Model pilots going loopy for charities
ABOUT 1000 spectators lined the stands at the Spektrum Gratton Air International show at Calvert on Saturday, to watch the world's best aero-modellers perform spectacular in-air tricks.
Competitors travelled from all over the country, New Zealand, America and England to compete for the world titles in the four-day trials, which started on Thursday.
Organiser John Knox said the inaugural event was the biggest international radio control competition held in Australia and the only one of its kind.
"We had some 600 cars through the gate on Saturday," Mr Knox said.
Some of the scale model planes flown were worth up to $20,000, many made from kits taking years to construct.
Other aircraft were so big the Australia Civil Aviation Safety Authority had to approve them before they could fly.
Flying enthusiast Luke Cullen, who has been involved heavily in model aeroplanes for 40 years, had eight planes competing in the show.
He said the charity involvement was what brought him to the airfield each weekend.
"The money raised here today will go towards the Children's Appeal and Rosewood Respite," Mr Cullen said.
Mr Cullen had his first write-off in 10 years when radio failure caused one of his jets, worth thousand of dollars, to crash, smashing into pieces.
"The time and the frustration is what hurts most," he said.
Aero-modeller Tyson Dodd said aviation was in his blood and the sport was growing in popularity.
"We don't drink and we don't smoke - radio-controlled planes are our addiction," he said.
More that 108 pilots competed for more than $60,000 in prizes.