MAAA Wingspan - Quarterly Magazine

10 WING SPAN FEBRUARY MAAA member, Noel Whitehead has practised the skill of scale modelling for the best part of 40 years. It’s a discipline he says he didn’t originally set out to do. “I was living in Canberra back in those days. Canberra and Wagga have a sort of reciprocal competition, whereas Wagga puts on a WW2 competition and Canberra a WW1 competition. Just so I could be in it, I built a WW1 model and I haven’t stopped scale modelling since,” Noel said. An actuary (insurance statistician) by trade and a member of the Yarra Valley Aeromodellers, the gliding club VARNS, (that allows power model flyers) and the P & DARCS close to Dandenong, Victoria- Noel began building control line models at school. He had a hiatus from his hobby when he began university, but got back into scale modelling in the late 1970s. Noel’s most treasured scale model is a Winjeel – a home grown RAAF trainer that flew between the 1950s and 1980s and took him three-four years to construct. “I have just started building a larger version of the same aircraft and it’ll be a much shorter project because I have all the numbers in the computer already,” he said. Aside from scale modelling, Noel has also competed in numerous World Championships as a World Scale judge too. He explains the specific qualities he looks for when judging. “Scale judging is in two parts- one is the accuracy and fidelity of the model and the other is the compulsory flying section. On the static side, it’s comparing it with the documentation provided. You look for anything that’s different. “On the flying side, it’s a set of compulsory manoeuvres. What you’re looking for is realism in the air. It has to fly at the right speed, be positioned in the right place and be able do the manoeuvres accurately. As a judge you have to be able to convince yourself that it’s a full size aeroplane seen further away.” Noel’s advice for MAAA members looking to get into scale modelling is to “just do it,” though he does admit to being cynical about the current aeromodelling climate. PERSEVERANCE AND DETERMINATION IS WHAT NOEL WHITEHEAD BELIEVES YOU NEED TO SUCCEED AT SCALE MODELLING HISTORY STORY: SCALE MODELLING FOR LIFE