Another month and another month of isolation. However, there appears to be light at the end of the tunnel with some easing of restrictions; restaurants partially reopening, kids returning to school and for some of us – the reopening of the field!
On May 22, after receiving revised advice from the government, the committee decided to reopen the field on the proviso that members observed the advice of government regarding the protocols required to keep everyone as safe as possible. Remember, until there is a vaccine, the threat and risk to health is still there. The virus is not gone, we simply have instigated rules that minimise the risk of spreading it. The current protocols can be found here
A Hustler flies from Launceston to Hobart
An extract from The Examiner (November 18, 2017) courtesy, Russell Walker
It reads like a scene from a movie.
Two men driving an open-top Mini-Moke, speeding at 130 kilometers an hour down the the old Midland Highway.
A remote control airplane is zooming around 90 metres overhead and a police car is following close behind, but they are not the run.
Instead, they are attempting to be the first to fly a radio-controlled plane from Launceston to Hobart.
It was September 30, 1978 and the men were Max Wiggins and the late John Bell, both members of the Evandale Radio-Controlled Model Aircraft Fliers Club. (LMAC was renamed for a period of time GC)
The ambitious idea came to them over a few cold beers, following a rather enjoyable afternoon of flying their models planes together.
As Max recalled, it was an idea he never actually thought would come to fruition.
“John was the brains behind it all, I definitely needed a good push,” he said.
“It had never been done before so it seemed like a good idea for us to have a crack.”
A month later they were off.
Their plane of choice was a 60-inch Aeroflyte Hustler valued at around $700, which was a small fortune for the time and something Max described as the “perfect vehicle”.
The Midland Highway in 1978 was winding, narrow and lined with trees – what could possibly go wrong?
They had planned to set off at the break of dawn, with John behind the wheel of the Mini-Moke and Max controlling the Hustler which would fly ahead.
As Max recalled, they wanted to leave as early as possible to avoid weekend traffic.
The journey was close to 200 kilometres and at least four stops for refueling would be required along the way.
All of the necessary precautions had been taken, including notifying the police.
“They thought we sounded crazy,” Max explained.
“It seemed perfectly sane to us at the time.”
By 5.30am they were ready for takeoff from a paddock in Kings Meadows.
Unfortunately a heavy fog delayed the start by nearly three hours.
“The rule is if you can’t see it, you can’t fly it,” Max said.
“We just had to wait it out.”
As it turned out, the weather would be the least of their worries.
Between engine failures, radio interference, pine trees “coming out of nowhere”, higher than expected telegraph poles and some very confused sheep, the next few hours proved to be very eventful for John, Max and the Hustler.
SUCCESS: Max Wiggins and John Bell in 1978, with their Mini-Moke and Aeroflyte Hustler, all smiles after the successful journey. Picture: File
Still, almost 40 years later Max fondly recalls every detail of the historic journey as if it was yesterday.
“We didn’t have speed limits back then, so you could drive as fast as you like,” Max joked.
“John was doing about 130 kilometers to keep up with the model and I only had it on about three-quarters throttle.
“We were out near Epping and the motor suddenly stopped for some reason.
“I had to land it among a mob of sheep.
“Poor things, I don’’t think they knew what to think.”
Adding to the panic, at one point a plastic sheet the men had place over their laps for warmth dislodged in the wind, flying over their faces.
Their gallivanting caught the attention of the police, who pulled the Mini-Moke over for a “serious conversation”, forcing Max to perform some impromptu circles with the Hustler overhead.
“He came up looking very concerned about what we were doing,” he said.
“Luckily I had another policeman following us who knew we had been authorised so I left it to them to have a bit of a talk.
“In the meantime I had to circle the model around the tops of the pine trees and the fog was just crazy, I almost lost it.”
Miraculously despite all of the hurdles, the Hustler made it to Hobart with a flight time of just over two hours.
Landing safely in an open paddock, the pilots shook hands and toasted with some well earned bubbly.
For the ride back to Launceston, the Hustler hitched a lift in the back of the Mini-Moke.
The story of John and Max’s ‘Historic Hop’ appeared in The Examiner on October 2, 1978.
Written by John himself, the report described the plans, patience and progress of the inaugural flight, including a close call with a lift bridge over the Derwent River.
“Due to the steel superstructure it was impossible for Max to view the model during our crossing,” it read.
“An additional hazard was a high-voltage transformer at the other end of the bridge.
“We could only hope the Hustler would maintain a straight course.
“We arrived with the model unscathed and Max flew the Hustler over the suburbs of Hobart.”
After Max, the Hustler found a new home with airline captain Kevin Swiggs.
Both members of the Launceston Model Aero Club, at the time Kevin was just starting out with the hobby despite clocking up decades of experience flying real planes.
“Flying models is different to flying airliners, that’s for sure,” he said.
“You don’t sit in the cockpit for one thing.”
Reflecting on the 1978 story, Kevin described the Hustler’s achievement as nothing short of remarkable.
“Technically it was very well done the way they pulled it off,” he said.
“Because back in those days the radio equipment was not as reliable as it is now.
If two people had the same frequency on their transmitter, the models would crash.
“There is certainly a lot that could have gone wrong.”
For 20 year the Hustler sat in retirement under Kevin’s house before being rediscovered along with the original report from 1978.
Apart from a bit of woodworm and some newly acquired rattles, he said it hadn’t really aged a day.
Now fully restored, the men would like to see the model plane’s achievements recognised and put on display at the Queen Victoria Museum in Invermay.
“Something like this is history,” Kevin said.
“The fact that it has only been done the once, it should go on display.
“This is a big part of Australian and Tasmanian aviation history.
“No one has done it since and honestly no one is likely to now.
“It is one of those, once in a lifetime things that deserves to be recognised.”
What have our members been doing this month?
Thank you to the members that responded to my shout out for updates on their activities. Hopefully when you read what they have been doing it will give you some inspiration to get into the workshop, if you haven’t already done that!
Mick visited me on January 6 and I was so impressed by his van set up that I had to take some pictures. Unfortunately, that is where they stayed – in my camera! I found them and here they are. I am sure you will be as impressed as I was by the quality of the layout and finish.
April 28 (missed the April HT deadline)
Hi George, A week or two back I was talking to Geoff and expressed my concern that we may have members drift away if this situation goes on for too long. I told him that I had a couple of things on the go and that I would put together some pics and words and forward them to you for inclusion in the website as a means to hopefully generate some discussion amongst members. It would seem that Max has beaten me to it.
I have now completed my Freewing AL37 in Qantas colours. It is basically a scale model of a Boeing 737 Max. (Not sure we can let you fly this Mick – They’re all grounded! GC) This is an EDF foamie with a wingspan of 1800mm and a length of 2000mm. It has 70mm fans and runs off a 6s LiPo in the 4 – 6000 mah range. I have constructed a transport/assembly/storage cradle to suit. Pictures show the assembled model, the cradle and the amount of space in the battery compartment. The batteries for the AL37 have XT90 connectors, which are new to me. So, I have made some new charge leads and a new storage system for my leads.
I have also completed checks and repairs to my TopFlite P-47 after a heavy landing late last year. Fortunately no structural damage, so mostly back together and almost ready to go. Just waiting for a part from Robart. I have also gotten my 1/4 scale Super Cub down from its temporary retirement in the rafters of the shed and have almost finished getting it ready to fly again. I have removed the big tundra wheels and it is now about 1.5kg lighter. And once the Cub is finished, it will be back into my long term project, the Short Skyvan. Cheers Mick
May 8 –
Max has again been active this month and sent me some updates on his latest projects (Max is stocking his hangar with any model that can fit in the back of his car without any assembly required. Makes sense = more flying time) ….
CESSNA TTX (from Hobby King)
Hi George, I have assembled this model today it will be interesting to see if I am up to the job of flying it and keeping it in one piece. It has tiny wheels and I think it will be fast.I have included the manual which will give you the specifications etc. Regards, Max
The H-King TTX is an excellent, scale rendition of the original. It is made of tough EPO foam and is beautifully crafted with panel lines and scale cockpit and other details. Plenty of power with the scale 3-blade propeller.
The TTx is a single-engine, low wing, general aviation plane with a fixed tricycle undercarriage and was produced between 2004-2018. It was designed to carry a pilot and three passengers.
At 1100mm wingspan the TTX is small enough to transport fully assembled but if you need to take the wings off it is extremely easy with the new wiring quick-connectors. Take-offs and landings are a breeze thanks to the scale slotted flaps and the super bright navigation lights will allow everyone to easily spot this streamlined plane. With a thrust ratio of 1:1.3 there is no trouble doing some easy rolls and loops and other maneuvers. The large hatch area makes installing a battery so easy.
• Lightweight yet strong EPO material
• Scale details like antennas, steps, cockpit, panel lines and more
• Big powerful scale slotted flaps
• With super bright navigational lights
• Big battery access hatch for easy battery installation
• A set of special designed servos and LED wiring quick-connectors are pre-installed for easy wing installation
• An efficient 3-blade scale propeller and a powerful motor are perfectly matched to provide longer flight times and higher power with more than 1:1 thrust to weight ratio
Weight: 675g (without battery)
Thrust to weight ratio: 1:1.3
ESC: 30A Brushless
Servo: 9g x 6pcs
Flight time: about 5-7mins
Propeller: 8×4.5 3-blade (2 provided)
1 x 6CH Radio System (TX/RX)
1 x 1300mAh 3S (11.1V) 20C Lipo Battery
From Peter Daniel –
Peter gave us an update on Doc’s health and his “built from scraps” O/D Old Timer……
Hey George, hope you both are staying well. Had a beautiful morning flying today with 4 others, test flew my new own design old timer with no wind and sun nice on the back. Purpose of my email is just to update you on Doc. I was at his place a week ago and set up the retracts in the bf 109 his is building and he put up a front but I could tell he wasn’t good so I only stayed a couple of hours and the next day Jenny let me know that he was put back in hospital and things weren’t looking good. No visitors allowed so I can’t even go and see him . I knew he wasn’t well because he told me that if anything happened to him that everything in his workshop was mine ..Anyway we can only keep our fingers crossed and hope that he pulls through this .
Hi George… Photos of the new “old timer” of my own design flown for the first time this week.
- Wingspan 90 inches
- Length 72 inches
- Motor propdrive 50/50 580 kv
- Battery turnigy 5000mh 5 cells
- Prop: Turnigy 16×6
- ESC: 100 amp Turnigy
Plane built during the lockup entirley out of my balsa scrap box and left over covering. I didn’t buy anything for the build or power/ control systems. Steve (Doc) made the pilot for me. Flies as well as anything of this ilk does and can be throttle set with a bit of rudder trim and it will circle hands off for as long for as you want on a windless day. Roll is very slow but loops, spins and stall turns nicely. Obviously not a model to rave about but all in all a very relaxing plane to fly and will circulate at 1/2 throttle for 17 minutes. Regards, Peter Daniel
….. and less than 3 weeks after his last build, another new one from Max. – HK TL2000
The H-King TL2000 EPO RC Plane (PnF) is a fun plane to fly and has both wheels and floats in the kit so you can fly off land and water. The wingspan is 1160mm so it can easily fit in your car for transport to your favorite flying areas. It is built of tough EPO foam.
The TL2000 is a single-engine, two-seat ultralight which was designed in the Czech Republic. It first flew in 1997. It is a low wing monoplane with a large bubble canopy for excellent visibility.
The H-King TL2000 comes with motor, ESC and servos pre-fitted to make assembly easy and very quick (approx. 10-minutes). All you need to supply is a battery and Radio system (TX/RX).
The powerful 2838-1500KV motor combined with a 3-blade prop has lots of power to do exciting aerobatics like loops and rolls. The model comes with a set of floats to make it even more fun to fly off water when you have had enough of taking off from land.
• Lightweight EPO foam fully molded with scale detail
• Detail cockpit including an instrument panel and factory-applied decals
• Quick 10-minute build time
• Efficient 3-blade propeller
• High power to weight ratio
• Water floats and rudder (included)
• Assembly hardware pack (included)
Weight: 1020g with floats, 940g with landing gear
Flying time: approx. 12mins
Motor: 2838 1500KV outrunner
ESC: 40A BEC 3A
Servos: 9g digital servo (4pcs)
Prop: 8×4.5 3-blade
Landing gear: Aluminum
1 x 4Ch Radio System (TX/RX)
1 x 1300mAh 3S Lipo battery
I received an email from Peter D today, advising a sad day for us all, with the passing of Doc. I wrote this on our home page but have placed it in Hangar Talk so it remains for posterity.
Stephen “Doc” Baldock
It is again with great sadness that we announce the passing of another member of our club, Steve Baldock. “Doc” as he was known to all, was a prolific scratch builder. In past years he was a regular weekly flyer at the field but he and his best mate, Peter Daniel, found a convenient site just down the road from Doc’s home in Evandale. They called themselves the “Relbia Rebels”! Whilst we didn’t see them during most of the year after their relocation, they continued their membership of LMAC and they made every effort to attend our annual Christmas lunch. Doc favoured building WWI models. Such was Doc’s building skills that he could build the model by drawing a plan from an image in his favourite WWI aircraft history book, Janes I think. He would then build the complete airframe from scratch, including the pilot! Doc had retired from his sign business “Doc Signs” (many of us have used them) but his skill in sign making is evident in the model pictured. Another great craftsman lost. I found him to be a genuine, laughable and loveable “larrikin like” Aussie who will be sadly missed by all that knew him, especially his “brother” as he called him, Peter Daniel.
Sincere condolences to Jenny and the family from all at LMAC.
Peter responded –
Brilliant George… enough said I think. You brought tears to my eyes. Thank you for that it is exactly as you have expressed it.
A small selection of photos of Doc and his creations – All scratch built and no plans other than what he drew from a picture in a book!
Don’t Forget – Put a Spark in your life and fly electric!