History of Hastings District Flying Club (HDFC)
Joy flights and TIFs on Australia Day weekend of January 1960. Barrie Abbott and the club were encouraging older people to learn to fly.
Barry Cunning, a farmer who loves flying, and a HDFC Secretary was acclaimed "Sportsman of the Week" - a H.J. Heinz Co & Port Macquarie News award.
The first flying scholarship was advertised in the Port Macquarie News on 27 July 1961. The first flying scholarship was awarded to 17 year old Jimmie Higgins on Monday, 14 October 1961, as he had "outstanding promise and an above average approach to flying know-how". Jim later became a pilot with Bush Pilots Ltd.
The Cherokee VH-PMB arrived in April 1963.
Mother of six children, Kaye Hutchinson from Wauchope learnt to fly and went solo in February 1963!
The VH-PMA (1) Victa Airtourer 100, operated by HDFC, entered in the 1964 R.M.Ansett Air Race. It was flown by C.R. McGregor.
January 1964, night flying resumed after complaints were sorted out. It was so popular that advance bookings were necessary.
The first young girl, Sue Dent enrolled for flying training.
The Victa VH-PMC arrived in June 1965, brought home from Sydney by Jack Buchanan, HDFC Treasurer.
HDFC bought a new Cessna 172, VH-PMD for $15,760 and within a month, there were 30 students enrolled to fly in this Cessna. It clocked an average of 130 flying hours a month.
In 1968 the Club sponsored a pageant of national significance in conjunction with the Port Macquarie sesqui-centenary celebrations, Ray Potts being the driving force behind it.
In February 1968, "The first Big Round Australia Flight" was advertised, attempting to set new long distance flights records. October 1968, the club had a "Monster Air Show" that attracted 6000 visitors.
August 1969 Fly away - 22 members travelled in 5 aircrafts to Lightning Ridge for a weekend of Opal prospecting.
Port Macquarie News featured an article "Why the birds don't fly?", referring to the large number of women in the club. A survey concluded that they would rather spend their money on "stable" items e.g. a fashionable car!?
Santa Claus arrived on Sunday, 14 December 1969 on a special Cessna flight direct from the North Pole.
Don Pitkin was named Pilot of the Year.
This HDFC clubhouse was opened on 21 November 1964. It is still part of the present clubhouse we have today - minus that little control tower!
Photo courtesy of Ian Moss