Tradition on high at world champs

Andrew and Nick Maddocks recently represented Australia at the World Junior Gliding Championships in Germany.
Andrew and Nick Maddocks recently represented Australia at the World Junior Gliding Championships in Germany. Rob Williams

FOR three generations the Maddocks family has enjoyed a bird's eye view of the picturesque Scenic Rim landscape as they embraced their passion for gliding.

Most recently, brothers Nick, 22 and Andrew, 23, have been keeping, or more correctly expanding, that family tradition.

The brothers have recently returned from Germany where they represented Australia at the World Junior Gliding Championships.

With grandparents on both sides and both parents involved in the sport, the boys stood little or no chance of escaping the flying bug.

It's also hardly surprising the two men have reached the dizzying heights of international competition.

They pretty much grew up on a Boonah airfield.

"Every weekend Mum and Dad were out there flying," Nick said.

"When we were younger, we would just run around the paddock and get up to mischief.

"We've always spent all our weekends at the airfields so when we got to the age we could take it up, it was a natural progression for us."

When they weren't up to mischief, they were up in the air.

Nick said he took his first flight at the tender age of four and his first solo flight on his 15th birthday, the very first day he was legally allowed.

Since then, the brothers have been training or competing almost every weekend.

Still part of the junior category of pilots, for competitors aged 15 to 26, the Booval-based brothers have worked with other young flyers to expand junior competition around the country, for obvious reasons.

"It can be a very expensive sport," Nick said.

"The average age of most of the senior competition is 50 to 60.

"We've been helping set up good junior competitions for the last six or seven years.

"It gives us the opportunity to run our own events and do a bit more wild stuff rather than going to bed at eight o'clock like the oldies seem to do."

But despite his playful jab at the senior ranks, it seems what goes around comes around for young Nick.

While he talks about escaping the age-challenged competitors, he is also preparing to hit the heavens with one in the co-pilot seat.

"They've approved a new two-seater class at the worlds in Finland," he said.

"Dad and I are hoping to qualify to fly together there."

While the two brothers can't escape their obvious passion for the sport, they do differ in how they spend their time away from the airfield.

Andrew has a business repairing and maintaining gliders.

Nick works part-time in the business while completing his university degree in architecture.

"I love working (on gliders) but I prefer to have an office job that will pay for my addiction," Nick said.

Come weekends though, there's only one place you will find these two glider addicts - high above Boonah enjoying the view.

Topics:  gliding scenic rim

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