More than 120 model aircraft enthusiasts from around the North Island gathered at Classic Flyers in Mount Maunganui on Sunday.

They were there to buy and sell anything to do with model aircraft - from completed planes to motors and parts.

They were also there to talk shop - the video of the glider going 500km/h or the scale model with the cockpit so detailed it must have taken 1000-plus hours of work.

The auction has been an annual fundraiser for the Tauranga Model Aircraft Club since the early 80s, club president Bill DeRenzy said.


Secretary Dave Marriott said early numbers suggested the club exceeded expectations to raise more than $2000 from commissions and donations this year.

People picked up some real bargains, he said. It had been a good opportunity for people new to the sport to pick up training aircraft for less than buying new.

On display were everything from scale models of World War I Fokker fighter planes to modern multirotors - also known as drones.

"Great flyer - never crashed [I did try hard]," read the information sheet on one craft up for auction.

Father-son duo Mike and Frazer Briggs, who have competed internationally in radio-controlled aerobatics, were the day's auctioneers.

The crowd were mostly men around retirement age, which was a bit of a worry for the sport, Mike Briggs said.

He would like to see more young people getting off their electronic devices and trying out model aircraft building.

They might find their gaming skills - dexterity and hand-eye co-ordination - useful in the sport, he said.

"It's taken me all over the world. I love building and flying my own planes," Mr Briggs said.

Mr Marriott said the Tauranga club had a few juniors - mostly teenagers - and a few middle-aged people. Most members, however, were retirees, most of whom had grown up with the hobby.

Most had more than one aircraft, as "hard landings" did happen and often led to long repair periods.

On fine days they got together at TECT All Terrain Park, which has a runway and weather station, to fly.

There is a buddy system - instructor and student - to help newbies learn the ropes and earn their club wings.

Club treasurer Roger Peddle said he first became interested in model aircraft as a boy, and had picked it up again when he retired.

"It has been a great transition from finishing work to finding an activity I am passionate about. It's a great bunch of guys and I have met some really good friends."