IRA PEPPERELL  

Ira Pepperell (1921-1996)

Ira Pepperell was a foundation member of the Gore Model Aero club, which was formed in 1938 and affiliated with the NZMAA in 1939. Both were regular fliers at the Gore field at Knapdale, with Ira building and flying a wide range of models, both rubber and power While in Gore, Ira designed his Pep Zipper, based Carl Goldberg's Zipper, which was very successful, winning the South Island Championships held at Oamaru in October 1939.

Two years after coming to Auckland in 1939, Ira joined the RNZAF ground trades. In 1944, Ira joined the Auckland Model Aero Club. A year later, Ira left the air force, and joined his father in the manufacture of the Pepperell model aircraft engines. Of particular note were the radical Pepperell 7/16' and 1/2' radially ported diesels which provided New Zealand modellers with engines when there were virtually no imported engines. Their range included spark ignition, glow ignition and diesels. Perhaps the outstanding example of their engineering genius was the Team Race diesel, which beat the Eta 29 racers in the class B event at the 1953 Waikato Championships.

After coming to Auckland, Ira took up control line flying, and was successful in both Aerobatic and Speed classes. The won the Peroa Hardware Cup for Aerobatics outright after a third win in 1954. He was awarded an NZMAA silver medal in August 1948 for the first NZ flyer to exceed 100 mph in C/L speed. He set three new records in Control Line Speed: May 1949, Class III speed, 110.12 mph; February 1950, Class III speed, 126.79; March 1951, Class II Speed 115.4 mph. The first two records were set with a Pepperell 61 glow engine, the last (also an Australasian record) with a Pepperell' modified Eta 29.

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