The aeromodelling biography of Brian Eather, a key figure in NSW control line racing & aerobatics circles for more than forty years.
1. Brian started building free flight rubber powered kits from around ten years of age in the mid 1940's. He was about twelve when we heard powered models flying in the park nearby. He rushed over and was warmly greeted by abut six flyers. Some had glow engines and he remembers a couple of Atwoods (not sure if they were spark). One of the fellows, a couple of years older than Brian, asked if he wanted to buy a model. Brian jumped at the chance! His dad drove him around to this guy's home where he showed them the model he had for sale. It was a Phantom Mite powered by a Mills 0.75. He assured Brian and his dad that the engine ran well and proceeded to start and run it on the arm of the lounge chair. His dad bought the model for him and Brian's lifetime control line adventure began. The attached photos are of Brian's replica Phantom Mite fitted with the original Mills.
2. Over the following years Brian designed and built many control line and free flight models powered by that fantastic little Mills .75. Then he made the leap up to a Frog 500. They used to fly in the local park in Newcastle where they lived also at sealed airstrip up near Hexham. Brian joined the newly formed Newcastle Model Aircraft Club where he met a member of the club named Andy Jensen. He had two daughters and a lovely wife. Brian became close to them and spent much time visiting and later storing his Moth (sailing boat) at their home on Lake Macquarie. Andy owned the model shop in Hamilton where Brian and his modeling friends often met on a Saturday morning to purchase balsa and other building items. Andy was an engineer who worked for QANTAS in the engine rebuild and testing facility. He had a vast understanding of what made good engines great. It was a 1960 Saturday morning in the shop when Andy showed Brian his latest engine. It was a MK 1 ETA 15 diesel. The new FAI team race class had just been introduced and Andy asked Brian to design a model for the ETA. Brian had little understanding of what was required, but he decided that a speed model built upside down could be a good idea. He designed the model to utilise a mono wheel and he added a dihedral tail plain to clear the grass. He took the advice offered by Ken Bedford and mounted the engine on a 1/4" aluminium plate glued and screwed to a hardwood crutch. The result was a model often referred to as "pod and boom". At first many competitors complained and claimed it was illegal. Andy flew that model at the 1960 Camden State Champs. Brian was not present but was told it was clocked at 105 MPH. This was the best speed they ever achieved with an ETA.
3. Brian thought he should get in on the action and went ahead and built his own ETA 15 powered FAI model. He formed a team with his friend Ian Roach. Brian was the pilot and Ian the mechanic. Together they won many contests including 1st 1961 Nats, 1st 1962 Nats, 3rd 1963 Nats, 1st 1964 Nats, 1st 1965 Nats, until 1966 when Ian was sent, by his company, to work in England for two years. Their last contest together was the 1965 Canberra Nationals which they won with a heat time of 4:10. Brian wanted to fly in the British World Camps in 1966 but his finances would not allow. Their 4:10 heat time could have won the British World Champs.
4. After the 1967 Nationals Brian put the models away and turned to sailing. He sailed most weekends on his Moth for about two years until he met Val, his wife to be, they married had two children and spent the next ten years putting together a family home in Liverpool. During this time Brian flew radio gliders off a slope and had a short stint back in racing. One afternoon he heard a model flying in a park at Warwick Farm. He made a quick trip over to be greeted by a number of Stunt pilots including Paul Turner, Reg Towell, Warren Williams and other new comers he had not met. At that time he was teaching at Liverpool Boys High School and had finished his degree studies, so he had free time and decided to get back into flying aerobatics as it was now called. He purchased a Super Tigre 46 and built his own design stunter. He flew a lot trying to learn the pattern which now included squares. He built three models but could not get the performance he was looking for until he flew Reg Towell's Caudron. Wow! it was what he was looking for. Brian decided the Caudron's long fuselage was what made it so good. He built a model based on the Firecracker pylon racer with a long fuselage and called it Starduster. It flew exactly as he wanted and gave hims much satisfaction including a 10th place at the 1984 USA World Championships. A feat no other Australian has bettered at any World Champs to date.
5. Here is a very happy Brian after he won the 2005 Nationals.
6. Brian has built about 40 Firecrackers over the years and with them achieved 7th, 9th and 11th places at the USA Nationals and three Australian Nationals first places. This last photo is his latest Stalker 61 powered model.
Click on any picture at right to see a larger view.