13 NOVEMBER WING SPAN MAAALogo. Nevertheless, only a couple of years ago, in 2016, Mal, (who is a long-standing member of the South Soaring League Club) took out top honours to become the Australian F5J National Champion at the MAAA F5J Nationals. It was part of the AEFA Electric Rally held at the NAAS Club out of Canberra. But that wasn’t all. Mal also won Old Timer Texaco, with his custom built 150% Stardust Special, came second in 1/2A Texaco and second in Height limited Old timer at the same rally. Refreshingly, Mal has never been afraid to try something new either. As recently as 2013 he built a quadcopter from scratch, then later in the same year went on to construct a First-Person View (FPV) model that he flew through a set of goggles. “If something new comes along I’ll give it a try - anything that flies. I’m still flying FPV models to this day, whenever I can coax an observer to come out to keep the model in visual sight, as required by the MAAA rules.” Mal has significantly given back to the aeromodelling community too. By his own estimations, he has taught around 300-400 budding pilots to fly both control line and radio control. Notably, between 2005 and 2014, he participated in the ‘Concept to Creation’ project, where he taught 100 pilots in secondary schools to fly a model that dropped bombs on a target. “It was in conjunction with the RAAF and the Northern Advanced Manufacturing Industry Group and involved about eight schools. The bomb drop was all undertaken inside a tent from a television screen,” he explains. “I used to teach Technology Studies, (called Manual Arts in some states) which embraced a variety of disciplines including Wood and Metal work, Plastics, Applied Electricity, Electronics, Computer Aided Design (CAD) and Photography.” In fact, Mal ran aeromodelling clubs at the majority of the schools that he taught in, including running six Mid North Champs from 1967 – 1973 in Clare and Port Pirie. “The clubs were called ‘Skyliner Model Aero Club’ and ran from 1967 at Clare HS to 1985 at Modbury High School,” he explains. “It wasn’t surprising then, that my own designed radio- controlled glider models have been called Skyliner. Most of them have been very successful competition models. The latest version is Skyliner 32.” As an exceptionally accomplished lifelong MAAA member, Mal Pring is clearly a glowing testament to the classic fun and camaraderie of aeromodelling that has made it such an essential sport for past and present members over the past 75 years.