Laurie Ackroyd (1923-2007)

Laurie 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.
Model building 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.
Editing 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.

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 1982.

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.

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