They do everything stunt planes can do and more — members of the PDQ Flyers are inviting interested people to see how much fun it can be to fly model aircraft.
The current average age of the 60 Parksville District and Qualicum Flyers Association members is about 65, explained PR director Bruce Berry, who said the club is always looking for younger people.
The Flyers are presenting some of their latest creations at the Nanaimo North Mall (formerly Rutherford) this Saturday to reach out to potential members. They won’t be flying planes in the mall but they will showcase their building skills.
Berry got into the hobby about 10 years ago when he went to a fly-in event at Springwood Park in Parksville and he’s been hooked ever since.
“The technology has really advanced, especially with electric engines, even just in the last ten years,” he said, pointing out that while at least two-thirds of their models are liquid fuel powered, the electric ones are a lot quieter and simpler to start flying. He suggests the cost is probably the biggest hinderance for younger people, with fancier models getting into the thousands of dollars, but there is a wide range and people can start from scratch, with kits or buy ARFs (almost ready to fly) packages that are simple to assemble.
On a recent visit to the club’s 600-foot grass flying field in Nanoose Bay (owned by the federal department of defence), the club’s chief instructor Peter Jubb was getting in a quick run with his scale model of an Sbach 342 aerobatic plane, flying upside down, hanging vertically and generally playing with the laws of physics.
Asked how long it would take most people to learn that, Berry said, “I don’t know, he’s the only one who can do that.”
Jubb has also been involved with model planes for about ten years, and though several of their members were pilots he said he wasn’t and he’s not sure that would help.
Berry said it is a bit of a nostalgia trip for some who build and fly models of the aircraft they flew in the Armed Forces and again models range from slow flying 1940s trainers to modern turbo jet powered ones.
They range from hand sized micro-planes to at least one B29, four engine model with a 20-foot wingspan thats been seen in the area.
While there is no pressure within the friendly club, several of their members, including Jubb, travel to flying and craftsmanship competitions with some of the country’s 400 other clubs.
While their membership is mostly older they have some younger people and they often see three generations of a family out flying the planes together.
Clubs also support air cadets and other youth groups across the country.
For general information check the Model Aeronautics Association of Canada at maac.ca.
For more local information stop at the club’s April 6 display in the Nanaimo North Mall, check www.pdqflyers.com, contact Berry at email@example.com or stop at their field, up the road at the northbound pullout across from the Nanoose Chevron when the gate is open.