A gallery describing control line aeromodellers past and present, some of their models and their contributions to the sport in Australia.

Australian aircraft modellers and former aeromodellers are invited to contribute to this page.  If you have photos of, or can remember any of the people who helped to make control line modelling what it was, please share your stories with modern day readers by contacting the author, David Kidd.

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New South Wales

photoJack Finneran:
Highly respected speed flyer for many years early in the history of control line in Australia.

 

photoBrian Eather:
Stunt pilot and winner of teamracing events at Australian Nationals dating back to the early 1960's, by the turn of the century Brian was an aerobatics flier well known for his carbon fibre props, pipes, and original model designs.

photoJohn Tidey:
Moved to Newcastle from Melbourne in 1963, and eventually won aerobatics at Australian Nationals.  John became a member of Australia's first Aerobatics team to attend the World Champs in 1976.

Phillip McGee:
Competitor to be reckoned with in speed contests who went to the USA to make his fame and fortune.

photoReg Towell:
A top aerobatics flier for something like forty years, Reg is a dual Nats winner well known for his big Caudron designs.  He has won aerobatics at a Trans Tasman challenge, attended the 2000 world champs in France where he was the highest placed Australian, and won several major Classic stunt events as well.  More...

photoPeter Tilley:
Successful teamrace pilot teamed up with Alan Shing, and pictured on the front cover of the first issue of Airborne magazine.

 

photoAlan Shing:
Teamracing enthusiast who, with Peter Tilley, formed the best F2C team in Australia for several years during the 1960's.  Alan died in August 2007 but will be long remembered by his friends.

photoHutton Oddy:
One of few Australians to really make an impression in the international class of FAI team racing. With Julius Reichart, he dominated this event in Australia for many years.

photoMike Bellamy:
Successful Sydney FAI Combat enthusiast of the early 1980s who shares his memories of those times in his combat page.

 

photoMark Batty:
Forced his way to the fore in aerobatics competition around the start of the twenty-first century with outstanding piloting skills that enable him to use simple planes to outdo the more refined ones of his rivals.

photoJohn Quigley:
Proud member of the Tempe Park Sky Hawks Model Flying Club of Sydney during the late 1950s and early '60s, before becoming contaminated with wireless.

photoRobert Owen:
Combat flyer who has won multiple State and Australian championships.  A World Champs representative who also flies team race.

photoHugh Simons:
Talented young flyer who was catapulted to fame by winning the junior division for F2A speed at the World Championships of 2002.  Since then Hugh has made a name for himself in FAI Teamrace, winning this event at the 2007 Nats with Grant Potter, then winning the World Championships and setting a new world record at the same time in 2008.

photoDave Simons:
Originally from Britain where he flew mainly free flight, Dave now flies at KMFC in Sydney, pits for his son Hugh, and helps with his campaign to be the fastest in the world.

photoTony Bonello:
Highly skilled modeller who builds superb stunt ships and team racers.  Known for his smooth flying in both disciplines, Tony was winner of Advanced Aerobatics at the Albury Nats of 2002/3.

photoGeoff Potter:
Geoff Potter has specialised in team racing for many years, flying in most events and winning many championships.  He has represented Australia in F2C at the World titles.  A colourful personality, Geoff and his family travel regularly to interstate meets.

photoGrant Potter:
Grant has been modelling competitively for over 20 years, commencing with his first Nats in 1988, and including competing at 4 World Championships in which he flew F2D in 1988 and 2000, then F2C in 2006 and 2008.  When his dad Geoff retired from flying F2C Grant teamed up with Hugh Simons, enjoying Nationals and State Champs wins before their World Championship win in 2008.  Grant's pitwork has been described by others as "poetry in motion".

photoKen Dowell:
Started modelling in Victoria at the age of 8 and progressed through numerous models before winning aerobatics at the 1963 Nats at Strathalbyn. His sleek Angelique design was used with success by several other aerobatics pilots in following years. Ken lost the trust of many VMAA members whilst he was their secretary/treasurer in the mid 1960s, and has not flown much since. In recent years he has developed his Vicstunt website and moved to Gosford, NSW

photoFred Pearson:
A long time competitor in speed and racing events commencing in the late 1960s, with placings and an occasional win in Australia and New Zealand.  Standouts in his memories are the 500 lap Bankstown club Goodyear events and 1000 lap B teamraces.  In 2008 Fred lives in Coff's Harbour, and his modelling focus is on Vintage and Nostalgia CL models.

photoSteve Rothwell:
Steve started flying control line in 1962 at KMFC and has been flying models ever since, competing in Combat, Racing and Free Flight with numerous wins and places at club, State and National level.  He spent 1977-78 in Switzerland and took the opportunity to compete in some European contests.  Still a member of KMFC in 2008 and actively competing, he also makes a range of engines in his Sydney machine shop.  Those engines include the eagerly sought after R250 Oliver Tiger replica, perhaps a source of greater fame for Steve than even his flying exploits.

  

photoPaul Turner:
Already a champion as a 15 year old junior, Paul went on to become Australian Nationals champion in aerobatics twelve times starting in 1962. He is still flying in the 21st. century and further developing his series of stunters, all of them named as something starting with Wind.  Here's the WindWedge Paul campaigned around 1975 -78.

Norm Bainbridge:
Pitman for a racing team consisting of himself and son Duncan from late 1970's to early 90's, and one of the longest serving Secretaries of Ryde Epping Model Aero Club, being made a life member in the early 1990's.  Norm retired to Tasmania, and was a member of Launceston Model Aero Club until he died in February 2002.

photoDuncan Bainbridge:
Started flying mini Goodyear with his dad at REMAC in Sydney, and later graduated to other racing events. Now living in Adelaide after an extended stint in Britain, he flies F2C whenever he can, Duncan competed in this event at the Albury Nats of 2001/2.

photoAndy Kerr:
Combat champion and metal machinist who made engine tuning his specialty.  Andy was for a while noted for his special Oliver Tigers, and his Australian record for Vintage A teamrace.  Still active in 2008 and often seen helping others with their speed models, Andy has had plenty of wins and an occasional speed record of his own.

Laurie Folbig:
From Newcastle, Laurie may never have won anything of note, but he taught a lot of kids to fly CL in the 60's.  Laurie did, and probably still does, give of his time at no cost.  He appeared each week at District park with fuel mixes from Leo's shop for those of us who forgot to get some and other bits and pieces. A true gentleman.  Nominated with gratitude by Bill Olive.

Ivor F:
photoOne of the most influential figures on the Australian aeromodelling scene, in free flight and control line.  Founded the Doonside Club in NSW, which has one of the best collections of aero modelling magazines and FF/CL motors in the world.  A rather controversial figure, Ivor changed his surname from Stowe to F by deed poll to make a point, but he served education and the local community exceptionally well.  Nominated with gratitude by Justin O'Grady.

photoBrian Gardner:
Nationals aerobatics champion as a junior in 1985/86, Bri is one of Australia's leading modern day aerobatics exponents.  See his planes here.

photoDallas Hanna:
Better known as Herb in aeromodelling circles, was Nationals aerobatics champion in 1969 and retains a keen interest in classic stunt.  Along with Doug Harlow and John Tidey, formed Australia's first team to attend the World Champs aerobatics in 1976, and attended again in 2000.

photoBill Logan:
Combat flier of renown and campaigner of some very fast SuperTigre .29 powered Class 2 teamracers around the mid nineteen sixties.

 

photoRichard Justic:
Recognised as one of the best pilots in Australia, Richard has won many C/L racing and speed events, including FAI Speed at the 2002/3 Nationals. He was also earlier named Control Line Champion at the Toowoomba Nats of 1998/9.

photoAndrew Heath:
Once very active in combat and now a regular finalist at most Bendix events in Australia, Andrew's pit stops and engine development abilities are widely recognised.

photoWarren Leadbeatter:
Started modelling at age 13, initially flying freeflight and 1/2A control line models with the Doonside club in Sydney. Moved to Newcastle in 2006 where he has concentrated on aerobatics, achieving several placings in competition. Built over 30 different control line stunt models in the space of 2 years! Has a lot of fun teaching people (mainly kids) to fly control line. See some of his models here.

photoPhil Poole:
Phil is one of those indispensible modellers who helps keep the numbers of control line flyers up whilst having a fantastic time flying for fun.  He started in 1970 with the club at Pennant Hills, mainly flying Ironmonger combat wings with his mates.  His favorite model at that time was an Ambassador powered by Enya 15III.  Health problems have limited Phil's competition fitness, so in 2008 he finds himself playing with team racers, slow combat, and restoring some classic stunters.  Phil just loves the camaraderie of the C/L fraternity and building models.

photoRay Fairall:
Control Line has provided Ray with a life long challenging technical interest, provided most of his good friends, and has been a most satisfying life experience.  He flew combat with the Ryde Model Aircraft Club without making much impact on the results, before taking a break from aeromodelling in 1967.  Ray started flying again in 1993 with his son Lachlan, contesting speed and racing events up until 2002 when a serious brain injury caused Lachlan to retire from control line flying. In 2008 Ray flies racing events with Greg Ardill, always having a good time regardless of results.

photoGreg Ardill:
Greg began flying in 1963 at Ryde MAC, where he was taught to fly by Stuart Sherlock. He stopped flying in 1967 to pursue other interests, but by the early 80's his interest returned, initially flying CL and some FF at the Richmond NSW site. In the early 90's he became interested in speed and team racing, eventually teaming up with his mate of 40 years to create the FART (Fairall Ardill Racing Team). In 2008 he flies VTR events as often as possible.


Western Australia

photoCharlie Stone:
W.A. State Champion several times over, this versatile modeller's story is so typical of boys who grew up during the golden age of control line that it is worth telling in full.  See Charlie's page for a description of his aeromodelling adventures in Western Australia, and his trip east to attend the 1963 Nationals.

Hans Bertina:
photoBuilder of some beautifully finished teamracers, Hans had a winning time as a teamrace pilot during a year he spent in Victoria.  An enormous picture of him with his Startiger appeared on the front page of the Warrnambool newspaper after he won four teamrace events there in one weekend of 1965.  Also successful in Stunt, Combat, Speed and Free Flight power, Hans once built his own FAI speed engines.

Jim Stivey:
photoStarted modelling at around 12 years of age, enjoying all of the aeromodelling disciplines.  Jim's primary interest is C/L combat and he has flown in every State FAI combat championships since the original trial in 1969.  Was the highest placed Australian combat competitor at the 1978 World Championships.  A co-founder of the active Thornlie and Regions Model Aircraft Club, Jim has also served as a president and contest secretary for the WA association.  Don't miss his Tarmac website!

Bob Fry:
photoAn all round aeromodeller with top flying skills, Bob loves to fly fast and specialises in control line Jet Speed.  He also flys numerous other events including Bendix racing in which he is a record holder and dual Nats winner.

photoTony Ostle:
Combat flier responsible for the initial promotion of FAI Combat in WA.  Tony was extremely active before his untimely death in a traffic accident, and is now remembered through the State Combat trophy which has been named as a memorial to him.

photoGraham Byass:
Started flying C/L models in the mid 1950's, with his greatest successes coming in A Class team racing, where he was virtually undefeated for several years.  Probably his most impressive model was a scale P38 Lightning powered by a pair of Fox 35's.  Graham's main interest today is in building a full size aircraft, a 2 seater Zenith Zodiac.

photoRod Ashton:
Began building and flying models at ten years of age, opened West Coast Hobbies in Oxford Street Leederville in 1948, and in 1950 won the WA Stunt Championships for the third time in consecutive years.  Rod flew an `All American Senior' powered by a Fox .35 engine, and later fitted home made floats to a `Stunt Queen' and flew aerobatics over water!  He had a break from modelling between 1953 and 1963 until his son Kim discovered some of his model plans and provided the excuse for a return to the fold.  At 67 Rod could still stunt like a man possessed.  Rod passed away in January 2001 aged 75 years.

photoDick Gibbs:
Started control line modelling with a Mills 1.3 installed in a "Junior Cham-peen" then progressed to teamracing and scale.  Somehow he became addicted to scale modeling and still has an Albatross DVA control liner that has placed twice at National championships.  His favourite was the APS free flight Tiger Moth that won the State Free Flight Scale Champs five years in a row.  Dick has flown Radio models since the 60s and is currently dabbling with Vintage C/L stunt.

photoPeter White:
Began aero modelling in Victoria with a Sabre Trainer in 1956, and became a highly respected aerobatics pilot whose building and flying skills have won him numerous championships over many years, including a Nats win in 2004.  Peter's Atlantis, Manito and Zodiac designs have served him well.  Moved to Perth W.A. in 2002.

photoNorm Kirton:
Started Control-line modeling in Britain around 1954 and soon became involved in Class A team racing.  Won FAI T/R at the 1965 British Nationals.  Flew F2C for many years with Garry Turna and then with Hans Bertina as pilot with many successes.  Too old for F2C in 2009, but still pilots for Charlie Stone in Vintage "A" and "B", a team that has accumulated many National and State wins.  Also enjoys establishing links with Singaporean aeromodellers.  More.

  

photoNoel Mitchell:
A top competitor in Western Australian teamracing during the late 1950s, and builder of models of immaculate perfection (even those for Combat that risked a short life).  Noel excelled in most facets of aeromodelling, helping many younger modellers and providing an excellent role model for them.

photoLen Armour:
Versatile modeller, full sized gliding instructor, mentor to many younger modellers, and one of few to become famous as operator of a pulse jet, which he demonstrated at the annual night flying display at Perth's Royal Show.  Len started modelling in 1942, aged 12, and enjoyed free flight gliders and radio controlled sailplanes as well as his favourites, control line stunt and speed.  His famous stunters called Lasher were developed through 8 variants between 1955 and 1968.  Len died in 1994 aged 64, after a long illness

Bernie Sparks:
Builder of lots of very pretty planes with lovely finishes.  His speciality was low pullouts from a wingover that would almost raise grass clippings every time.  Like many of the more influential modellers, he seemed to be permanently surrounded by youngsters that he was helping.

photoAlasdair Taylor:
Alasdair's safe catching and speedy re-starts in the segments has enabled the Fry/Taylor team to claim many wins and records at State and National Championships.

photoRichard Bellis:
Likes his events fast and furious.  Streamer chasing specialist Richard always does well in combat events and was winner of the Open class at the Albury Nats of 2002/3.

photoGeoff Barnes:
Began aeromodelling making solid scale models, then progressed to free flight, jetex, and active competition in control line combat and C class team racing.  Geoff took a break from modelling around 1970 but returned in grand style by appearing at the Causeway to enter the 1986 open combat state championships.  In later years he developed a preference for radio control, in which he indulged until his death in 2001.

photoRay Sherburn:
A foundation member of The Perth Balsa Butchers club formed just after the finish of WWII, Ray remembers the usual method of filling model tanks in those days was to put a tube from the fuel bottle to the fuel tank, and then put your mouth over the top of the bottle and blow.  With a Frog 500 powered `Juggler' stunter he entered the W.A. State Stunt Championships in 1951and placed third, then using the same stunt model he won the first combat competition to be held in WA.  Ray has flown mainly radio controlled models in recent years.

photoPhil Trueman:
While still a junior modeller aged 16 years Phil won four important championships in one year.  Since then he has won state stunt about ten times and become skilled at all classes of aeromodelling.  He flies with the down line at the top of the handle, which is the opposite of normal practice.

photoGary Ryan:
Remembered as the winner of the WA State Stunt championships while still a junior in 1958 & 59.

 

photoJim Trevaskis:
Flier of stunt and speed, Jim has always been fascinated by miniature engines whether for boats, cars or aircraft.  One of his talents is that he has an eye for finish, both in the manufacturing of accessory equipment and in the painting of models, so the finishes on his models are outstanding.

photoStuart Sherlock:
Also known as Joe Supercool, Stuart ran the NSW Ryde Model Aero Club in the early 1960's, and won Open Combat at the Melbourne Nats of 1964/65.  Also an aerobatics flier and talented free flight expert, he now spends his time designing and building superb props whenever he is not flying with the Mercurians.  Nominated by Greg Ardill.


Queensland

photoRon Chernich:
Past Qld state champ in F2B, F1A and other events, Ron also makes his own engines and runs a large web site dedicated to model engines in all their noisy, smelly glory called Model Engine News.

photoVan Richards-Smith:
Van "Outside Square Loop" Smith is renown at the Brisbane Thunderbirds for his inverted landings. He flys old-time, F2B, and all forms of free-flight.

photoJoe Parisi:
A frequent placegetter in aerobatics competition at Australian Nationals since 1988, Joe knows how to build impressive models and has twice won the event.

photoArthur Gorrie:
A free-flight, stunt, combat and teamrace flier and designer during in the early days of control line in Queensland, Arthur was a character with a sense of humour who ran a well known hobby store in Brisbane for many years.

photoRon Morrison:
Winner of class 2 and 3 teamraces at the 1953 Toowoomba Nats, Ron was a proud advocate of K&B engines.  Included in his many contest successes are several state championships, a Nats win in class 3 speed, plus a win in an indoor free flight event at the 1998 Toowoomba Nats.  Ron served several terms as president of the Brisbane Thunderbirds club.  His death in April 2009 was lamented by those who knew him.

photoRon de Chastel:
Another well known Brisbane hobby shop proprieter.

 
 

photoJohn Taylor:
A regular competitor at Nationals for many years, John placed in Jet Speed at Albury in 2002/3.  Also active in aeromodelling administration in Qld, he served as control line Co-ordinator for the Toowoomba Nats.

photoPeter Morandini:
A member of the Control Line Aeronautical Society Inc. at Ipswich, Peter's passion is for jet powered models.  An enormous pulse jet he once commissioned proved too powerful for a full sized pushbike, and was eventually installed in a go-kart.

photoDavid Kidd:
Victorian teamracing mechanic, record holder in Class 2, and later Nats winner in FAI racing.  Occasional contributor to Model News magazine.  Started control line modelling in 1957 at age 14 and built all these models.  Moved from Melbourne to Maryborough Queensland and retirement in 1993.

  

photoRob Edgerton:
Became interested in control line flying at the age of fourteen with the Panthers MAC.  Flies for sport rather than competition, and in 2002 serves as Secretary of Brisbane Thunderbirds club.

photoMax Newnham:
A character of considerable repute, Max's specialty has for long been the construction and flying of superb control line scale models of full sized man-carrying aircraft.  Caused a minor sensation at one Nats with his four engined Viscount replica.

photoMark McDermott:
The flying milkman, president in 2002 of the Control Line Aeronautical Society Inc. based at Ipswich.  Mark does not have much time for building models these days and prefers to just operate them, having built up a collection of fine planes (mostly racers) produced by various builders.

photoPaul Dillon:
Another C. L. A. S. I. member, Paul is predominantly a combat flyer and a regular pilot for Mark McDermott's racers.  The pair are particularly proud of a world record heat time they established at the Queensland State Championships in 2002 for Vintage A class teamracing.

photoMark Dillon:
Now concentrating mainly on combat flying together with his son Paul, Mark started control line flying with his own father, Jim, in January 1972.  Mark and Jim scored many contest successes as a father and son team throughout the seventies and eighties, flying mainly Ratrace and Goodyear.

photoJim Dillon:
Remembered as a regular racing competitor throughout the seventies and eighties with his son Mark, Jim also liked combat and had at least one of every class of competition model.  He was proud to see his grandson Paul become a third generation Dillon family control line flyer.  Jim maintained a keen interest in control line models until his death in April of 2003 at the age of 80.

photoHoward Gostelow:
Flew lots of CL in the 1950s and placed and won in Class A teamrace, with the late Dizzy Bolwell as pilot. Moved from Melbourne to the Gold Coast in 1992, where he had another win with a Sorcerer vintage B racer at Ipswich. Sees himself as a free flighter more than a control liner, with Nats wins and membership of the Australian F1C FF world champs team plus 6 Trans Tasmans to his credit. Still flies for fun and an occasional competition in 2008.

photoDennis Prior:
Builder of some beautiful teamracers, Dennis was based in Melbourne during the 1970's, where he teamed up with Theo Georgiadis.  The pair twice attended the World Champs, placing 4th in 1978.


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Developed 1999, revised 2009 by David Kidd.  Your Webmaster is Ron Chernich.