Whether it’s creating stunning kitchen masterpieces in his joinery business or indulging in his passion for aircraft and flying, Errol Steinhardt lives his life to the full …
How did you come to join the Aero Club?
I have always been fascinated with flight from a very young age. My first memory was removing my father’s tractor umbrella and jumping off a high tank stand with it open … with not much success! In 1970 I took my first official Training Instructional Flight with New England Air Taxi – and have been flying ever since.
At this stage there was no existing Aero Club, so a few other enthusiasts and myself set about reforming the now present Armidale Aero Club.
What business do you own?
Steinhardt’s Kitchens & Joinery, owned and operated by myself, my wife Dorothy and our son Brett, has been operating in its current position on the corner of Bundarra Road and Brickfield Avenue for the past 16 years. We have three employees.
We produce kitchens, vanities and wardrobes and specialise in granite and engineered stone benchtops, which are manufactured in our factory. Our aim is to always provide attention to detail and superior workmanship.
Most memorable moment with the Aero Club?
In 1984 Aero Club members, Geoff Swilks, Tony Gurner and I drove across America to visit the Oshkosh Air Show, one of the largest and greatest air shows one could imagine, with over 8,500 aircraft in the one place. I have revisited with other members on a further two occasions.
Another memorable moment would be a group of members and our wives flying to and around New Guinea – a beautiful place. But the most memorable moment would have to be being granted Life Membership of this great club, which I am so proud of.
What Is the history of the club?
Having reformed the club in 1970, we decided to approach Dumaresq Shire Council to seek approval to construct a club house at the Armidale Airport. Approval was granted, and so commenced the building. At first it was all voluntary labour, and the materials were very generously donated. We gained a bank loan to finish the club in 1978. It was officially opened by the Hon. Ian Sinclair.
The club has owned three planes over the years – the first being a Thorpe T3 Sky Scooter, the second a Grumman AA1B and our current plane, which we purchased in 1983, a Cessna 172 M. At the present time, the club has about 65 members.
Flying competitions are held at the club every month, and the points gained go towards pilot of the year, as well as monthly trophies. We also hold a bi-annual Memorial Flying Competition with Kempsey Flying Club – which came about after the tragic death of Robert Cumming, a Kempsey flying instructor based in Armidale who was killed in a mid air crash over Bankstown in 1974.
How often do you attend the club?
In past years I rarely missed a weekend, but I am not as active a member these days due to business commitments. I still like to participate as often as I can and enjoy the fellowship of the other members.
How does the club survive financially?
The club survives financially through a lot of dedication and hard work by its members.
Meetings are held at 7.30pm on the 3rd Tuesday of the month, and flying competitions are held the following Sunday. So for anyone interested in flying or learning to fly, come along to the club on these days. You will be most welcome.
Thank you Errol.