BIGGER is always better, says remote-controlled model aeroplane enthusiast Ben Goode, in reference to his Russian Yak 55.
The Phoenix Flyers of Launceston model aircraft club member bought his latest man-toy second hand for $2500.
Mr Goode said the machine held a 90 to 110cc engine, which he compared with the power of a postal bike, and could reach flying speeds of up to 150 km/h.
It is 2.6 metres long and 35 per cent of the size of its prototype; a plane that was specifically built for aerobatic flying by Russian aircraft designers in 1981.
``My dad got me started on these when I was about five. He would go out flying and I would watch, but he wouldn't let me have one until I was about 16,'' Mr Goode said.
``There were lots of years spent begging.''
Mr Goode learnt to fly with self-made glider planes, and trainers, before progressing to the bigger models.
Before the Yak, Mr Goode had a yellow Desert Aircraft 10.
``These ones are a gas engine, with a two-stroke chainsaw mower or dirt bike engine, so you have to mix up unleaded fuel for it,'' he said.
``This has a stock exhaust, so the pipes give it a bit more power, and weighs about 12 kilograms all up, with close to 30 kilograms of thrust.
``You have to practise flying a fair bit, it takes discipline.
``There is always someone crashing, it just depends on how well you maintain your plane.
``I've seen big planes, and one wing will snap off. Sometimes people can land it with one wing, but sometimes they can't.''
Mr Goode said the mechanical knowledge gained by flying a model aeroplane would be beneficial when it came to flying a real aircraft.
He said flying a real aircraft and flying a model one was similar.
``You just don't sit in it,'' he said.
Mr Goode will be flying his planes at the scale aerobatic state championships weekend on October 19 and 20 at Longford.
It is the first competition of its kind to be held in Tasmania.
Competitors will attempt a series of flying tricks, including full rolls, humpty bumps and reverse tear drops.
CLIVE Butler, 69, of Longford, said the technology behind model aeroplanes had increased dramatically since he got involved more than 50 years ago.
He said the focus had switched from building the models to flying them.
``These days, you shake the box and the aeroplane falls out, you put it together and fly,'' Mr Butler said.
``Because of that, we are losing some of the building skills that the older guys have got.
``You used to have to build it out of balsa wood and tissue, and then things progressed with modern mediums, like fibreglass and composites.
``Some guys build and barely fly, and for them the building is key, but there are others who are exactly the opposite.''
The traditional competitions were also focused on the build as much as the flying.
In scale competitions there are two elements.
``They are judged statistically for their fidelity to scale,'' Mr Butler said.
``The judges look at how accurately it represents the full-sized aeroplanes. The second part is the flying, judged on how well they fly relative to the real aeroplane.
``To win you have to do well in both.''
In terms of technology, Mr Butler said planes were now run off electric power, with batteries, to internal combustion engines, that ran from 20cc up to 200cc engines.
``Transmitters are usually on 2.4 gigabytes, and range from the very sophisticated, that is going to cost $600, to the relatively simplified ones that you buy from Kmart to fly around your backyard for $29,'' he said.
Mr Butler, who is also an aerobatic pilot, said passionate model enthusiasts found greater pleasure in aeroplanes than cars because unlike expensive sports cars, they could see their efforts when they were flying them.
``You can always tell people in aviation because when an aeroplane flies over, we are the people who look out for them,'' Mr Butler said.