Tocumwal champion glider Mark ‘Lumpy’ Paterson closed out his 2018 season on a high note.
The 50 year-old set a new Australian speed record at 150.1km/h during a 1000km journey from the old Sportavia Hangar up to Galong, Tottenham and back to Tocumwal.
The previous record set in 2009 was 134.9 km/h, with Paterson thrilled to have his name in the history books.
‘‘I knew it was ideal weather conditions to fly but to break a record is just great,’’ he said.
‘‘My wife and I were in Tassie for Christmas and flew back up after Boxing Day so I could attempt this.
‘‘The record has been standing for nine years so it’s just incredible to have beaten it.’’
It’s been a busy year for ‘Lumpy’, claiming the Queensland State Gliding Championship Open/18m title at Kingaroy in October.
With the seven day event cut down to four due to weather disruptions, he managed to finish first on three occasions and sixth on the other day to record the victory.
He followed this performance up with a win in the Victorian State Gliding Championships, finishing first on all four tasks to win the ballasted title at Benalla last month.
‘‘The distances at the state titles range from 200km to 530 kilometres a day,’’ Paterson said.
‘‘I’m quite proud to win both titles. I’m flying off a handicap of one at the moment, so to still be able to win is pretty pleasing.’’
Paterson has been gliding for most of his life, having his first glider flight at the age of 12 when growing up in Western Australia.
At the age of 15 he went solo, earning his glider licence on his 15th birthday.
He purchased his first glider at the age of 16 with a good friend and has since owned a string of other gliders, including a Cirrus 75B, Pik 20D, two Nimbus 2s, Janus, Hph 304s and JS3-18.
Paterson has also previously won state championships in Western Australia and at one stage was the youngest person to earn a three-diamond diploma.
After moving to Tasmania and a 20 year absence from gliding he returned to the sport he loves, before deciding to move to Tocumwal six months ago, starting his Tocumwal Soaring Centre business.
‘‘Gliders have definitely improved (since I first started), but it was the progression of the instrumentation and navigation tools that I find both a help and hindrance.
‘‘The ease of access to real time information on weather allows the accuracy for forecasting the best days and the best tasks for those days.
‘‘They say when you get out of bed and you don’t feel like you’re working, it means you’re in the right job.
‘‘I’m lucky enough to be able to do what I love for work and to set up a full operation for gliding is perfect for me.’’
As a pilot Paterson has also been lucky enough to fly and be around Tocumwal’s four time World Champion and the chief flying officer of the Riverina Gliding Club, Ingo Renner.
‘‘To also be able to learn off a four time world champion in Ingo Renner has been a great experience.
‘‘He’s one of the best to ever glide; part of the reason we chose Tocumwal was because of the history of gliding here.’’