MRCHC is a club located near Mordialloc VIC, on the grounds of Cornish College. We get together most weekends and public holidays to fly and chat about model radio controlled helicopters. The club aims at getting new comers into the hobby up in the air, helping them learn the basics of flying and maintenance/repairs.
With two MAAA qualified instructors and along with a training model we have the knowledge and experience to help you get the most out of the hobby. At MRCHC you will find nothing but good advice and great people who are more than happy to assist, with a friendly non-pretentious environment. We hope to see you soon!
The following is a brief history of the MRCHC by Ian Anderson, a founding member of the club.
The Club was formed in April 1987; this came about for the following reason.For many years a group of Helicopter Enthusiasts had been flying at a school oval in Malcolm Road Braeside, this place was called Beda Park and was owned by St Beads College, unfortunately the school sold the land to a developer who quickly began turning it into an industrial estate. One of the first problems this informal group of flyers had was to find a new site, and as we looked it became obvious that a club was needed so we could approach various schools and other people who might have been able to give us access to land.
I had mentioned the idea of forming a club many times but everyone was happy with the informal arrangement, however time got the better of us all and along with Max Tandy, Graham Smith and Paul Webber it was decided to have meeting to test the interest in officially forming a club.
One of the most important things that was required to gain a site was the issue of insurance, so in April 1987 a meeting was then called to see about the formation of a club.
This meeting was held at the home of Graham Smith in Frankston, there was little publicity and people only found out by word of mouth. We only expected about 20 people to turn up, well we were wrong. Such was the interest that about 50 people arrived this was more than we had ever hoped for.
It was decided that a club would be formed on that night with Barry Hendy to be President, Graham Smith Vice President, Max Tandy to be Secretary with myself, Ian Anderson being the Treasurer. These 4 were to get things going and then to get the club registered prior to an official general meeting being called to vote in a full committee. On the evening we had a loan of $1000.00 made to the new club by Archie Robinson, this got us up and running until membership fees were worked out and we began to officially get members.
By the end of June 1987 we had 50 official paid up members and the formal committee was formed, this was as follows:
President: Barry Hendy, Vice President: Graham Smith, Secretary: Paul Webber, and Treasurer being myself, Ian Anderson.
Through a friend, Max Tandy approached St Leonards College at Bangholme and within a short space of time the club had a home the same place we use today. St Leonard’s (Now and new Independent School under the new name of Cornish College) were very accommodating and we were soon allowed to put up a shed that was donated by Keith Feldman. They also regularly mowed an area for us to be able to fly from.
One of the first official competition’s the club was to begin running, was the Victorian State Titles. These had for many years been run by the Doncaster Aero Club owing to the fact they had a few Helicopter Flyers. The first event at the new club field was held on the main football oval to the right of the driveway as you enter. The school gave us access to an adjacent pavilion where we set up the scoring which was done manually then. We also had access to a Kitchenette. At that time the school wasn’t as developed. What was the caretaker’s residence has since been consumed by the schools expansion and is now the Principals Office. The current caretaker’s residence came much later. With fewer buildings than there are today, our club shed was located to what is now the north end of the carpark.
By 1991 the club was up to 105 members and things were running well, it was in this year we were asked to take on the biggest task we had been involved with. That was to be the running of a World Championship event to be held at Airworld in Wangaratta. This event was to be run with Pattern & Pylon flying as well; a committee was formed to run the event comprising people from the various interest groups involved.
Barry Hendy, Bruce Smith, Paul Dewar and myself were to be the Helicopter representatives on the committee. Barry Hendy was appointed as the CD for F3C as he was the most experienced helicopter pilot in Australia and had been National and State Title holder many times. I was his assistant CD.
The event drew on the resources of the whole club with about 20 members being involved in the 5-day event and many more members taking the time off work to attend. We in Australia had never seen such high standard of flying and I am sure those members that were involved will never forget the experience.
The highlight of the event was an informal fun fly following the completion of the competition which was to be mainly for the people who had helped and the contestants both local and international that had attended. We anticipated and were prepared to cater for about 60 people but the attendance was overwhelming with about 500 turning up to watch the international visitors one of whom was Curtis Youngblood. This was the first time any of us had seen him fly. This was well and truly before ‘U Tube’. We were all amazed at what this guy could do with a model chopper and it left many of our members with ideas as to what they could do. It was the first time we had seen what was really the beginnings of what was to become 3D flying as we know it today.
It was not long after the event that back in Melbourne we suddenly saw Robert Barbuto, John Wessell, Simon Ventevogel all beginning to do this strange 3D style of flying. It was certainly entertaining to watch but also costly in the early days as many models were lost practicing – not just from brain fade but also mechanical failure. Unlike now, models back then were generally not engineered for such a work out. Max was the Australian importer of X-Cell Helicopters and then until ill health overtook things and he sold the business. Sadly Max passed away several years ago.
Over the years this club has been lucky to have had many members who have contributed to make it the successful club it is today, here are just a few of the names from the past. Some of you may still remember them. (Sorry to anyone I missed out)
Marvin Carr, Robert Barbuto, John Wessell, Simon Ventevogle, Paul Webber, Nick Csabafy, Max Tandy, Graham Smith, Paul Dewar, Barry Hendy, Mike Farnan, Glen Attwood, Archie Robinson, Keith Feldman, Mike Smith, David Crump, Lindsay Henderson and Peter Banhidi
I have left one name off for a reason, that name is Roger Chapman. Roger deserves a special mention, he has been involved with the club for a very long time now and has been the backbone of the committees over the years, our club should think itself lucky to have a person of Roger’s calibre who devoted many hours to the running of the hobby at club, state and national level.
Since the clubs inception we have run many State and National events all with a great deal of success however the event that sticks in my mind as being the most successful was the first Shepparton International Helifest, we were able to attract many of the Japanese team flyers and of course Curtis Youngblood with some help from the MAAA and a lot of help from Mike Farnan from Model Engines. For a while the event was run every 2 years and was widely accepted by Helicopter enthusiasts from all over Australia who travelled from the most remote of places to attend.
Through Nick Csabafy & Graham Smith we got involved with the Make A Wish Foundation who caters for kids with terminal illnesses. Through this organisation we began teaching David Chambers to fly model helicopters. David was confined to a wheelchair and only had limited use of his hands, but it was great to see the smile on his face when he finally managed to get a model to hover it was quite an achievement. Unfortunately David passed away at the age of about 18 but I am sure he loved his trips to the field and watching the models fly.
Over the years many of our members have travelled all over Australia competing in State & National events, and some such as Mike Farnan and Andrew Donaldson have represented Australia at the World Championships and have been very competitive.
Mike Farnan has achieved more than any other member winning more State and National titles than any other flyer in Australia, and he has represented Australia at International events approximately 5 times.
Mike also set world records for long distance flying over land and flying over water, these records have not been beaten and will not be for a long time I suspect. His achievements are recorded in the Guinness Book Of Records.
In more recent times with the introduction of International 3D competitions to accommodate this popular style of flying, James Dargue has excelled and has competed several times at the 3D Masters. An incredible achievement as one needs to be of a very high standard to be selected to compete at this event.
As a Club we should be proud of what we have achieved nationally and internationally from such small beginnings.
This is only a brief history of the club and its beginnings but hopefully it will give you some insight into how the club was formed and for what reasons.
Here is a list of Club Presidents from the first years to now
|1987 / 1989||Barry Hendy|
|1989 / 1992||Ian Anderson|
|1992 / 1993||Bruce Smith|
|1993 / 1996||Paul Dewar|
|1996 / 1999||Ian Anderson|
|1999 / 2000||Wayne Devlin|
|2000 / 2002||Peter Banhidi|
|2002 / 2007||Roger Chapman|
|2007 / 2008||Andrew Donaldson|
|2008 / 2012||Roger Chapman|
|2012 / 2017||Jeff Sussman|
|2017 -||Ben Boldeman|
I hope from my part in the formation of the club, that it will prosper and continue to grow, and maintain the ideals that were put in place in the early days. That was to promote and foster model Helicopter Flying in Victoria and beyond, I am sure we have well exceeded our expectations over the many years and will continue to do so.
MRCHC Life Member
Jason passed away unexpectedly late December 2014. He was a quiet achiever, a person of few words, never perhaps liking to be the centre of attention but contributed in a very real way to the Club. He put many hours into looking for a new field when it looked like the school was going to close – fortunately the school recovered under the Uniting Church and we ceased looking. In a similar fashion, when a number of years ago the Club needed a new Editor to take on the Club Newsletter, he volunteered. When we needed to transport our new Club House he arranged the transport. That was Jason. He was one of those people who was the first to volunteer for tasks and then just quietly went about delivering. Over the last part of 2014 Jason was kept busy with his love of FPV and did not spend too much time at the field but he faithfully produced the bi-monthly newsletter. We will miss Jason and his friendly chats.
Jason unexpectedly departed this life on the 19 June 2014. He was a very active member of the MRCHC which included being on the committee and at the Club Field nearly every weekend. He had that typical sardonic ‘Aussie’ sense of humour which we all appreciated and enjoyed that included a happy and positive outlook on life. He would offer his help and knowledge to anyone that needed it; was highly intelligent and a very capable heli builder. He pioneered quad copters before they were popular, a very accomplished pilot and a great asset to the R/C helicopter community. This included organizing the first and very successful Winter Solstice Event only a couple of weeks prior and is planned to continue as an ongoing tribute to Jason. He is and will be missed by us all.