A summary of the aeromodelling career of Robin Hiern, multiple record holder and speed champion in both Australia and Britain.
1. This picture shows Robin (right) with his flying friend Bill Carter at Bunyip in about 1962. Bill is holding a Stuntmaster, and Robin a Cougar, built from an Aeromodeller plan and powered by the Frog 500 Robin still uses in a Thunderbolt today. On the ground is Robin's Tiger Moth, and his version of a Firestreak flying wing powered by an OS Max 1 35.
Bunyip had a strong model aero club in the early nineteen sixties. The club flew at the Bunyip Primary School attended by Robin, where there was sometimes model flying during school hours.
2 This is the Thunderbird Mk.2 built by Robin whilst at High School in 1964. It was powered by an Enya 29 3b and was painted orange with black trim. This plane was flown only a few times before Robin retired from modelling for five years or so to go car racing. When next flown in 1970 the plane suffered a series of crashes and rebuilds before the final tailplane failure in mid flight...
3. After leaving school in 1964 Robin moved to East Brunswick, where he is pictured with his Cougar and Firestreak again.
4. Robin's first speed model was an FAI class Devil powered by Kosmic 15 and pictured here at Moorabbin in 1974. It executed a memorable wingover!
5. FAI Speed winners at the 1977 Victorian State Champs, the first contest held on the concrete circle laid at Frankston field early in 1977. Flanked by New South Welshmen Dave Smith and Graham Burgess who filled second and third places stands Robin with his winning Rossi 15 powered plane, thought to be the first assymetric built in Australia.
6. A genuine vintage speed model is Robin's copy of "Gook", which held the 2.5cc world record of 106mph in 1951. The original was built by Peter Wright, who worked for De Havilland in England making wings for the DH Comet.
The wings of this model are made with aluminium alloy skins as is modern practice in FAI. The pan is made of Elm wood. Power is supplied by an ED 2.46 Racer engine in Robin's model, one of the few glow plugged versions of this well known diesel motor made by the ED factory. Robin's reason for building this vintage model was to try breaking Peter's record, which he managed to do with a flight of 113mph.
7. At the South Australian State Champs of 2002 Robin set a new speed record of 284.75 kph with his Profi powered FAI model.
8. Robin was the happy winner and second placegetter in the piston engined combined speed competition at the 56th Australian Nats of 2002/3. In his hands is his second placed Class 1 model powered by an RH-11, an engine of his own manufacture now established as the fastest in its class.
It was after working for some time at Baron Engines on go-karts that Robin decided to work from home making and selling modelling bits and pieces, fixing up engines and tuning them. In the go-karting world, people with engineering skills such as Greg Smith and Neal McAuley make a lucrative living by blueprinting, modifying, maintaining, and tuning racing engines for their customers. Robin tried doing a similar thing for modelling enthusiasts, and for years had radio control, car, and control line customers from all over Australia and overseas. At a year 2000 count his engines held 10 Australian records.
In 2007 Robin's fleet consisted of 21 speed models all ready to fly.
See more speed models here.