MAAA Wingspan

22 Flying the flag high for women in aeromodelling Melissa Law will be the first woman in the world to compete at the FAI F4 Scale Championships in Norway in 2021. The Australian teammanager and passionate aeromodeller from Melbourne said she is proud to fly the flag for our country but also create an awareness that women can enjoy the sport too, paving the way for more females to fly high. “I first got into aeromodelling when I was 11-years-old and would fly at my local field with my Dad. I was very keen on control line and then moved into aerobatics. I attained my bronze wings by the age of about 13,” said Melissa. “I competed in my first competition when I was about 17 years old and although I didn’t win, I enjoyed pushing myself out of my comfort zone. I also just loved flying with my Dad. That was a real joy for me. “As I was young when I started, I didn’t really realise that there weren’t many women in the sport. It wasn’t something that I took much notice of.” Melissa’s now-husband, David Law, a long time Australian F4C pilot, recently reignited her passion for aeromodelling. In her teens, when dating David, she would attend his competitions and assist as his caller at local and national competitions. “Just over five years ago, David and I reconnected, and I have been his caller again locally and now on the world stage,” said Melissa. This January, Melissa started rebuilding a scale model of a Super Decathlon. “The amount of time that Dave spent in the shed building his models, I thought no better way to spend more time with him was to build my own model,” she said. “I also removed all the covering off the airframe and modified the tail, wings and other aspects of the model to make it my own. I have recovered, painted and added detail off photos replicating the full-size aircraft located at Inverell Aviation in NSW, Australia. “In February this year, I was invited by the Contest Director of the 2020 Norway FAI F4 World Championships, to compete at this year’s event, as I had been advised that a class for women pilots was happening.” Unfortunately due to the recent Coronavirus outbreak, this year’s event has been cancelled. Mel will now attend the event next year. “I’m very sad that this year’s event has been cancelled but I’m excited to compete next year and I think it’s a great milestone for women in our sport, it puts us, and also Juniors, on the map with Australia sending our first youngster (16-year-old) Balint Banko,” said Melissa. “Women are more than capable of competing in this sport and should be recognised for it. We see so many wives on the sidelines, but they too can take to the flying field. There are now so many avenues for women and children. It’s really great to see.”