The Australian Pattern Association was originally called the Victorian Pattern Association and was the result of discussions during the annual MARCS vs Sydney competition in Wagga during October 1977, between the following six people who subsequently became the six founding members of the Association. Ian Watt, Graham Emery, Bruce Grinter, Karl Flemming, Ian Forrester and Mike Chipchase.
The aim behind the formation of the Association was to promote Pattern flying and Pattern competition and in so doing, improve the skills of Australian Pattern flyers in world competition.
I, as the first Secretary bulk mailed and otherwise contacted all known Pattern flyers in Australia to recruit membership and obtain interest in either joining or competing in our events. Monthly competitions were with the assistance of many metropolitan clubs in making their fields available to the VPA for one or two day events. MARCS hosted more than its share of our events probably due in part to the fact that I was President and also because a high percentage of VPA members were MARCS members also.
Shortly after the Association was formed, Ford Lloyd was appointed to the position of a non-flying Chief Judge and attended a large number of our events giving his expertise to the Judging panel, effectively reducing the number of flying judges by one.
The present system of four grades and the promotional system was initially my idea and was honed into a workable system at a committee meeting at Bruce Grinter's place on the 23/5/1979.
The VPA was changed into the Australian Pattern Association some years later, from memory 1980/81, to promote Pattern flying on a national basis and to give us recognition as a highly qualified special interest group with the MAAA.
From a small beginning some 16 years ago the Association has grown into a dominant position having a membership that reads like a who's who of Pattern flying, with members from all points of the compass. The original aims of the Association when it was first formed have certainly been accomplished, but there is still a long way to go as the standard that we have achieved is not yet pushing the envelope to the limit.
Such total acceptance of the APA and what the APA attempts to do, shows that we must have done something right in the first place to have gone from strength to strength like we have. How many other organisations could boast of not only running a World Championships, but of running it such professionally manner and doing so on fairly short notice.
By Mike Chipchase