Model war plane took 2500 hours, but hard work pays off
A LISMORE man who spent more than 2500 hours working on an exact replica war aircraft has been rewarded for his efforts with an invitation to an exclusive model plane event in America.
Lismore Model Flying Club secretary and co-founder, Philip Crandon, 61, will soon head to Top Gun, an annual invitation-only scale model aircraft event being held in Florida from May 2 to 6.
Top Gun attracts the best model aircraft creators from around the globe and he's one of only four Australians to compete.
Mr Crandon said he had worked on the one-fifth scale model of a German Stuka Dive Bomber from scratch for more than five years.
"There's upwards of 2500 hours, so to stay motivated I played videos of the previous 20 years Top Gun events over and over," he said.
"I'm in the expert category which means you must have built and fly it yourself.
"I had to cut the timber, mostly balsa wood with spruce and plywood in the areas which require additional strength such as the wings and there's fibreglass in the engine cowling and the wheelpants and I moulded my own rubber tyres."
He said he ensured every detail was accurate, including as scuff marks where the pilot would have scrambled in and out of the cockpit.
"As reference I used photographs of an actual plane that saw service in the Middle East during World War II," Mr Crandon said.
"First up is static judging, you produce photos and planning documents to prove the aeroplane existed and its historical significance, so I've produced a seven-page booklet which documents the building process."
He said there will be 170 entries which fly over five days, with 24 in his category - that's double the 2017 numbers.
"I'll then be judged on how the aeroplane flies," he said.
"It's the part I get the biggest kick out of."
Mr Crandon said to get the model safely to Top Gun, it would have to be broken down and packed in two boxes.
"I'm really excited to be going but there's lots of really, really good people going too," he said.
"I just want to go over and do my best."
He said the event would attract up to 10,000 spectators a day.
"The 2018 Top Gun is the 30th anniversary of the event which was created by Frank Tiano," he said.
"I'm honoured when he was shown my work he invited me to attend."