was born in Hawera where he developed an early interest in
aircraft at a tender age, building models with plasticine, and
graduating to wood in his father's home workshop.
His first flight was as a passenger in
Charles Ulm's AVRO 10 trimotor "Faith in Australia" in January
1934. In that year he initiated a classroom project on the
"MacRoberton" air race from London to Melbourne, using researched
material from aviation magazines. This sparked an interest in
aviation history which he has retained throughout his life.
Laurie's modelling activities progressed
as new materials and equipment became available. He joined the
Hawera Model Aero Club in 1937, and retained membership until he
moved to Wanganui in 1968. During the intervening period he served
the Club as Secretary, committee member and President. He has
filled those positions in the Wanganui Aeromodellers Club, and is
now a Life Member of both clubs.
A modelling dynasty started with Laurie.
His son Murray and two grandsons all fly R/C.
Many national titles since 1951 have been held by Laurie. Those
titles include rubber, control line scale (9 titles in 20 years),
FAI power, Nordic A2, and R/C power. He has been an international
competitor, having taken part in the Wakefield and Nordic A2 world
championhips in 1955, and the R/C scale world championships in
has not been Laurie's only interest. He hosted the Hawera nats in
1952, organised hobby displays and exhibitions in Hawera and
Wanganui, instructed modelling classes in Taranaki, Wanganui and
Waikato schools in the 1980s, introduced "Buddy Box" instruction
in Wanganui, and continues to train newcomers. Acting as
commentator at rallies has provided a valuable service.
the "Egmont Emitter" was Laurie's responsibility between 1962 and
1968. He has filled the same role in Wanganui for the past 23
years. He has had historical avaition and modelling articles
published in "Fliers World", "Aeromodeller", R.C.M&E (U.K), M.A.N
and R.C. Modeller (U.S.A.) since 1956. Included in these
publications were plans for a Southern Cross control line model in
1958, (now on loan to Motat), and a Piper Comanchie, built in 1959
and still flyable.
After nearly seventy years of aeromodelling
enthusiasm, Laurie was still flying whenever the opportunity
arose, and immaculate scale models continued to appear from his
workshop until his death in July 2007.
Back to top