MARK Webber might be retiring from Formula One without winning a world championship, but Australia has sewn up the F1 of model aircraft racing.
Chris Callow has returned from Holland after clinching his fifth F3D Pylon Racing world championship recently, where his locally built radio-controlled plane averaged 350kmh over a 4km course.
That's a lot faster than Mr Webber will manage at tomorrow's F1 Belgian Grand Prix, even if he wins it.
Chris has brought his expertise as a mechanic at Currimundi's Coastline BMW to fine-tune his model aircraft's tiny 6.5cc methanol-fuelled engine.
It produces a mere 2.5kW- about 30 times less than a humble Holden Barina - but the Gympie-built plane's weight of just 2.2kg fully fuelled means outrageous acceleration, top speed and quick turns.
"Its G-force is about 38 to 45 in turns," Chris said, while pointing out that the average man passes out at 5g.
Chris has travelled the world with his carbon-fibre aircraft, taking part in world championships in the USA, Czech Republic, Sweden, Germany, Japan and France.
He dominated the Dutch-hosted 2013 event, while setting a world record by completing the 4km course in just 56.28 seconds.
But what has led to Chris' superiority in the sport, where he is feared the world over for his aircraft control and speed?
"I've had lots of experience because my dad has been flying them his whole life, and I took an interest at a young age," he said.
"Plus on the Sunshine Coast we have good weather all year round - unlike much of Europe - so I can do lots of testing and development work."
Chris also praises our local clubs and facilities, suggesting that anybody interested in learning more should visit the Suncoast Model Flyers at Quanda Rd, Coolum ( http://www.coolumflyers.com).
There's every chance Chris will add to his five world championships too, as his enthusiasm is as strong for the sport as it's always been.
And with two other Australians securing fourth and fifth place at the 2013 championships, we can still claim this sport as one we're dominating.
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