Highlights in our history

Ken McKee recalls some of the milestones since the club was established back in 1985:

John Clark's Mirage

1988: The late John Clark, owner and pilot of this Mirage, was one of the club’s foundation members. Above: A club outing to Matapiro Station in 1992

The inaugural meeting was held on May 19 1985 in Napier with 11 people attending; there were six apologies. The President of MAANZ attended, to help get the club formed. A committee of nine was elected and it was agreed to name the organisation the Hawke’s Bay Microlight Club, to become Incorporated later.

First Constitution was written in 1985.

One member was operating a Thruster Gemini based at Napier airport in 1985.

By 1986, members owned eight microlights, six single-seat and one two-seat.

Flying was being carried out in 1987 from a paddock on the Dailey farm in the Raukawa Valley, where two members had their aircraft based.

Another member began operating a Maxair Drifter from Napier airport in 1988.

Two members went to the first MAANZ Instructor Course (three days), in Hamilton in May 1989 and became instructors.

A club hangar was proposed in 1989.

Open Day held at Hawke’s Bay (Napier) airport in October 1989.

MAANZ badges were issued to club pilots in 1989.

One member became an Inspection Authority in 1990.

Four members constructed a four-bay hangar for themselves at Napier airport in 1990.

The club had a stand at the ‘Lifestyle Exhibition’ in Napier in 1990.

The club took part in a public ‘open day’ at Napier airport in conjunction with Napier Aero Club’s 60th anniversary celebrations in 1991.

It became an Incorporated Society in January 1991.

In May 1991, the club purchased Bantam B22 TKF, using $14,000 loaned by a member.

The club had its FRTO booklet accepted by Airways Corp in 1991.

1992: Pictured just after take-off from Napier, Peter Breen does his BFR in the Drifter

Club member appointed as MAANZ ATO in 1992.

The first club student went solo in 1993.

In July 1993, the club flew an aircraft into Tamatea Intermediate school and addressed 320 pupils on the joys of flying.

The club became the first Southern Hemisphere member of the EAA ‘Young Eagles’ programme in 1993.

Rules and By Laws were introduced in 1994. In the same year, the first club trophies were awarded. They were The Clenched Stick Trophy and the Wooffindin Trophy.

Plans were approved for club hangar/s at Napier Airport in 1995 and the floor was poured in March 1996.

In 1996, the CAA approved a second Part 149 microlight organisation (Sport Aviation Corporation). A group of disgruntled club members then joined SAC, formed a new club (HB Fun Flyers) and took with them half of the club’s assets including the club aircraft, which they removed in the night. That organisation is now defunct.

New club rules were written and lodged with the Incorporated Society in 1998, to prevent a repeat of the splitting-up of club assets.

A club member built a new hangar at Napier in 1998 and purchased a first-of-type, all-metal advanced microlight to put in it.

A second club member was appointed as a RAANZ ATO, and the club gained its second Inspection Authority, in 1998.

The club purchased a hangar at Napier in 1999, with the help of grants from the Lotteries Board and the Hillary Commission, and a vigorous fund-raising drive by members. It was one of the four originally built in 1990 by members for their private use.

Quicksilver, with Ken and Cliff

2001: Nice fright – Ken McKee (left) in a Quicksilver with Cliff Johnston (it was Cliff’s first flight in an open microlight) at Wairoa

In 1999, the club commenced using the HB & EC Aero Club’s facilities at Bridge Pa for meetings. This resulted from the development of closer relationships between the clubs.

And so the club entered the new millennium with much enthusiasm and forward thinking.

The club organised and hosted one of the most successful RAANZ National rallies, in 2008.

We can look back with pride on those few members who were left reeling at the turn of events in 1996 and admire how they managed to get the club not only back on its feet but to see it grow to what it is today.

During this period, we have seen local aero clubs become affiliated to RAANZ and put state-of-the-art microlights on line. And our membership has grown to 33, some of whom are members of SAC. The club has friendly, sometimes impromptu fly-aways, competitions, social get-togethers (dinners, BBQs etc) and we all get along as one happy family.

We operate in the same territory as other local flying clubs, who all make us very welcome. As a result, we are able to share our pleasures with like-minded folk and – thanks to our website – with enthusiasts everywhere.

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