Pilots show planes, skills

16:00, Feb 01 2013

Southland skies will be filled with hundreds of model planes this weekend with some going at speeds of up to 500kmh.

Models over Mandeville is an annual model aircraft show, near Gore, involving pilots from as far away as Christchurch showing off their model planes and aerobatic skills.

This year marks the 75th anniversary of the Gore Model Aircraft Club, which runs the event, making it one of the oldest clubs in the country.

Club captain Jarrad Scott said about 60 pilots were expected to attend the event, twice as many as previous years. More had been done this year to promote the event, he said.

A range of model aircraft would be on display, including turbine jets, helicopters, aerobatics, warbirds and scale aircraft.

Usually the event drew only one turbine jet, which reached speeds of up to 500kmh, but this year there would be about eight, he said.

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Some of the turbine jets were worth about $20,000.

People were encouraged to come and watch the full aerobatic displays and catch a glimpse of the turbine jets reaching their maximum speeds, he said.

"It's an amazing event; the jets go so fast and some of the skills from the aerobatics pilots is just amazing."

No competitions were held over the weekend, it was simply to promote the hobby and "big boys' toys", he said.

Landing the aircraft was the most difficult and there were usually a few that got damaged at the event, Mr Scott said.

Flying would be from 10am to 5pm today and tomorrow at the Croydon Aircraft Company in Mandeville, near Gore. The turbine jets would be in the air between noon and 1pm both days. Entry is free.

"We're just grateful to the Croydon Aircraft Company for the use of their airstrip."

The Southland Times