DAVID HOPE-CROSS  

David Hope-Cross (-2006 )

David was raised in the Wairarapa and commenced his model building career as an eight year old with a TEAL Flying Boat, one of Airsail's earliest models, made from the then new material, balsa wood and printed on one single sheet. An early experiment with a skyrocket powered model met with a small disaster and a birthday visit to Auckland produced an E.D. .46 "Baby" and a bottle of diesel fuel that lead to "home brew" fuel mixing and a sleep in the sun after too many ether fumes in the back shed.

The family moved to Auckland and high school years were spent at Mt Albert Grammar where there was a strong Aeromodelling influence. Visits to Modelair lead to "Pecks Paddock" (now Keith Hay Park) and a connection with the Roskill Club. He helped build the present clubhouse in the late 1950's and early 1960's. David was also Secretary of the Building Committee, later the Club's Secretary/Treasurer for seven years. He was made a Life member of the club in 1964.

A career move took David overseas for a number of years. Upon return, Wellington was home for several years and frequent trips back to Auckland revealed that the Roskill Club was in serious trouble. Membership was down to four only and on one night when David turned up, the decision was being made to donate the clubrooms to another club. David, mindful of all the work that he and many others had put into the club, took over as President that night and proceeded to lead from afar. With the help of other past members, the club found a new footing and went on to become New Zealand's Champion Club year after year.

David attended many National Championships (with family) and it was at one of these events that a decision was made to form the Scale Association. This became the forerunner of the Scale Tech Committee. His over-riding passion has been for Free Flight Scale and his name adorns many trophies around the country. His particular interest focuses on De Havilland aircraft, but he is equally at home with Avro or Miles and many of the World War One types also. He is in fact a great enthusiast of aviation in the golden era and has collected documentation on a wide variety of aircraft. He favours New Zealand historical aviation and has been a member of the Aviation Historical Society of New Zealand for many years and recently helped to revive the society when it was fading away.

When the Auckland area took over NZMAA Council in 1982, David was Treasurer for four years. He retained his interest in club activities at the same time and as if that was not enough, with two others took over Airsail International, which was in danger of closing. That little event took place 21 years ago in November this year. Both Airsail and the NZMAA have had their ups and downs but both are still around and David's input to these organisations has been invaluable.

Many of Davids aeromodelling goals have been curbed in recent years by the increasing load he carried in the commercial world as MD of AGFA, then to the same position in Bayer New Zealand. David is almost certainly the most fluent German speaking New Zealander in the country and was the only non-German to be appointed to the top job in an AGFA establishment in the world. The NZ Model Flier's World has a great deal of assistance, organised by David, with the inclusion of colour pages in the magazine and he was able to arrange for all the original NZMAA Newletters (from 1947 to 1982) to be copied onto microfilm as a permanent record.

There's a touch of the kindly prankster within this (sometimes) serious individual also. There was a rumour put about by the man himself (and one of his henchmen who shall remain nameless) that as members of the Roskill Club they were going to build a quarter scale Zeppelin. There was much consternation and head scratching, particularly from the deep south after someone had done the calculations and realised that the model would be almost as long as a Boeing 747, maybe even longer!

David's love of Free Flight Scale and De Havilland aircraft lead to him designing a 1/8th Scale Fox Moth. The plan for the design was published in the "Aeromodeller" and has remained a good seller for them. It is a particularly fine flyer and very accurate as you would expect. David has recently built another Fox and with it won the F/F Scale event at this year's Australian Nationals at the same time heading the winning New Zealand Team for the first Trans Tasman F/F Scale Challenge. He's also been at the head of the group responsible for the introduction of F4A in the FAI Rule Book, an International class for the F/F Scale event.


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