Little Airshow soars

Visit Michell AirPark on Lochside Drive Aug. 5 - 6 to check out what the best in model aviation has to offer.

Stretch your neck and get ready to look skywards as Victoria’s Largest Little Airshow swoops in to delight crowds with some finely-crafted aerial aerobatics.

This is the sixteenth year for the Victoria Radio Control Modellers Society event, which sees small scale model enthusiasts display and fly their finely crafted miniatures for the entertainment of the large crowds that come out for the free, two-day show.

To start it was a group of enthusiasts building and flying for their own amusement, but they noticed people started to stop by and watch, so they started an event. And the event took off, so to speak.

“We were kind of victims of our own success,” said airshow organizer Jack Price, speaking to the amount of work that now goes into hosting the annual show.

Now the two-day airshow sees around 4,000 people come out each year, and has over the years raised over $250,000, most of it, at least recently, going to Santa’s Anonymous.

The process for building a miniature plane starts with a photo of the real deal, for instance a Second World War-era P-51 Mustang. The small scale version will then be built to look as close to the original as possible.  Some build from scratch, creating the plans and then using wood, glue and other materials to craft the miniature, although Price said it’s mainly the “old timers” now who go this route. The younger enthusiasts build mainly from kits, partially built planes with fibreglass fuselage and wings, which are then assembled. After the build is complete, the plane is judged not only on its appearance, but also on the ability of the pilot to fly it in a manner that mimics the way in which the original would have flown.  Price, a former private pilot and lifelong aviation enthusiast, enjoys the challenge of flying the larger planes, and will be bringing his A-10 jet, along with a quarter-scale Second World War-era Corsair.

“It can be very hard to fly in a realistic manner, because obviously your butt isn’t in the seat, so you’re doing in just by eyesight,” Price said. “Landing of course is challenging, and there’s wind and there’s turbulence and all kinds of things you have to deal with… It’s like a very realistic video game, only we can’t press a reset button if we crash.”

Spectators to this year’s event will see First World War-era planes, the sleek classic planes of the Second World War, feats of wonder from aerobatic aircrafts, a jet demo from an A-10 replica, along with novelty performances such as Snoopy vs. the Red Baron and a flying lawn mower.

Victoria’s Largest Little Airshow runs August 5-6 from 10am-4:30pm at the Michell Airpark on Lochside Drive. The event will also have a concession, static displays, a 50/50 draw, raffle and a bouncy castle.

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