17 MAAALogo. “Daniel had to grapple with flying the electric 5D and alternating between F3D and F5D, which are totally different models,” adds Andrew. “In terms of where you had to land your aircraft -you couldn’t just land on the normal strip; you had to set up a landing mesh on the ground so you wouldn’t damage your aircraft on the rubble. Daniel landed on that mat every time.” Daniel acknowledges the level of support the MAAA has provided him in helping to achieve his dream, both in the lead up to and during such competitions. “In my case, the MAAA assisted me to fly in Czech Republic in 2015 and most recently in Sweden in 2017. Both times I finished with a podium Bronze and Gold respectively. My achievements were recognised with awards for the MAAA Hall of Fame under the leadership of [MAAA President] Neil Tank,” he says. But what do Daniel’s friends think about such aeromodelling achievements? “They think it’s pretty cool that you can be so good at something like this,” he continues. “I really had no clue a couple of years ago and with some good training and good practice, I’ve come a long way. When you’re aiming for the world champs, dedication is extremely important.” Andrew believes that by encouraging a buddy system and engaging with schools and local communities-where children are inspired to come along and see planes being flown, this will ultimately support a new generation in taking up the sport. “When Daniel came back from the World Champs with his beautiful gold medals, a little boy came up to him with his mother. The mother explained to her son that Daniel flew model aeroplanes and you could see the excitement in this boy’s eyes.” “We said to him that Daniel was going to do another flying demonstration and whether he wanted to come along? And the boy said, ‘That would be cool!’ So, we gave him one of Dan’s helmets and he came out on the race line with Daniel and the young fella is now happy to give a trainer a go,” continues Andrew. “That’s a contribution that we’re trying to make for any kid who has an interest in aviation in general; encouraging and showing them how to do it.” Presently, Daniel is undertaking a four-year apprenticeship to become a licensed maintenance engineer-which is taking his hobby to a whole new level and giving him the opportunity to gain real-world, industry experience that will pave the way to a successful aviation career. “He’s going to school; he’s learning about general aviation and how things work and actually doing it every day on a full-sized aircraft. I think that’s a really important message because you can actually create a future career from this as well,” says Andrew.