In an e-mail message dated 28 December 2009, the following information was received
from Bob Skinner, General Manager, South African Model Aircraft Association (SAMAA):
The Natal Model Aeroplane Society was founded mid-year 1936.
• On 9 March 1937, Phil Dalgety achieved a national record flight of 24 minutes
with his "Wakefield" rubber-powered aircraft.
• The Durban Model Airplane Club was founded (exact date unknown, but very likely
in the month of April) in 1937.
• In the same month - and one has to assume that the SA Nationals' always took place
over the Easter Weekend - Phil Dalgety of Durban won the Wakefield Cup (Rubber-powered
• On 1 August 1937, Phil Dalgety's Wakefield model was proxy-flown in the Wakefield
Cup in England (Fairey's Aerodrome at Hayes, in Middlesex), achieving a 31st place.
• Later in August 1937, the South African Model Aeronautic Association was formed
on initiation of Viv Gracie of Cape Town, Phil Dalgety of Durban , and Alf Yardley
• On 27th March 1938, the Natal Wakefield Eliminations took place at Merebank.
• On 17th April 1938, the National Wakefield (rubber-powered) contest eliminations
took place at Rand Airport. The winner was Phil Dalgety. Six models were selected
and sent to France to compete in 1938 Wakefield Cup, at the Caudron Aerodrome, Guyancourt
in France. 14 Nations competed for Cup. There is no record of Phil Dalgety's placing,
but another Natal flier, GE Marriot, achieved 37th place.
• Late in 1938, the Point Model Aeroplane Club was founded in Durban. Currently,
I have no records of which clubs Phil Dalgety and GE Marriot belonged to. One must
assume that Dalgety, being a most prominent aeromodeller in Natal at the time, must
have also been a founder member of DMAC, and that perhaps Marriot was instrumental
in forming the Point-club, later.
• In mid-1939, Phil Dalgety won the Wakefield Trophy for the third year in succession.
The event was held in Durban. Six model aircraft were selected to compete in the
Wakefield Cup in U.S.A., at the Aviation Golf Course, Bendix, New Jersey, U.S.A.
Phil Dalgety's model achieved a very creditable 15th place.
• I have an entry for early 1955 that reads "Skyraiders Club active in Durban area."
No idea who was involved, or where the club was located.
• From 20 to 23 April 1962, the South African Nationals for Free Flight, and Radio
Control was held at Roll's Farm, Hillcrest, and the Control Line classes at Isipingo.
• In April (Easter) 1973, the South African R/C Aerobatic and Scale Nationals were
held at Durban Model Aircraft Club, Cato Ridge.
This information is of extreme interest and indicates that DMAC was founded in 1937
which is likely to make it the oldest club in Kwa-Zulu Natal as well as one of the
oldest in South Africa...if not the oldest!
The club is even older than SAMAA.
Apart from what is on record at SAMAA, there is no formal local documented history
of the club.
What is well known is that at, least from the mid 70’s, the club was based at the
Ferralloys (now Assmang) factory airfield near Cato Ridge.
Unfortunately a move from there was necessitated due to several attacks on members
and the club then operated at several temporary sites until the Gromor site (power
flying) was secured. After several years at Gromor, due to a nearby commercial development,
the club had to move again.
From April 2015 power flying is being done at a new site near Cato Ridge Country
As mentioned in other sections of the website, gliding activities take place mainly
at the SA Jockey Academy at Summerveld near Shongweni.
A few photos from what we have at present are shown below.
Preparing Gromor site and hoisting the airsock
Ferralloys field in the 70’s -
Is that Don Stewart in those cool beige bellbottom pants ?
Look, Gail, it’s still in one piece !!
John, you do know the wheels need to be below the wings for landing ?
Photo courtesy John Dorse - Anyone know the place, date and event ?