Club soars to new model height

Pilbara News - - News - Tom Zaun­mayr

Soar­ing over the dry and dusty fields out­side Roe­bourne, a plane is sent into a spin­ning nose­dive, hurtling to­wards the hard red earth be­fore pulling up and fly­ing up­side down, par­al­lel along the length of a makeshift airstrip.

From there it moves into a knife-edge pass be­fore gain­ing al­ti­tude again and cir­cling the skies above the air­field as the man in con­trol de­cides what tricks to pull out of the bag next.

Tom Price res­i­dent Paul Hat­field was one of a num­ber of ra­dio con­trolled model air­craft en­thu­si­asts in the Pil­bara, who re­cently came out to chris­ten the Kar­ratha Aero­mod­eller Club’s new home, tak­ing his 55cc petrolpow­ered plane to the skies across the road from the Nor West Jockey Club.

Mr Hat­field said the joy of mas­ter­ing new skills while fly­ing, as well as the tech­ni­cal side of RC planes, was what drew him to the hobby.

“It was some­thing I was al­ways in­ter­ested in, but I didn’t re­ally know how to get into it as a kid,” he said.

“I went down to the lo­cal club and a few of the peo­ple there let me use their planes and even­tu­ally I got a job at Mac­cas to make enough money to buy my first plane.”

Mr Hat­field said new tech­nol­ogy had made the hobby eas­ier and cheaper to get into.

“You have all these self-sta­bil­i­sa­tion sys­tems, so a be­gin­ner who has never flown be­fore can take off a plane and it will fly it­self quite easily,” he said.

If Mr Hat­field’s ma­noeu­vres were eye catch­ing, Port Hed­land-based Char­lie Lewis’ he­li­copter skills were down­right in­sane.

The un­pre­dictable na­ture of Mr Lewis’ high-fly­ing an­tics was cap­ti­vat­ing; with the RC craft mov­ing around in the air like an over-en­er­getic drag­on­fly on a sugar high.

“I went to the lo­cal hobby shop one day and saw some­one fly­ing a lit­tle he­li­copter and thought to my­self, ‘I have to have that’,” he said.

“These days ev­ery­thing is online, so if you can’t work it out from the in­struc­tions, you can go to Youtube or Google and all it takes from there is a lot of prac­tise.

“Fly­ing RC he­li­copters is a good men­tal chal­lenge.”

Kar­ratha Aero­mod­ellers pres­i­dent Allan Brown said any­one in­ter­ested in fly­ing could use the club’s equip­ment be­fore de­cid­ing if they wanted to go ahead and in­vest in their own gear.

“You are look­ing at about $600 for a smaller ba­sic model or $1000 for a big­ger one,” he said.

“With our buddy box sys­tem though, we can teach peo­ple from the word go, un­til they can af­ford to buy their own.

“There are a lot of groups who stick to he­li­copters or planes but we welcome the whole lot and ev­ery­one mixes well to­gether.”

Mr Brown is op­ti­mistic about the fu­ture of the club at its new base, with sev­eral new mem­bers join­ing on in the past few months.

“We lost a lot of our old mem­bers re­cently (with the down­turn) but it is good to see the num­bers im­prov­ing again,” he said.

The next projects on the clubs wish list are new toi­let blocks and a con­crete run­way.

For now though, you will find Mr Brown and fel­low RC en­thu­si­asts watch­ing the sky in their home towns, as the craft they con­trol soars above the spinifex plains and red rock hills of the Pil­bara.

Steve Eames flies over the Kar­ratha Aero­mod­eller’s new home.

Hay­den Rin­toul’s drone.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.