Prior to the formation of Alice Springs Aeromodellers the club was called Alice Springs Radio Controlled Modellers Inc. From as early as 1967 aeromodelling was alive in Alice Springs. Glen Saxby tells us that a group of flyers would show up at ANZAC Oval near the Alice Springs CBD to fly control-line airplanes on Sunday mornings. He said it was noisy, but no one complained. With the advent of radio control technology, Malcolm Dyer and a few others were the first to buy-in. Various venues were used by these radio control pioneers. The area in and around Blatherskite Park and the ‘clay pan’ area south of Alice Springs were among the popular spots.
On 9 February 1976, a public meeting was held at The Traeger Park Oval secretary’s office to gauge the interest in the formation of a model aero club. Thirty-six people attended and reacted favourably to the idea. A seven-person steering committee was elected to form a constitution before the next meeting which was to be held on the 1st of March.
On 1 March 1976, the first meeting came to order. Attendees approved the constitution and elected the following office bearers: President: Phil Bennett; Vice-President: Malcolm Dyer; Secretary: Glen Saxby; Treasurer: Brian McGrath; and committee members: Bill McDonald, Gary Fox, and Mark Cairns. The club chose the name “Alice Aeromodellers.” Later that month, 11 senior and 11 junior members paid their subscriptions to become the first club members.
The club stayed active from 1976-1980 and records show that the club affiliated with the MAAA during its first year. They faced challenges of finding a suitable flying location to meet concerns of safety, non-interference of neighbours, and convenience to the members. Raising funds to pay club expenses was a recurring topic at club meetings. Club activities included casual flying, landing and flying competitions, modelling and design competitions, and swap meets to market gear and raise funds. They also carried out significant public awareness efforts at school open house nights and at annual Alice Springs Shows. During this time, records indicate control-line flying, though still active, was diminishing and giving way to a more dominant following of radio control flying
Cars? Trucks? Boats? In 1980, the club made a significant change in that it expanded the scope of activities to include radio controlled cars and trucks. The name was appropriately changed to Alice Springs Radio Control Modellers Inc.
From 1980-1983, the ASRCM continued to be active with regular meetings and many of the same challenges of finding suitable venues and paying for improvements needed to accommodate club activities. The club investigated several venues, attempted cooperative agreements with other organizations, and even considered leasing space. The venue issue achieved variable results. Fund raising significantly improved circa 1981 when the club invested in a Fairy Floss machine. This provided a means of raising funds featuring low cost of materials, relatively easy set-up, and many opportunities to sell the product at the numerous, well-attended, activities in Alice Springs such as The Alice Springs Show, The Camel Cup Races, Henley-on-Todd, and The Old Timers’ Fete.
In 1988, Mal Dyer approached the Northern Territory Model Aeronautical Association (now known as Aeromodellers Northern Territory Inc. (ANT) concerning affiliation of ASRCM with ANT. In a letter dated 11 August 1988, Graham Metcalfe of ANT responded favourably outlining the benefits of the affiliation in terms of liability protection and his desire to have all NT clubs join together to enjoy strength in numbers. This affiliation was adopted a short time later.
In 1996, ASRCM found a long-term solution for locating their activities. The Hayes family (owners of Undoolya Station) offered a space only seven kilometres from Alice Springs CBD. On 17 November 1996, the field was officially opened and named ‘Pedlar Field’ — named after a nearby geographic landmark — Pedlar Hill. ASRCM was honoured by the attendance by several members of the East Point Aeromodellers Club of Darwin at our opening ceremony.
The years of fairy floss sales paid off in that the club was now able to fund the construction of a covered pit area with bitumen surfaces on the runway, taxi ways, and pit area.
Note: The photograph on the map below was taken by the then treasurer, Glynne Thomas, with a camera mounted on his model. It must have been one of his better landings as the photo survived !!!! The camera was a film camera with the shutter release operated by a servo.