Valley Radio Flyers Shepparton held its annual mammoth fly-in event last month — for the 36th year in a row.
‘‘It’s about flying model aeroplanes ... big ones,’’ Valley Radio Flyers president Tiny Harrison said.
Traditionally the biggest radio-controlled flying event in Australia, this year the event attracted just 40 entries and 60-odd models.
‘‘It’s a large drop in numbers compared to previous years ... we’re trying hard to get it back to the old days,’’ Mr Harrison said. More a social day than anything, the exhibition provided flyers from across the country to fly in front of a large crowd.
‘‘We had about 600 through the gates ... competitors started arriving on Tuesday with their caravans before the crowds got there over the weekend,’’ Mr Harrison said.
‘‘It was a good weekend, the weather was perfect, on Sunday you couldn’t have asked for a better day.’’
A commentator told the public the history behind each aeroplane, with only experienced pilots allowed to fly at the event.
‘‘I’m one of the newer members to the club ... have been flying for about two years,’’ Mr Harrison said. ‘‘I saw an ad in the local paper and bought a plane ... now I’m up to about 30 because it’s so addictive.’’
Mr Harrison said a spectacular model plane and radio was this year’s major prize in the raffle and was valued at $700.
‘‘It was donated by Pro Hobby in Lorraine St in Shepparton and was won by a lady in Euroa, Lisa Thompson.’’
Mr Harrison said the club was hoping to run some public events in the near future.
‘‘We can teach beginners to fly on what we call the ‘Buddy Box System’ where an experienced pilot has two radios — one for the learner and one for them — meaning he can take control if an accident is about to happen,’’ he said.
Anyone interested in learning more about the Valley Radio Flyers club is encouraged to call Tiny on 0419590466 or Ron 0407527215.