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History of Hastings District Flying Club (HDFC)



Club Captain – Barry Cunning, Pilot of the Year – Col Harvey

The club was slipping into the dark age, due to incidents mentioned in 1978 and 1979.

Vince Williams introduced the newsletter PROPWASH.


Navigation Trials  flown with the support of the "Air Force Association"


April 1981, Jim Munday who was flying the Piper Commanche had to do a forced landing crashing on the plane's belly. Luckily, no one was injured.


The club was making a small loss of $1,517 and retiring Vince Williams said that they need another 50 hours of flying per year to break even. That was ONLY one extra hour per week, Vince pointed out.


Club Captain – Graeme Light

Col Harvey, Treasurer stressed the importance of the club being run along businesslike lines.


Vince Williams was bestowed with Life Membership recognising that during his term, he had to tackle difficult periods of re-organisation. 


Club Captain – Peter Kerville

Pilot of the Year - Harry Bellott


Barrie Abbott received a rare accolade: Master Air Pilot of the Guild of Air Pilots and Air Navigators, Certificate No. 642. He spent his remaining flying career as a company pilot for Fenning Timbers at Walcha.


The club starts to come to light after Phoebe-Ann and Bob Needham moved to Port Macquarie and joined HDFC in 1983. They bought Port Macquarie Flying School and established Needham Aviation. Bob who was obssessed with flying, instituted a monthly Mug Flying Competition. This monthly activity is now referred to as Pilot Proficiency Day.


Acquisition of Jodel D11.


Club Captain – Harry Bellott


April 1984 - extensions of the clubhouse started


Fly away 4500 mile safari to the Gulf of Carpentaria embarked upon by Col Harvey, Arthur Jackson and Vern Polley.


The Ultra Light Flying Club was formed and affiliated with the HDFC


Club Captain – Harry Bellott

Treasurer, Cedric Stephens announced a trading profit of over $3000!

August 1985 - club extensions completed


5 January 1986 - First Port Macquarie Airshow. This event of the year in Port Macquarie warranted an 8-page lift out newspaper supplement on 4 January 1986, featuring photos of participating aircraft and advertising support from businesses all over the region.


Friday night social drinks  started and continues till this day. Members were enjoying bingo, scrabble, mahjong, quizzes. We still play scrabble every Friday evening, trying to beat Phoebe-Ann's scores!


Navigation Trials and Tri-Club competitions continued.


Col Harvey announced that the Jodel is draining away profits and was later offered for sale at $11,950. What is a flying club without a plane? After that, the club did not own a plane for nine years! Fortunately, Needham Aviation had offered their planes for use by the club.


Fly away to Warialda Aeroclub

Pilot of the Year – Peter Anderson


Club Captain – Neil Files, Club Instructor – Bob Needham

Pilot of the Year – Rod Davison


Interclub competitions -

  • March at Parkes and Condobolin (Vern Polley attained 100% score in Blind Circuit while Rod Davision achieved top score overall)

  • July at Moree (Rod Davison won first prize in the Blind Circuit section)

  • June - Tri Club Competition between HDFC, Manning River Aeroclub and Royal Newcastle (Anson Needham came in First, Ray Lind - Second and Vern Polley - Third).


June 1988, Tiger Moth Race (postponed from April due to bad weather) as part of Bi-centenary Historic Air Display, celebrating 200 years of British settlement in Australia.


March 1988, Anson Needham made his first solo flight. His parents, Bob and Phoebe-Ann were elated, also because he was voted Youth of the Year at both local and regional levels. They still are so proud of Anson who is now an accomplished pilot with QANTAS.


HDFC 30th anniversary dinner on 10 December 1988 at the Port Macquarie Bowling Club attended by 130 people.


September 1989 - Harry Bellott and Ray Lind attended a homebuilt plane demonstration in Brisbane flying the syndicate-owned Jodel SIJ.


Bob Needham takes Neil Files for a check flight and lands with no rear wheels


27 Dec 1989, 4 men walked away from a plane crash at Port Macquarie Airport, witnessed by Club Captain Ray Lind. Refer to Aviation Safety Investigation Report 198902592.

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