Hoping to soar to success

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Timaru’s John Shaw will launch his F3J model glider into the skies above Slovenia this month, in search of a world championship title.
Mr Shaw has been perfecting his skills from a paddock near Pleasant Point in preparation for the 2016 FAI F3J World Championship for Model Gliders, taking place in Vipava, Slovenia, from July 30 to August
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Mr Shaw, along with the North Island’s Kevin Botherway and Joe Wurts, who is an ex-world champion, complete New Zealand’s three-man team, which also includes a manager.
Each competitor will launch his high-tech radio-controlled glider at the same time as 15 other competitors, all while standing side by side.
Once airborne, their mission would be to keep their glider in flight for as long as possible, within a 10-minute timeframe.
‘‘It’s quite tactical,’’ MrShaw said.
Competitors would have to accurately judge when to release their glider from its launch line and ensure they did not collide with others.
Mr Shaw was perfecting his skills and putting one of his new F3Js through its paces on Saturday afternoon.
The model has a 4m wing span, making it large enough to catch the attention of passers-by. And, while it weighs only 1.7kg, its dollar value packs a punch at $3000. models as a youngster. His hobby, and what he considers a passion, has since evolved to include radio-controlled models.
‘‘It’s me against the elements. That’s what I like about it. It’s peaceful and quiet. It’s a passion, really, and I’ve been doing it ever since.’’
Mr Shaw, who thanked the Cartwright family for the use of the paddock he trained from, said sending his F3J into the skies was both a challenge and an opportunity to enjoy the outdoors.
‘‘Sometimes the hawks will hook into a thermal and I’ll go and join it with them and see if they can outclimb me.’’
‘‘They are really high-tech, composite machines. You can compare them to your yachts . . . the technology is huge.’’
Mr Shaw used to build static