19 March 2024

Wagga Model Aero Club gears up for Military Scale Event

| Chris Roe
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group of model-plane enthusiasts with a display of their handiwork

This year’s display will mark the 50th anniversary of the Wagga Model Aero Club’s Military Scale Event. Photo: Wagga Model Aero Club.

The Wagga Model Aero Club is gearing up for the annual Military Scale Event just after Anzac Day, with dozens of scaled-down versions of classic warplanes expected to take to the skies.

This year’s event marks the 50th anniversary of what has become the largest and longest-running event of its type in Australia, paying tribute to the wartime pilots and aircraft of the past.

“Every year we run this event primarily for World War II planes,” explained club president Alexander Keyes.

“It’s no longer a competition, it’s now what we call a ‘fun fly’, which is where people from the general public can come out and have a look free of charge.

“The guys put their planes in the air and people can get a feel for flying in a controlled situation.”

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The World War II event was first staged in 1974, with 11 entrants bringing planes from Sydney, Canberra and local Riverina clubs, and it is held annually on the closest weekend to Anzac Day.

“We’ve got aerobatic planes going up and there’s a couple of helicopter fliers, so it’s really good fun,” Mr Keyes said.

“We’ll have food and drink on out at the clubhouse on the Urinquinty Road and we’re always looking for new members that might want to get involved.”

two men with a poster

Wagga Model Aero Club president Alexander Keyes and secretary Brian Gardiner are keen to sign new members. Photo: Chris Roe.

Club secretary Brian Gardiner said flying model planes was a rewarding hobby, from assembly to flying.

“There is a visual appeal because any aeroplane in the air is a graceful thing, and to get it to take off and to perform in the air and then to land it nice and smooth, it’s like a hole in one in golf,” he said with a laugh.

“You know that that lump of plywood or foam and plastic isn’t going to do that unless you do the right thing.

“And if there’s a sudden bang, and you’ve got bits and pieces all over the floor, you’ve done the wrong thing, Sunshine!”

display of model planes

Some of the spectacular model planes at past Military Scale Events. Photo: Wagga Model Aero Club.

Mr Gardiner said building and rebuilding aircraft was all part of the fun.

“You take it from a box full of woodchips, you glue them all together in a set pattern and the damn thing becomes an airplane!” he said.

“With the crashes, you get over that. Take defeat and success and treat them both the same, to borrow from Rudyard Kipling.”

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Mr Keyes was equally philosophical.

“Never fall in love with the model,” he warned.

“You learn from each disaster and then you get better, but I can tell you from personal experience, it’s been 20 years and I’m still learning!”

The Wagga Model Aero Club’s 50th Anniversary Military Scale Event will be held on 27 and 28 April.

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