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Up, up and away! - Sandy Sanderson takes to the air.

By Stan Stewart.

This is the second of three articles on Sandy and his amazing skill at model making and unique wood working. Sandy is a recent resident of Whitianga Continuing Care. Before that he was living in Coromandel town.

As a boy, Sandy loved models of all kinds. His love of flying model planes was seeded in Kampala, Uganda where he lived with his parents up until the age of ten. His friend’s father flew motorised model planes. Sandy was invited to watch but never participated in the actual flying. He carefully noted the procedures for launching, retrieval and flying. This served him well and when he obtained his first model aircraft with a motor, he knew how to fly it.

Sandy and his parents arrived back in England when Sandy was 10 years of age. Soon Sandy’s Dad had a position with the Water Board in reading the meters. Sandy went into the model shop as soon as he had money in his pocket. Sandy’s money for models did not come from his parents. He earned it by working two jobs. He had a paper round and delivered orders for the butcher shop on Saturday mornings.

The man in the model shop was most helpful and soon the smell of glue and paint wafted through the house. Now Sandy’s interest was powered flight. He purchased a Davis Charlton Diesel model engine and soon he was up in the air with powered flight. Not content with commercial kits for planes, he designed and built his own planes. As well as expensive Balsa wood, he built his models with substantial amounts of polystyrene. To work with the polystyrene, Sandy made a hot wire cutter. Because he had taught himself the principles of aerodynamics, he was able to design planes with a variety of shapes. As he moved through his teens, his designs became more daring, and his skill increased. Flying his planes by wire he was able to execute amazing aerobatics. He began entering competitions and in 1984 and 1985, he won the title, ‘All England Novice Aerobatic Champion’. He also took to Remote Controlled (R/C) powered flight, again competing in the scale model event. In the National Championships he went up against the legendary supremo of the sport, Brian Borland. In this competition he came second and considering who he was up against, Sandy was well satisfied.

Sandy migrated to New Zealand in 1986. His design, build and competition skills came with him. For five years running, he was the New Zealand champion in the Control Line Scale Event. Then he discovered the joy of radio-controlled gliders. His creations would take to the air, and he would fly them on the air currents for hours. By using their optimum design and his radio control, his gliders needed nothing more than a breeze to fly for long periods of time. For Sandy, this produced his ultimate thrill. To enable sustained flight using radio signals and nothing more than the breezes is Sandy’s greatest flying pleasure.

Caption: Sandy in his youth with powered model aircraft.


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