In the spring of 1953, a group of modellers who had been flying free-flight and control-line models for some time (estimate: ~ 10 years!), came together to form the first model airplane club in Sudbury, calling themselves the Prop Busters Aero Club.
On August 29th, they held their first contest. The winners were – 1st in the Senior Category – Ray Rouleau; 2nd – Johnny Austin; 3rd – Bert Potvin (later to become President as well as Past-President of S.M.A.C.); and in the 16 years and under class – 1st place went to Bobby Lawrence; 2nd – to Bill Nolan, and 3rd to Frank Sievenpiper.
Later on, the exact date will perhaps be forever shrouded in mystery (!), the best guess being 1964, the Club became the Sudbury Model Aircraft Club. Why “Aircraft” rather then “Airplane”? The term Aircraft most aptly describes any vehicle capable of flight – which would include helicopters, dirigibles, hovercraft, flying witches on a broom, flying lawnmowers, Snoopy on his flying doghouse, etc. The word Airplane has a narrower connotation, which would suggest only the traditional fixed-wing airplanes.
It was then that each member coming into the club would be assigned a Club Membership number, beginning with the number 1 – which was assigned to Bert Potvin, a long-standing modeler and team member.
Around the mid-90’s, we found our next and current site on Route 90, striking another open-ended arrangement with INCO. The next several years were spent developing the flying field, and adding infrastructure for more comfortable surroundings.
An outhouse was installed, tables and benches to relax and lunch on, and a rudimentary pit area. It was during the early years of this tenure that our long-standing senior member, Bert Potvin, died in a car accident only blocks away from his home in Sudbury.
A memorial stone with a plaque commemorating his long years of service to the Club, was installed at the site, and is being cared for in perpetuity.
Under the leadership of the new President, Wayne Pugliese, the Club decided to build on the importance of involving the families of the Club Members. To this end, a play area for toddlers was added at the north end of the spectator area. Safety and litigation concerns brought on the addition of rows of safety fences to act as barriers against runaway aircraft, be they in the pit or flying field area. To guard against the elements, a sturdy roof structure was added, followed by an extension for a kitchen area for serving up members and guests delicious, hot meals during newly instituted family picnic-flys, roasted corn-flys, annual fun-flys, and other family fun events!
The present state of this new facility is excellent, easily exceeding the standards set by the Model Aeronautics Association of Canada, besides being a great place to fly or just bring a lunch, sit back, and watch others fly!
We want to thank all of the hard-working members who gave their time and labour over many years to make our Club and facilities the success it is today!!