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High Flyers In The Suburbs

Story: Ineke Hodalin | Photo: slapics
Mar 25, 2019
High Flyers In The Suburbs
On a steamy Wednesday morning, I headed down Bracken Ridge Road to meet members of the Brisbane Thunderbirds Model Aeroplane Club, at their field adjacent to the Wetlands. 

There was a sense of anticipation as I approached. Gary Burge, the spokesman for the club, welcomed me with enthusiasm, promising me something special. 

Smiling, he said, “What I love about control line planes is you’re hanging on to the line and you feel like you are flying it.  You build it, you make it look nice, you make it look original.  You fly it, you crash it, and then away you go again.  We have lots of crashes but that’s all part of the fun.”

The club has been going for around 67 years. Currently there are about 40 members aged between 14 and 82.  Besides pleasure flying, they also run events throughout the year—visually spectacular events such as Precision Aerobatics, a Battle of Britain Day, Warbirds Day and Speed Racing.

“A couple of years ago we hosted the Queensland Titles for Precision Aerobatics , we had visitors from all over the place, including a guy from Japan.  It was brilliant.” 

The Thunderbirds’ operate under the guidelines of the Model Aeronautical Association of Australia (MAAA), ensuring a high standard of practice, especially where public safety is concerned.

There is a great sense of fellowship in the club and anyone is welcome to join.

“We’ve got trainer planes and we’ve got instructors and we help them out. You can set up a plane with an old engine you’ve picked up and you can probably get into it for about $100 to make a start.”

John Raymond, long-time member and veteran flyer wowed us with a wonderful display of control line flying as he manoeuvred his 1960 Kismet with amazing skill, making it look easy as it whirred through the air. It climbed and dived and swooped and made impressive loops. It was fascinating.

It truly was something very special – take some time out on Sunday morning to have a look.

For enquiries contact Gary Burge
on 0429 212 248