Club flying high into its golden year

02:13, Nov 15 2013
digby haywood
LEARNING TO FLY: Digby Haywood is one of the Waimate Aero Club's latest students.

The north banks of the Waihao River and adjacent paddocks may take on a gilt-edge later this month, as the Waimate Aero Club celebrates its golden jubilee on November 30.

The club would like to hear from members past, present and future, who would like to join them to celebrate.

"It would be great to hear from past members to share their stories and photos," club secretary Steve Fish said.

The club will also be hosting lunch for the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA) Christmas fly-in on the day and expect about 30 aircraft to land at Waimate.

The Waimate Aero Club was formed after a separation from the Waimate branch of the South Canterbury Aero Club, back in late 1963. The club members in those days flew a tiger moth and amongst the prominent members were Ron Hutt and club president Howard Rollinson. Fifty years on, his son, Mark is the current club president.

The clubhouse was built by its members in 1961 and was well used for evening cabarets and wedding receptions back in those days and an annual pageant for steam engines was run on the paddocks at Easter time.


Waimate Aero Club is currently thriving, with an active chief flying instructor, Norm Davis, and engineer Mark Rollinson.

Mr Davis is a retired US Navy Commander.

"During his 20 years in the service he flew Sky Raiders and Sky Hawks from carriers both in combat during the conflict over Vietnam and during the cold war in the Mediterranean," Dr Fish said.

The hangar at the airfield houses the club's RANS S6 two-seat light aircraft, which is a capable training platform and good for both local recreational, as well as cross-country flights.

The latest students are Russell Wallace and Digby Harwood.

Annual membership is $69 while a one-month introductory membership is $40 and includes a voucher for a 20-minute complimentary flight.

Please contact Dr Fish on 03 689 1202 or txt 027 689 333 for more information.