By Neil Spencer.
The inaugural JR Australia Aerotow was held over the Easter break from 22–15 April at Jerilderie in Southern New South Wales. The township of Jerilderie is famous for its association with the Australian bush ranger Ned Kelly and a life sized Ned greets customers at the Royal Mail hotel. Jerilderie is also well known as a premier Australian R/C gliding location as the country side is flat from horizon to horizon and thermals abound in the warmer months. The town council is extremely welcoming to R/C fliers and provides access to the local horse racing facility. This huge site provides an ideal open area within the race track so that operations can accommodate all wind directions and access to the pavilion and associated buildings allows for on-site camping and model storage.
Because a significant number of large scale gliders and tow planes were expected, the organizers arrived on Thursday afternoon to survey the site and prepare for heavy model certification. Large model certification took place during Friday morning which was the first official day of the event. As the weather was virtually perfect for scale gliding right from the get go, I could not resist setting up my Tandem Falk motor glider for a late afternoon/evening session after our drive from Melbourne on Thursday. I was joined by a couple of electric gliders that had a ball in the buoyant evening air.
The main event kicked off with a pilot briefing Friday morning and before long the car park and pits were looking very full with a fantastic collection of quarter, third and half scale models. There were also many more tugs at this meeting than are usual at Australian aero tow events which allowed the tow pilots to have plenty of gliding time in addition to their towing flights. With the thermals building as the morning progressed the sky was soon full of gliders so the queue for tugs was often very short and occasionally the tugs shut down when all those wanting to fly were in the air! This set the theme for the following three days as conditions really could not have been better for scale gliding. To gain a feel for the many fantastic models and flights at the meeting, point your browser at the following sites to view still and video footage from the ground and air – the images really are more effective than words can portray. (insert relevant links/sites)
The local hotels had advanced warning of the expected numbers and were well prepared to cater for hungry and thirsty modellers over the long weekend. On Sunday evening a self catered BBQ dinner was held at the race track pavilion followed by guest speaker John Greenfield who gave an interesting slide presentation and talk about the activities of the “Ghost Squadron” and giant scale R/C modelling in the UK. This was followed by presentation of the following awards with prizes donated by Model Flight Australia & O’Reilly Model Products:
1st Don Costelloe, half scale KA-6 (Prize, JR 11X radio set)
2nd Leon Carlos, quarter scale Fafnir (Prize 2 x JR DS171 servos)
3rd Gregg Voak, half scale ASW 28 (Prize E-flite Micro 4)
Best Vintage Glider Leon Carlos, quarter Fafnir (Prize Force MH-35 RTF helicopter)
Best Modern Glider Gregg Voak, half scale ASW 28 (Prize Force MH-35 RTF helicopter)
Best Tug Plane (under 80cc) Toby Gaumann, Pilatus Porter (Prize Force MH-35 RTF helicopter)
Best Tug Plane (over 80cc) John Copeland, Wilga (Prize Force MH-35 RTF helicopter)
Things started to wind down from Monday morning as participants had travelled from as far afield as Queensland, South and Western Australia however a few hardy souls continued to enjoy the fantastic conditions until Tuesday evening. All in all a wonderful inaugural JR Aero Tow Australia event which has re-invigorated scale gliding and hopefully encourages more aero tow events across the country.
A special thanks to all that made the great journeys to be there and a special thanks to Mike and OMP for sponsoring the event. We look forward to future years.
A fabulous video essay from Glenn Salsbury:
Inflight video from Gregg Voak’s Duo Discus:
Inflight videos from Henryk Kobylanski’s SZD 54:
Gregg’s Half scale ASW28: