How the Association Came About
The Airtourer Association was formed in August 1977 as the result of a letter written in the AOPA magazine in May 1977 by then Airtourer owner Bob Page, suggesting the formation of a club or association of Airtourer owners with the motive of obtaining spare parts and technical information at a reasonable cost. This resulted in Airtourer owners (Bob Page, Harry Couzin and Doug Stott) conducting the ground work towards the formation of the Association.
The first meeting was held at the Royal Aero Club of NSW (RACNSW) at Bankstown Airport in August 1977 where an interim committee was elected (President Harry Couzin) pending the formal formation of the Association and the first General Meeting. The first (unofficial) Fly-In of the Association occurred at Schofields in November 1977. The first official Fly-In and General Meeting was held at Griffith (NSW) on the Australia Day long weekend in January 1978. A formal committee (President Mr 'Sonny' Rankin, Secretary Mr Doug Stott) was put in place together with a draft constitution which was later formally adopted. The aim of the Association was formally adopted shortly thereafter:
Dedicated to the preservation and continued airworthiness of VICTA and AESL Airtourer Series aircraft.
The requests for the design of a logo resulted in the adoption of a design by Mr Alex Hood, then from the LVAC.
The Annual Convention (AGM) and Fly-In has been held on an annual basis ever since usually during late summer or early autumn.
From an early time, the President of the Association, the late Mr D. O. (Sonny) Rankin held an informal Association fly-in at his property 'Yarrandale' near West Wyalong NSW. This fly-in later became known as the President's Fly-In and is usually held in September each year. The late Mr Tony Matthews became the President after Sonny in 1988 and the fly-in was then held at his local airfield in Parkes NSW. Following the tradition, the third President (Mr Hugh Knox a resident of Sydney - not really a good fly-in location!) continued to hold the annual fly-in, but at a location of his choice. This tradition continues.
These two regular events held each year, bring together members and others interested in our little aeroplane to exchange ideas, show off our aeroplanes and to socialise with good friends with a common interest. The location of the Convention varies each year and has been held in many locations, mainly in southeast Australia, where most of the fleet is based. The various state groups also get together from time to time in their local area for a small fly-in or evening dinner etc.
The main achievement of the Association was without doubt the establishment of the Airtourer Cooperative Ltd.. This has enabled owners world-wide to have access to spare parts and maintenance support at a reasonable cost and of course fulfil the aim of the Association.
Other achievements have been the extension of the wing spare life and an established liaison with various airworthiness authorities.
The Association is Incorporated in NSW and membership is open to anyone that owns, operates or has an interest in the Victa or AESL Airtourer. This has since extended to the CT4 series. Information on how to join can be found here.