Variety still the key at Lake Forsyth
“You will probably not see such a variety of model aircraft types in one space,” said one of the pilots attending the Lake Forsyth fly-in for the first time. The annual event held by the Christchurch Radio Fliers Club near Birdlings Flat outside Christchurch continues to draw large crowds. There is lots to see and to do as a pilot or a member of the public.
Four flight lines operate over the weekend and include lake, helicopter, and 3-D strips as well as the main flight line. PlayConcepts, as the major sponsor, bring out their shop and a food stall does great business, especially if it gets a little chilly as it did this year.
A number of pilots camp out alongside the lake over Friday and Saturday nights and a large marquee provides shelter for numerous models as well as providing a handy workshop for the inevitable repairs. The Little River pub also makes a great venue for a few repairs of another kind on the Saturday night.
Among the highlights this year was a warbird display featuring a large 134” (3.4m) Lancaster, a Zero, a Hawker Typhoon, and a Curtis Kittyhawk. The strafing and bombings runs were accompanied by coordinated pyrotechnics organised by Jeremy McLean and remotely controlled by Paul Hartley. Pilots were Jonathan Gardner, Jeremy McLean, Alex Hewson and Richard Race. Andrew Palmer and Alex Hewson later flew a coordinated display of aerobatics and formation flying with two 33% Piper Pawnees, much to the crowds enjoyment. Richard Race brought out his large 170cc powered Raven to delight the crowd with an impressive aerobatic routine.
Roger Atkinson’s large electric powered Canadair put on a convincing display on the lake, several gliders were aero-towed for long flights on neighbouring ridges, countless foamies and park-fliers dominated the 3-D strip, and numerous jets, including Jared Mulholland’s popular A-10 Warthog commanded the attention of the large crowd. Alex Hewson’s carbon-fibre pylon racer clocked up over 300km as it screamed past at low level almost faster than people’s eyes could see.
There was something for everyone and hundreds turned up to brave a cool wind to enjoy the spectacle. It was also great to see a number of younger fliers present during the weekend. The only down side was the damage to a large Typhoon due to the failure of a 3-blade prop (XOAR, if you are interested in avoiding these) and the loss of a beautiful Zero because of radio failure.