Clive Weatherhead, Secretary NSW Aeromodellers
I started aeromodelling in the late 1960’s, with a mix of free flight and control line (combat and Goodyear racers mostly, no silencers, Oliver Tiger diesels and Super Tigre X15 glows pulling 35000rpm, causing a lifetime of ringing in my ears). In 1974, I paid more for a 2nd hand Horizon 4 channel proportional set than we’d expect to pay for a 10-channel set, brand new, today. I converted one of my gentle flying free flight aircraft to rudder and elevator control and started teaching myself to fly RC with the help of a lot of glue, balsa scrap and spare covering material.
That was in the UK, where most people fly mode 2, and it was a rite of passage to stamp down the snow on the runway for a quick winter fly – absolute madness.
Workwise, it’s anything for a quid. I’ve been involved in the insurance industry, including underwriting aviation risks in London, and I spent a good few years in consulting in the banking, investment and insurance sector, around the world, eventually landing in Sydney in the late 80’s. We already had cousins nearby, and our family became Australian citizens shortly afterwards. I converted my RC hands to mode 1, which was an ‘interesting’ period of my flying life. If you’ve tried to fly something on the other mode, you’ll understand!
More recently I have worked in risk management and corporate governance, I’m involved in a battery retail business and in an online store, and I write fiction novels (under a pseudonym) to keep my hands busy.
When it comes to RC, I’ll fly anything, rotary or fixed wing, and am experimenting with multirotors and FPV. Fixed wing gets most of my attention though, and I love sport flying, with the occasional larger scale aircraft thrown in to make me sensible. I particularly like scratch building, just for the joy of seeing what a plank of balsa can become. I love autogyros, especially getting a home-brewed version to fly properly, and I’m currently building a flying road-sign to enter into our club scale comp (nobody said it had to be a model of an aircraft). It’s my honour to have been President of Warringah Radio Control Society for a few years, now. We have a stunning field in the bush at Belrose, and around 150 members who are a brilliant bunch to spend time with. Every visit to the field is a true privilege, and flying there reminds me exactly why clubmates are called club mates.
When it comes to lead weight, I think it belongs in car batteries and not in my planes. I’m a big fan of building light with plenty of control surface movement. My favourite, if I must pick just one, is my Panic Biplane. I built it from a kit about a decade ago, and it was never a pretty plane. Old age and exhaust residue have taken a toll on it, (as have a few bingles and snapping it in half once), but it is still an absolute joy to fly. The design dates from the late 70’s, and I think it is virtually impossible to buy the kit nowadays, but when this one eventually gets called to the great plastic bag in the sky, I’ll build another from photographs and memory. It really is that good.I’m delighted to take on the role of Secretary of ANSW, and I hope that I can, at least, help to make this flying hobby as much fun for others as it is for me.