History of the NWMAC

Model flying in the Derry area can be traced back to 1939 when Dr. Austin Kinsella and Claude Austin flew free flight models. In the early 1950’s NWMAC, now as an official club and with a larger membership, took up residence at the decommissioned Fleet Air Arm airfield at Maydown. However In the early 1960’s the MoD sold the Maydown site to Du Pont Chemicals leaving us without a flying site. A ready alternative was available just a few miles north at Eglinton Airport. It proved to be an ideal home for the NWMAC and one we would occupy for some 25 years. A decision in the early 1980’s by Derry City Council to develop Eglinton as a commercial airport had a profound effect upon the club and its activities. As the airport developed, restrictions upon the activities of the club resulted in the club deciding to vacate Eglinton and seek an alternative site. Land at Gransha hospital was our first alternative home, one that was occupied for approximately a year until the authorities decided to build a new hospital on the site! Subsequently the Club moved to the council playing fields at Prehen although this was not an ideal location as it was constrained by a major road on one side and the River Foyle on the other. Also access by the general public could not be controlled and it was not unusual to find someone walking his or her dog across your flight path. Clearly a better site was required. Following negotiations with Derry City Council we were granted a 25 year lease of the Council’s landfill site at Duncastle Road and after planning permission was granted work began on turning the site into a first class model airfield. Topsoil was laid along with a brand new tarmac runway at a cost of £15,000 and the first model to fly off our new strip took to the air at Christmas in 1995. The Duncastle Road flying site has now been developed further with the addition of a new longer grass runway and a purpose built club house and store. W/C facilties and electricity have also been fitted leaving us with what is probably the best official model flying site in the country.