Youngsters hoping to be high fliers at national titles

ONE got into it to learn to fly, the other through family involvement but Andrew Maddocks and Matthew Scutter share the same passion for gliding.

They are among the 20 or so pilots competing in the Australian Junior Gliding Championships being hosted by the Lake Keepit Soaring Club.

There aren’t many better juniors in the country than Maddocks.

He’s won the last two nationals – last year at Kingaroy and the year before at Waikerie in South Australia, and will be chasing a third straight title when the championships commence today.

The Boonah pilot has gliding in his blood.

His father did it and his grandfather, and he and his brother are the only current gliders on the junior circuit who competed in the first ever junior (U26)nationals.

That was back in 2004.

“I’ve competed in every single one,” Maddocks said.

He’s also competed in two junior worlds, and three years ago in Finland finished 10th.

He is returning to the area after competing in the Grand Prix event held out at Lake Keepit three weeks ago where he finished fourth.

And while he joked he had little choice about taking up gliding, he loves it.

“It’s a challenge,” he said.

“And every flight is different.”

Scutter has been gliding for about three years.

“I wanted to learn to fly. Gliding is an affordable way to fly,” he said.

“Then I found gliding is more fun.”

The 21-year-old South Australian is among the best in the country and last year competed at the worlds in Germany.

“I was about midfield in those,” he said.

“I was pretty happy with that. That was my first international competition.”

The first of many he hopes.

Also last year he became the youngest pilot for about 30 years to fly 1000km in a day.

“I’m hoping to do that again next year,” he said.

He said he was pretty happy with how he’s flying heading into the week.

Yesterday was the final practice task for competitors before the competition begins in earnest.

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