’s rules are augmented by the MAAA’s much more detailed rules and procedures.
 
Sunday is the main flying day (if weather permits) starting around 9.30 and finishing about 3.00 with a break for lunch. Visitors are welcome, but please comply with any instructions with regard to spectator areas and procedures. These are for your safety and wellbeing and also to comply with Federal Government regulations.
 
 
Early members of the Club

CLUB ACTIVITIES

In addition to operation of models, club members also prepare and maintain the flying fields and all the “groomed” areas of the common. We try to keep the area free from rubbish and perform other minor maintenance as required. For this members use their own mowers, fuel etc.

 

WHO FLIES MODEL AIRCRAFT?

There is a mixture of model aircraft enthusiasts. Some are interested in full sized aircraft and fly models as a surrogate, while others find that models provide a satisfying technical challenge of their own. At the club you will find modelers who have a background in trades, as technicians, engineers and similar occupations, or are young people with an interest in becoming so employed. Experience in the hobby can provide a good stepping stone into such vocations. Interest is not confined to such people. Past and present members have included such professions as medical doctor, veterinarian, solicitor, QC and airline pilot.

 

TYPES OF MODEL

Beginning flyers usually start learning on a high wing “trainer” designed for this task. These models are not unlike the type of aircraft used in full size pilot training. They are inherently fairly stable and fly at moderate speeds. Most modern trainers are able to perform a range of aerobatic maneuvers, allowing the new flyer to progress well beyond the beginner stage. Some modelers never bother to progress much beyond this type of model, finding them more than adequate for their purposes.

 

The next model for those who wish to advance further will usually be a basic low wing model. These are similar to the trainer but with the wing lowered to the bottom of the fuselage. They are not quite as stable as the previous model and require more concentrated flying, but they are also more aerobatic. After becoming proficient with these models the path is then open for the modeler to advance to a scale model of some favorite aircraft, or perhaps to a more advanced aerobatic model.

 

One type of aircraft that has a strong following both at SHMAC and other clubs is known as an “old timer”. These are historic models usually built to designs published before the Second World War. Models of that era had no controls. They were launched with a limited amount of fuel; the short engine run took the model aloft after which it would glide for an extended period before coming back to earth. Such models require a large clear area for safe operation. Suitable sites are no longer readily available, so modelers modify the designs to incorporate radio control, producing models capable of slow, gentle, relaxed and elegant flight in a restricted area. There is something almost birdlike in the performance of these aircraft.

 

Gliders are also popular at the club. For general use a powered glider of some sort is required. These are aircraft specifically designed for gliding but have either a small internal combustion engine or, now more commonly, an electric motor that powers the model to altitude after which the pilot shuts off the power and searches for lift to keep the model aloft.

 

The monthly glider competition requires the use of a specific type of model. This is known as a “two meter, two channel” glider, designating a model of two meters wing span with two control channels, usually rudder and elevator. The models have no power source, being towed aloft somewhat like a kite on a line that is then released for free gliding. The challenge then is to maximize the time from tow release to returning to the ground.

 

SOURCES OF MODELS

Some modelers still build their models the traditional way, from balsa, plywood and piano wire. There is a great deal of satisfaction in producing an aircraft in this fashion. The design may come from a published plan or, for the more ambitious, be the modelers own original conception.

Alternatively a wide range of models are available as “almost ready to fly” (ARF) kits. These require some assembly work, but most of the detail construction is done.

 

CONTACTS

For further information on the club please contact either of the following:

President: Graham Frost, 9607 3207

Secretary: Allan Aston, 4062 2145