MAAA Wingspan

12 13 WING SPAN NOVEMBER MAAALogo. heritage story: Birthday bash as TRACS celebrates 50 years THE TOWNSVILLE RADIO AERONAUTICAL CONTROL SOCIETY (TRACS) WILL BE CELEBRATING THEIR 50TH BIRTHDAY IN MAY, IT’S A MOMENTOUS MILESTONE FOR THE CLUB AND ITS MEMBERS BOTH PAST AND PRESENT. The Club has had a successful 50 years taking to the skies over north Queensland, priding themselves on being open and friendly to aeromodellers and the local community by spreading their wings wide to be inclusive to both the young and old who want to learn more about the sport. Club Member, Craig Burkhardt said TRACS was very supportive of their members and ensured they continued to have a culture of great camaraderie. “We have always been a welcoming club that invites the public to our club and have held have a go days to create exposure for our sport and encourage the younger generation to try their hand at aeromodelling,” said Craig. “We’ve also hosted school groups and the local scouts who built delta darts and learnt to fly them. “The younger generation is the future of our sport. We must continue to showcase what aeromodelling is all about to the next generation. “We look forward to marking our club achievements at our 50th Birthday celebration on May 23-24, recognising past and present members and acknowledging our successes as a club over the years.” Let’s take a walk down memory lane of TRACS members past and present: Henry Johnson recounts how he watched flyers at Ross Plains in Townville in 1968-69 at the old Ross Meat Works near the bridge on Bowen Road. As a result, TRACS club was formed in 1970 through encouragement from a keen group of aeromodellers who demonstrated considerable team spirit. The group received support from the previous experiences of Bill Collyer (a BARCS Club flyer from Brisbane) while he was in Townsville doing university studies. While catching up with Bill at Ross Plains, Henry was introduced to Bill McMonigle who was a member of the local aero club but who also loved aeromodelling. At the aero club buildings, TRACS was crystallised with a core of keen modellers such as Percy Wright, Ray Ohme, Peter Foxton, Bill McMonigle and Herb Spilsbury. Dave Whitehouse became the inaugural President. As well as Henry Eagle Johnson, other members have made significant contributions to TRACS over the years. One of them, who had migrated to Australia from England in 1958 was Bob Wigmore. Most flyers know him as Wiggie. His years at TRACS from 1972 to present times have been full of designing, building, teaching, competing, administrating and enjoying his flying. His Merlin design has been through a huge number of revisions. Another great member to recognise was John Whittaker, who joined in 1972 and who significantly helped shape the Club. He is remembered today by the Club’s Whittaker trophy, given yearly to the member who has contributed the most to the Club in the calendar year. Two current club members also hail from the 1970s era. David Goldsworthy was a member from 1975-1978 and re-joined again in 2004, while John Collins joined in 1977 and now has well over 25 years of club service. John is well-known for his creative flying “stop sign plane.” The Club has shown considerable resilience over the years with a shift in the location in 1979 from opposite Lavarak Army Barracks to a site adjacent to Swifts Meat Works. At this time, our sister MAAQ club now called Townsville Aeromodellers Society was formed. One of the highlights of this new era for the Club was successfully holding the State Power Championships in 1980 and 1983. Numerous outlying flyers used TRACS to gain MAAQ accreditation. Among these were the Pardons from Charters Towers and the Toigos from Ingham. Stories still float around today of the exploding REM ‘Jupiter’ plane which Gordon Pardon built and flew at numerous display days. Sylvio Toigo conjures up images of his self- designed, usually large planes. He was at the forefront of new and creative plane design. Geoff Varnes, David Walton, Ray Maughan, Shane Wilson and Greg Stokie have each contributed to the Club’s ethos and success in their individual way. Bob Wigmore created history in the 1980s when he flew his REM plane loaded with extra fuel tanks from Townsville to Ingham. That must have been fun and a real challenge. TRACS has a great history which they look forward to sharing with past and present members, friends and family at their birthday celebrations on May 23-24. The two days include great camaraderie, live entertainment and the sharing of stories and laughs. FEBRUARY