Electric Flight in Australia

 

Peter Blomaart - great promoter

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I first met Peter Blomaart at the 1985 F3B World Champs at Waikerie, South Australia. I was there as an official. Peter arrived from Belgium (to act as an International judge) with a brief case full of second hand cobalt motors - they were a rarety in Australia at that time! Peter had collected these motors from fliers in Europe and brought them over to help the electric flight "brothers" in Australia. He also dragged along Jan David from Germany to demonstrate electric flying at the F3B World Champs - the first time many of us had seen a high performance electric aircraft. This visit was the single most significant event responsible for Australia catching the bug and sending a team to the first Electric Flight World Champs! The photo right shows Peter hamming it up in Waikerie with Judy Garner, wife of well-known glider flier, Graham Garner. You can see what a character he was. The photo was supplied by Richard Tapp.
 
After the F3B World Champs I ferried Peter around for part of his Australian visit and got to know him as a dynamic, energetic, visionary character. I found out that he was the chairman of the Electric Flight Sub-committee of the FAI (Federation Aeronautique Internationale), our international governing body. He also published an international electric flight newsletter called the Ampere Flyer. I subscribed to his newsletter, and bought a Keller 50 from him which I ran on 30 cells in a 3 metre model to gain a place on the first World Champs team.
 
The logo for this web site comes from Peter's Ampere Flyer newsletter - I use it in memory of the great impact Peter's work had on electric flying all over the world.
 
Leafing through my old copies of the Ampere Flyer, I found a pie graph in the January 1987 edition showing the spread of the newsletter. There were 1,500 subscribers from 26 countries! 20% went to the US, 20% to Germany and 11% to the UK. This was edition No.68 - all those issues and the spread of this newsletter had a great impact on electric flying.
 
Peter was also the guiding force behind staging the first ever Electric Flight World Championships in 1986. These were held in Lommel, in Peter's home country of Belgium. John Adams, Wayne Hadkins and myself represented Australia with Peter Cranfield as team manager. We witnessed Peter's entrepreneurial skills at first hand - it was a great event, including the first Electric Flight World Games. This is where we witnessed a 7-cell glider event, and brought the idea back to Australia. The development of this event lead to the 7-cell glider event we have now in Australia.
 
The second photo was taken at the second Electric Flight World Championships held in St Louis, Missouri. The World Championships have continued every two years since.
 
Peter has since passed away, but it is without doubt that he had a great impact on the development of electric flight all around the world, and particularly in Australia.
 
Peter Pine, PO Box 324, Pottsville NSW 2489
Phone (02) 6676 1437 • Fax (02) 6676 2831
E-mail: ppine@northnet.com.au
Peter Blomaart