Bundaberg Aeromodellers club members are hooked on flying as the region is home to one of the best fields in Australia.
Almost every day of the year a local flying fanatic will take to the Bundaberg Aeromodellers field at Coonarr with their model plane, either for quiet time by themselves, or for the thrill of manoeuvring the aircraft through the sky and learning new moves or tricks.
Bundaberg Aeromodellers members Patsy and Richard Brown have been married for 40 years and said the hobby not only kept their spark alive but also gave them hours of quality time together.
Richard says he fell in love with the hobby three decades ago, but it wasn’t until quite a few years later when Patsy realised her passion for the model planes.
“At first Patsy didn’t want anything to do with it,” Richard said.
“Then eventually she thought, ‘well I can’t beat them, so I’ll join them’, and she hasn’t looked back!”
Together the couple builds model warbird planes from scratch at their Bargara home; Richard takes the lead on plane’s structure while Patsy sticks to the finer detail such as the pilot, who is often modelled from a real person such as Steve Hinton who flew Mustangs at the Reno Air Races.
Richard has made hundreds of models of planes and has four different warbird moulds, including those of thunderbolts and mustangs.
“We like to add the details, right down to the rivets, then we put pilots in them and basically race them around together,” Patsy said.
“Lots of people ask us to make them one, but there are so many hours involved in making one, so for us it’s just a hobby that we love to do!”
Flying model aeroplanes has changed over time
The club started in the Bundaberg Region in the mid-90s and currently has about 50 current members who all enjoy flying their miniature machines at the Coonarr facility.
“Some of the city clubs have noise restrictions, we have the absolute perfect location,” Patsy said.
“We are so lucky and are really spoilt with what we have out here.
“It can be really relaxing coming out here.”
Patsy said there was a variety of custom-built model planes that flew at the Bundaberg Aeromodellers field, with members saying “the sky was the limit” when it comes to choices.
“We have replicas of civilian aircraft, models of Red Bull Racing planes, a range of war birds, and even gliders all here,” Patsy said.
Building and flying aeroplanes has changed a lot over the decades, Bundaberg Aeromodellers member Pete Gracie recalls the days when flying was not only harder, but also more expensive.
“I’ve been flying planes for 65 years now,” Pete said.
“These days it’s all electronics controlled, when I first went to radio control I had just one button to press.
“Once to go left and two to go right, and three to stop the motor!”
Pete said these days, flying was more realistic in price and even beginners could have a model plane in the air for $150.
Bundaberg Aeromodellers field second to none
“We have a lot of members locally, and some who travel from Brisbane to stay here as we have such good camping facilities, we do have one of the best fields in the country with our big open space,” Patsy said.
“We have the club house with hot showers and toilets, so when people camp, they have everything they need.
“Some locals wouldn’t even know we are out here, but we virtually have someone here flying every day!”
Patsy said the Coonarr field was the perfect place for the Bundaberg Aeromodellers and they were lucky to have it.
“We have this big, safe area, we are not flying around houses, near the airport or other places people aren’t supposed to,” she said.
“We fly two or three together and are able to chase each other around, it’s just so much more engaging when you can fly with other people, rather than alone down at a park.
“It’s a social atmosphere, where you can come out make a coffee and enjoy the afternoon flying over while watching the kangaroos out here too.”
Bundaberg Aeromodellers October Fun Fly
Patsy said keen flying enthusiast from across the country would travel to the Bundaberg Region during October to take part in the Bundaberg Aeromodellers October Fun Fly event.
“We have people from Townsville, Bowen, the Gold Coast, Toowoomba to name a few, they travel and camp out here, and then spend time in Bundaberg,” she said.