Paul Lagan (1941-2018)

Paul Lagan has been modelling since a very young age. While best known for his FF success, he has flown in all classes of Aeromodelling. He has represented both Australia and New Zealand internationally on many occasions, and was awarded the FAI Alphonse Pernaud Diploma in 1993. Not only a dedicated modeller and competitor, he has also served in key administrative roles in the NZMAA on several occasions.

Paul Lagan was born in Christchurch in 1941 and flew models from a very early age with the Christchurch M.A.C. He chose an Airforce Avionic Engineering career and married Pamela in 1961. No matter where his job took him, Aeromodelling has formed an inseparable part of his life. Perhaps best known for his successes in Free Flight competition, Paul has flown, and continues to fly all disciplines; an inveterate and consummate aeromodeller.

A regular Nats and South Island competitor, at National level Paul has won more events and broken more records than any other. This includes winning the National Champion of Champion award an outstanding 18 times. Paul first achieved National success and recognition when he won the Radio Control event at the 1959 Blenheim Nationals. At International level he started in 1965 with proxy flown Free Flight representations. And from 1971 Paul has traveled to World Championships in Sweden, Spain, U.S.A, Australia, Switzerland and Israel. He has placed 2nd and 3rd at World Championships for F1A (A2 Glider) and 4th in F1B (Wakefield). Paul has won the individual Trans Tasman title in Wakefield, FAI Power, A2 Glider, Thermal Soaring and R/C Pattern and has represented NZ 35 times in these events.

Paul and family shifted to the RAAF in Australia from 1980 until 1986 with no letup in his model activities. Indeed, so successful was he during these years in Australian National and International competition, that in 1989 Paul was inducted into the Australian MAAA Hall of Fame.

For his contest achievements, Paul was awarded the 1993 Alphonse P'naud Diploma by the FAI. Only one such diploma is awarded each year by the FAI and is a high honour for Paul and for New Zealand.

As an administrator, it would be difficult to find a position or role that Paul has not filled. Never one to seek the limelight, he sees the real issues and just gets on with it. By his own admission he is the gnome that gets the work done, whether at club or international level. He has built up a formidable range of contacts locally and worldwide. Paul Lagan has been through the ranks at club level, and helped to establish two clubs as well as the FFONZ association of Free Flighters. He served on the South Island M.A.A twice as President, and served as NZMAA Secretary for two separate terms. He has organised several New Zealand Nationals and Trans Tasman Championships. In 1982, he also ventured into the commercial world as a NZ agent for two Radio Control systems.

Paul produced Club and SIMAA Newsletters for many years, the South Island News (SIN) becoming a widely read and respected technical journal. He developed and published many designs for Free Flight, RC Aerobatics and Soaring, many were published internationally as full-size plans and some of which were kitted. The most notable include 18 Tons, FAI Power in 1963; Papanui Tavern HLG in 1968; Inglefinger, RC Soarer in 1972; Kiwi-2 A2 in 1966.

Paul has promoted and fostered participation in many Aeromodelling codes and has twice completed extensive revisions of the NZMAA Flying Rules, the most recent in 1999. He is a Life Member of both the Christchurch M.A.C. and the NZMAA, and has been a recipient of the Macdonald Memorial Award for outstanding service to Aeromodelling.

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