Port Stephens Model Aircraft Club eyes new air field in Anna Bay, Bobs Farm areas

For 25 years a paddock in Bobs Farm has served as an airfield for a group of aviation enthusiasts.

Members of the Port Stephens Model Aircraft Club have quietly pursued their passion for the sport of building and flying model planes on the privately-owned property but now they are in need of a new home.

“The property has been sold and, at the end of June, the club has to vacate as the land will be cultivated,” club member Bruce Doughton said.

“The club is hoping that a land owner with a generous heart would be willing to allow the club to use their property. The council is maybe the other option, if a public reserve of adequate size can be found and is available for use.”

The club, which was established in 1972, comprises of 25 members, mainly of an older age, who build and fly model planes including scale versions of WWII fighters and bombers.

In the past, former WWII veterans have been members of the club. Current members include former pilots and those who have been fascinated with planes and building models since a young age.

The closest model aircraft fields to Bobs Farm are in Maitland and Metford, which members said on a good traffic day would take an hour to get to.

Peter Sharp with one of his model planes at the Bobs Farm air field. Mr Sharp is a founding member of the Port Stephens Model Aircraft Club. Picture: Ellie-Marie Watts

Peter Sharp with one of his model planes at the Bobs Farm air field. Mr Sharp is a founding member of the Port Stephens Model Aircraft Club. Picture: Ellie-Marie Watts

The club is seeking a new site that is suitable to model plane flying. The site is required to be away from built-up or urban areas and largely free of trees and power lines.

Small model planes require a flat grassed take-off and landing area of about 600 metres long and 250m deep.

Because of the RAAF base at Williamtown and flying restrictions in Port Stephens, the club is limited to Bobs Farm and Anna Bay.

Mr Doughton said, due to the flying restrictions, a new field cannot be past the Pit Stop service station at Salt Ash or the roundabout past the 90km/h zone leading into Nelson Bay.

Patrick Mathon, owner of the Bobs Farm property the club has been flying at for the past 25 years, said he enjoyed the friendships he created with members.

“It was enjoyable having them here, especially socially,” he said. “It was great to see them enjoy the property. They’ve always maintained their air field.”

Bruce Doughton with one of his model planes. Mr Doughton said he has about 80 models. Picture: Ellie-Marie Watts

Bruce Doughton with one of his model planes. Mr Doughton said he has about 80 models. Picture: Ellie-Marie Watts

While the primary function of the club is to fly model planes, the secondary objective is to provide a social outlet for members.

“I’ve made great friendships within the club,” Neil Cameron, secretary of the club, said. “The challenge of building a model plane and seeing it fly is very pleasing. But for me, the club is about socialising and the camaraderie.

“If your model crashes, there’s always two or three guys who will go out and help you retrieve it.”

The club is open to men, women and children of all ages who have a passion for aviation and model planes.

Land owners or members of the community interested in helping the club find a new home are asked to phone Mr Doughton on (02) 4984 4949.

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