Our History and Vision
The following describes our vision for the ensuing 5 years as well as an outline of what could happen in the years beyond this. Additionally, it backgrounds our history and our view of where we fit in the wider general community, and specifically the modelling fraternity.
What we stand for
Being a good citizen
Abiding by national and association laws and rules under which our Club operates
Providing an environment under which the sport of Radio Controlled Aero Modelling can grow for the benefit of future participants.
Providing a meeting place where persons with similar interests can congregate sharing the enjoyment and challenges of the sport
By our activities, promote the area of East Gippsland for the benefit of the commerce and population.
As with a lot of Club’s in their formative years the activity began with a few following a mutual interest, not a lot was done in a formal manner, few records were kept, and meetings to discuss the operation of the gathering were ad hoc. Accordingly, a lot of the information known of the Club beyond 25 years is anecdotal. The Club was registered as a not for profit entity and incorporated on the 11th of July, 1991. In its formative years models were flown from a paddock on the corner Princes Highway and the Benworgen Road. In the late 80’s a more permanent arrangement developed on a farmer members’ property in Goon Nure. The property was sold, however the new owner allowed the continued operation of the Club until the property was again sold. The Club was then given notice to quit the site.
The Shire was approached to ascertain if they had a suitable site for lease. One was located at the rear of the Johnson Rd. Land Fill site and the Club entered into a 10 year lease with 2, 5 year extensions. Early in the first of the extension periods the Clubs state association (the VMAA) alerted all affiliated Clubs that they would offer financial support to any affiliate that located a suitable property to be developed as a State owned field. After a number of aborted attempts the current field was identified, approvals from the Shire, RAAF (Sale) and CASA were negotiated. The State Association purchased the property on the understanding that Bairnsdale Club members develop the site, by providing labour and funding beyond the fixed amount of $35000 the association was prepared to grant for the establishment of infrastructure sufficient to satisfy the Shires development requirement. The development of the site began in September 2013 and the facility was officially opened on March 17 2015. As with the Shire lease site, all the development has been by members carrying out as much of the work as own labour and skill could provide. In excess of 4000 man hours and $30000 of own funds has been expended on the current development.
What the Club can offer the Community
By its’ existence the Club has already attracted new residents to the area. As the population grows the demographic is changing with a large and continuing growth in persons retiring from capital cities and urban areas looking for a sea change, taking advantage of lower housing costs, as well as our proximity to the lakes and other tourist type areas and activities.
Being an established ‘State Owned’ facility it is open to special aero-modelling interest groups to run competitions. Normally, such events would be run over 2 days. Competitors and assistants would usually stop over for the two nights. The larger mature events at our ‘sister clubs’ at Shepparton and Wagga Wagga (NSW) attract 70+ entrants, most entrants will be accompanied by a helper. So conservatively it would be reasonable to expect 70 room nights’ accommodation in addition to meals requirements. It is expected that the facility will host up to 6 events each year.
Our membership and activity is open to all ages and sexes. Typically the demographic across Australian clubs is 10% junior, 10%, 18>25 yrs., 20% 40 yrs.> mid 50’s and 60% 55 > 80 – the memberships are predominately male. This profile offers a number of things.
For junior males, the opportunity to mix with older men that may otherwise be difficult for or unavailable to them. Additionally;
Education in the principles of flight
The development of :
Hand eye coordination
For the mature males, the environment is not dissimilar to that of a ‘Men’s Shed’ – the concept of which is widely acknowledged to provide benefits of mental health and an avenue for men to discuss personal issues, the only difference being that the common link is the construction and flying of miniature aircraft.
Vision for the future
From the early years when there were fewer than 20 regular members the Club has grown over recent times to a membership averaging 45. It is our intention to continually grow this number, with equal emphasis on Junior and Senior Membership.
How these membership numbers will be maintained
The ad hoc but regular exposure of Club and member achievements in local press and media will enhance interest in the sport and Club activity. It is intended that posters be created for display in prominent areas showing our activity and location.
Running of major public display events
These are the big ones. It is where the public are officially invited to attend a flying event. These events are run over two days and provide the public to sight the ‘top end’ of aero modelling. Competitor/Visitors are drawn from across the state and interstate bringing with them models that are in the upper percentile of their type.
It has been found that there is a general underlying interest in aero modelling and introduction days can often convert this interest into membership. Introduction days give the opportunity for hands on experience of flying to the uninitiated, under the tutelage of skilled modellers operating a dual controlled aircraft. Such days are provided free of charge and obligation.
Public static displays
The Club will continue to support charitable organisations by providing and manning static model displays at their fund raising events such as Church Fetes, School Fairs Etc.. These are well attended public events and our presence provides a point of interest for them, and offers the opportunity for direct access to these attendees for the club.
The States Associations employ education officers offering assistance to Clubs in the support of educational programs. These are usually in the form of provision of minor materials, tutorials on the principles of flight, and the construction and operations of models. Clubs are encouraged to work in conjunction with the schools and other groupings such as Scouts and Air Cadets to deliver these programmes.
As with all not for profit Clubs it is necessary to devise ways to generate income for maintenance and development. It is intended to hold a minimum 3 major BADMAC public display events each year.
This event is new having only been run once at the opening of the new facility. It is intended that it will be further developed to become the Club and region signature event. It comprises 3 parts, 2 competitive and the other flying for fun and display. Entrants can elect to fly in all, or pick those they are most comfortable with. It is well sponsored providing high value prizes to the winners of the specific segments.
Mid May Muster
This event has been run for the past 10 years and it well patronised. Entrants are mostly Victorian based, the greater percentage coming from Gippsland Clubs but it also has a strong following from Melbourne flyers. It is a scale model rally where entrants fly for fun. As distinct from the ACTIO(n) event, the competition side is very low key but enough to offer some reward for a few common manoeuvres.
Formula 1 racing
This event has not yet been trialled at our venue but it has a large following state and interstate wide. Entrant numbers are usually in excess of 60 with about half having dedicated helpers. Bairnsdale has been selected because of the facility, and the Club will be working hard to ensure its success. It is rather different in concept to the above events as it is purely racing over a relatively short course. It is spectacular and offers the public exciting viewing. If successful it will be run each year in November.
Other additional Events
Being a State owned field will attract special interest groups (SIG,s) to the area. These groups cover disciples such as Jet, Aerobatics, Old Timer, Gliding including aero-tow, to name a few. Each have their specific rules and regulations. Bairnsdale Club has the opportunity to cater for these events to raise funds.
Other Funding Sources
Continue Bunnings Sausage sizzle participation
The Club is fortunate to have been offered the opportunity to participate in this fund raising activity. It is our intention to maintain this as long as is possible. There are 3 agreed annual attendances.
Run Raffles at major events
It is usual run a raffle or guessing competition at each public event. Typically, prizes will have an aero modelling bent attractive to new and existing flyers.
Seek Government Grants – Local, State, Federal
The Club has not enjoyed any significant support from Local, State or Federal governments. Little reason has been given for this but it is expected that now the activity has been designated and approved as a sporting pursuit this may change. We will be pursuing all avenues to enable us to fund improvements to the facility.
Seek grants support from statutory bodies
We are aware that some bodies offer financial support to improve infrastructure where this will complement their own target to improve community awareness or health. Where it is appropriate these possibilities will be pursued.
Seek Grants from association affiliate MAAA / VMAA
We have already been well supported by both bodies in the form of grants. Both offer low interest loans with nominal repayment times. Where it is deemed that a grant is appropriate then this will be pursued, as will accessing loan(s) for a specific items of development.
Subscriptions are reviewed annually and mostly move in sympathy with CPI. The exceptions being where there is a projected long term shortfall. This review process will continue.
The Club has been very fortunate to be the recipient of significant donations from commerce and members in both cash and kind. These are gifts, and future donations cannot be assured or budgeted.
Refreshment Sales to members and visitors
As alluded to above, income will be generated by catering for special events where the intent is to provide visitors with good value refreshment. Similarly, the Club provides for members a small range of snack and drink items which are sold at modest profit.
Continue the development of the facility
While the basics have been provided further development is required to make the facility a desirable place to be for both visitors and members. Improvements have been identified that will reduce maintenance costs, improve the amenity and add to the ambience of the property. It is our intention to initiate a phased program to provide;
Shade over the pits and visitor area
This will be a project for which we will be seeking support from the Cancer Council. It will be done in segments as funds allow. It is intended that the structure will provide shade for both members, competitor and public visitors.
Working in conjunction with area Land Care movement trees will be planted along the entrance roadway and boundaries.
To enhance the safety of users, the airstrip access/egress taxiways will be delineated with plantings of low shrubs to capture aircraft straying from the designated taxiways. Additionally hard standing start up areas are to be provided.
Abutting the fixed facilities
Low maintenance plantings will be established where appropriate to delineate access ways and to provide visual enhancement of buildings.
Ensuring the facility is suitable for all model types
Modify fencing to improve approach path.
Make the sections of the perimeter at the end of the strip removable to extend approach path for high performance aircraft. Including the temporary extension of electric fencing to prevent cattle access.
Provide control line circuit as need requires
The location of a potential control line circuit has been identified. Actual construction has not begun as the need has yet to be determined
Provide off strip helicopter hovering area
The location of a potential hovering area has been identified. Little in the way of construction is required other than mowing and signage.
Concrete spoon drain delineating the roadway and the pits parking area
This is a phased project – initially to enhance the drainage into the already installed storm water drainage system. It will provide a distinct delineation between the roadway and every day parking. Ultimately it will form an integral part of a paved roadway.
Provide Bitumen/concrete walkways between facility buildings – toilets etc.
To define traffic areas and minimise dirt into buildings
Increase irrigation capacity and cover
The initial system provides the minimum cover. The system requires expansion to service the remaining strip areas as well as pedestrian areas in and around the flying preparation area
Will budget and fund replacement of mowing equipment
The maintenance of the strip is essential to our operation. While it would be possible to contract this activity to a third party our analysis is that the provision of own labour and equipment is the least cost and reliable option. An amount is to be set aside each year to allow for the replacement, and if necessary upgrading of mowing equipment for the airstrip and pedestrian traffic areas.
Will budget and fund replacement of tractor
As the facility is still in its formative years there are many tasks that require a ‘heavy’ machine. The existing machine is over 50 years old and parts are difficult to find. A younger and more reliable machine is required for both construction work and slashing grass on the outfield. As proposed for the strip mower, a notional sum will be set aside to fund a replacement when located.
The Years beyond
Bitumen the roadway adjacent to fixed facilities
The current roadway is gravel and gets cut up by vehicular traffic. It is also the pedestrian access from the flying ‘working’ area to the fixed facilities. This foot traffic brings mud and dirt into the buildings.
Change surrounds usage
The property is set up for 2 activities. The flying activity in about 20 acres with the balance 90 acres being leased by the owner (VMAA) for grazing. At the expiration of the grazing lease BADMAC will propose to convert the property to cropping. This change will allow the removal of internal fencing improving approach lines for high performance aircraft. This will require the concurrence of the site owner (VAAA). It would be expected that the lease income would be at least equal to that realised from grazing.
Re-establish indoor leisure area
The building now used for catering was originally constructed to be multi-purpose leisure and catering, the emphasis on leisure. Over the past few years the usage has moved to predominately catering. In time it is intended to develop another structure to cater for leisure, either as a standalone structure or in conjunction with another which may also include the secretary/competition office.