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In the beginning

Development of the Sanderston Model Flying Field Having moved onto the field at Sanderston, things were very, very rough. The flying strip was like corrugated iron (to be very generous). We were thinking hard about this problem, for very obvious reasons. Our roving ex-President, Roger Kentish, on his travels with the RAA (Royal Automobile Association), spotted a block of land on which was piled many rolls of super grass (the artificial grass used on tennis courts).

It was estimated that there was some 40 or 50 rolls of various lengths on the block, all, I might add, covered in sand, which is used to lay the rolls on the prepared surface.
The committee, with the support of the membership, decided to purchase this super grass for use on the field as a flying strip.

David Cann from the committee negotiated with the owner, and a deal at $50 per roll was struck. After further negotiating the cost was reduced to $25 per roll, with the club members responsible for shaking the sand from the material, rolling it and getting it onto a trailer.

The next 3 or 4 weeks were truly a test of our resolve. If you have tried lifting carpet with your finger tips, then you will know what it's like; you just can't get a really good grip on the edge of the material. In this case it was doubly difficult because it was full of sand, and guess what? The night before we started, it rained, so it was wet as well, adding to the weight.

Heavy Work

The members rallied to the cause, and this was our strength, for, as we all know, many hands make light work. Over 4 weekends, sometimes Saturday and Sunday, we worked from 9:30 am to 5:30 pm in dust masks and gloves, we shook that material, and the sand flew in all directions. But we did it TOGETHER, and that was the essential element. At the field, with a pile of rolled up super grass, we had the problem that to lay the grass properly we needed a very flat base. Someone said that we needed a grader! Some chance!

But with luck, out of the west, coming down the dirt road to our field, rumbled the local grader operator! Galvanized by its appearance, president Arthur jumped into his car and set off after this mechanical miracle. Shortly after, for the agreed slab of VB (Victoria Bitter for the uninitiated), we had our level strip.

Further working bees resulted in enough super grass for about three tennis courts in length laid in the direction of the prevailing wind and, in what is a fairly parched landscape in summer, we now have a lovely green oasis; and the pleasure of standing at the end of this strip and seeing our models taking off from, or gently landing on this grass is extremely gratifying.

This story demonstrates the true-grit of our members. We have erected sheds, put up a water tank, installed a gate, cleared grass, planted numerous trees, constructed a ride-on mower from a box of parts, and purchased the essential BBQ for those lovely lunches which also act as great fund-raisers.

On various occasions club members have donated books and modeling equipment which have been raffled and the money raised has been added to the Sanderston Fund. Since this report was last updated many things have been done to the field, these include, a veranda over the pit area, supergrass laid over the entire pit area, the E-W runway has been laid with supergrass, and the entire field flattened to get rid of many of the rocks which range in size from a few millimeters across to a hefty 200 millimeters across. The larger stones could have been disastrous if they managed to clip the underside of the models.

Further developments include the design and construction of a new restroom. A shade area and improvements to the pit section and a remote reading anemometer.