I started flying gliders at the age of 49, not having done any form of flying before this. I now have close to 8,000 hours in gliders.
Although I was an instructor for 30 odd years, I no longer instruct but prefer doing cross country coaching in my 2-seater, with more experienced pilots wanting to fly faster and longer distances.
I am honoured to be a life member of the Central Coast Soaring Club and the Lake Keepit Soaring Club, in recognition of my efforts over many years.
For quite a while, I was President of the Central Coast Soaring Club, and I am still very involved in the Lake Keepit Soaring Club.
This will be my first World Championships, although I have been successful at many local, state and National competitions, and still hold Australian records for both speed and distance.
I enjoy the challenge of distance flying, as it involves a lot of gear-changing and often different weather conditions over many hours. I have done many flights of over 1,000km distance, my first being in 1989, my longest 1178km from Keepit to Gawler, and my most recent being in March 2019 with Allan Barnes in the Arcus from Keepit to Horsham.
My greatest honour was to be awarded the Australian medal In the year 2000 for achievements in sport “The Australian Sports Medal” with medal and a certificate signed by Mr. John Howard, Prime Minister.
I started flying hang-gliders in Sydney in 1984 and continued after moving to New Zealand and then to the UK in 1989. I began competing in the UK League, and eventually represented the UK in several World and European championships. On 4/8/1997 I suffered a severe accident in France that smashed my right femur. This was the initial trigger for my transition to Gliding, but the highlight of my hang-gliding career was not until 1999 when I won the NZ, UK and Australian championships in the one year and came 13th at the World Championships.
By 2001 the health of my femur had deteriorated to the point where I required a Total Hip Replacement and at this point I decided to transition to Gliding. I did a one-week course at the Long Mynd Gliding Club in England and soloed on the final day. By 2004 I was competing in my first World Championships in Norway where I came 13th. Since then I have represented Australia at 7 World Championships, my best results being 6th in 2012 and 4th (in 2-seater class with Matthew Scutter) in 2018.
This year I am delighted to be flying 2-seater class again with Harry Medlicott in Hungary. We will be flying an Arcus 2M, and our partners Katie and Wendy will be crewing for us, which should maximise our chances of success. Harry is an inspiration to me in what can be achieved with a combination of raw talent, determination, perseverance and amazing positivity. My goals now are firstly to reach Harry’s age, secondly to be still flying, and thirdly to be as competent as Harry is when I get there!