Hobbies and Pastimes – April 1996

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There are many people in the community with interesting hobbies and pastimes and may like to share them with our readers. No matter where your particular interest lies whether its collecting, the arts, hand-crafts or sports and games we would like to hear from you. You can contact our editor and we will follow it up.
Model Aircraft
In these times of competitive sports where winning is seen as everything it is nice to meet somebody with a pastime where imagination and enjoyment are to the fore. Model aircraft building and flying is such a hobby.

Posing the question as to how or why people develop an interest in a particular pastime, model aircraft hobbyist Padraig Smyth had no difficulty in remembering how he started.
Padraig got an ‘Airfix’ kit as a present at about 8 or 9 years of age and was hooked on immediately. In later years he advanced to collecting model cars and World War Two military vehicles and it was when buying a military magazine that he noticed a ‘model aircraft’ magazine with a free plan of a “glider”. He says he saw the building of the glider as a challenge after the motor models.

After building the glider he got introduced to Loughrea Model Aircraft club members Kevin Glynn and Joe Lohan through a workmate. This was about two years ago and after humble beginnings of learning to “fly” the models he has advanced steadily to building many more such as the “Slope Soarer”, “Swamp Rat” and still has “Entrich Taube” a scale model of a German WW1 plane, to finish.
Model aircraft building and its various sub divisions is a hobby pursued by adults and young people alike. It may be a minority hobby but the dedication and enthusiasm of its members makes it a most enjoyable and worthwhile pastime. Clubs have been formed around the country and a national body “The Model Aeronautical Council of Ireland”, with 800 members, is the body that governs competitions and displays.

There are five different kinds of model airplanes:
Display Models – These cannot fly. They are built for exhibition purposes only and are judged on their likeness in detail to a real plane.
Indoor Models are flown only inside a building. They are very light and are powered by rubber bands which tum a propellor as they unwind.
Free-Flight Models are powered by either rubber bands or by an engine.
Control Line Models have engines and are controlled by wires attached to the model.
Radio Control Models are engine type and are controlled by a radio transmitter that sends signals to the plane. Helicopter Models are also flown by this system.

Padraig says the hobby can be divided into two, those people who mainly “build” models and those who mainly fly them. He himself is mainly into the “building of models” which he describes as the relaxing side of the hobby as against the “flying” which he describes as the “adrenalin” side. The club have a field leased in the Kiltulla/Bullaun area where they meet regularly during the season from March to October. They also meet with other clubs such as Shannonbridge and Shannon and also do some flying over Loughrea lake. There are 23 clubs in the country at the moment and a good social side exists between them as well as meeting for competitions and displays. This year they are hoping to meet with clubs from Northern Ireland for some flying at Loughrea.

Padraig would be only too glad to hear from any potential modelers who might be interested and can be contacted at Ard Aoibhinn.

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About this record

Written by Martin O'Grady

Published here 03 Nov 2022

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