Royal Newcastle Aero Club

The 70s

Royal Newcastle Aero Club Flight Training Tiger Moth Joy FlightsIn 1971 a big air show was staged to celebrate the 40th birthday of the Tiger Moth. The Tiger Moth had become a much sought after vintage aircraft in the seventies and the aero Club still operated one Tiger Moth, VH-ALH (later changed to RNI), in the fleet and had the facilities, spares, and engineers with the expertise to restore and maintain this early machine.

During this year Club Vice President, Ivan Blair, was awarded the Royal Federation of Aero Club’s medal for services to the Aero Club. Later in the year he was appointed as Manager of the Aero Club.

1970 – 1980
In 1972 the decision was made to tar seal the 08-26 air strip and former CFI Russ Evans, was recalled to the Club for a Presentation Evening to receive the Royal Federation of Aero club’s medal for his services to the Club movement.

As 5 years had passed since the first Aviation Expo the decision was made to hold another of these huge air shows in 1973. The Club experienced another great success with all the major aircraft distributors attending the event. The club’s Tiger Moth was given a complete overhaul and new paint scheme, plus a change of registration to RNI.

In 1974 the Club was honored when the President, J Fahey, was awarded the Paul Tissandier Diploma for his outstanding contribution to aviation. The diploma was presented to him at the annual Federation Aeronautique Internationale Conference held in the Sydney Opera House. This was the first time this important conference had been held in Australia.

In 1975 the decision was made to organise an Australian Tiger Club under the auspices of RNAC. The Tiger Moth had become very popular in recent years. The Club’s able engineers, led by Lance Fletcher, were turning out quite a number of restored Tiger Moths and it was felt that as the Club had first introduced this famous training machine to Australia during the thirties it was fitting that the Headquarters of the newly formed Tiger Club should be at Maitland.

Also in 1976 Royal Newcastle Aero Club hosted the Royal Federation of Aero Club’s annual championships. 40 light aircraft from aero clubs through out Australia competed. The overall point’s score, together with the Federation trophy, was won by RNAC.

Bernie Sarroff became temporary CFI when Stan Hone resigned from the club to take up another position, and Bernie later accepted the permanent position in 1977.

During the same year another successful Tiger Club air show was staged. Nineteen Tiger Moths attended and flew in a mass formation over Maitland and Newcastle before the air display commenced. The main airstrip, 05-23, was tar sealed during this year.

The Club celebrated its half-century of operation in 1978. To celebrate is 50 years of activity with a Tiger club Air Show for a big celebration. Unhappily, bad weather disrupted the first day of the air show but a great flying programme took place on the second day in which the RAAF Roulette Aerobatic Team, a P51 Mustang fighter distributors; aircraft, all participated. A special cloth patch was struck to commemorate the Club’s Golden Jubilee celebrations. Also the purchase of 45 acres of land adjacent to the Club’s field was finalized to consolidate a future buffer on the eastern boundary of its property.

On October 11th 1978, a nostalgic gathering of members met at the International Sports Centre Club, which is sited on the Old Broadmeadow aerodrome, to celebrate the 50 years of club activity, which has passed since the inaugural meeting on October 11th 1928.

During 1979 the Club on the western perimeter of the airfield purchased a further parcel of land. Two new Cessna 152 (RNO & RNQ) training aircraft were taken on charge through the year.