A DORSET airline captain has triumphed in a tough flying competition to be crowned Dutch Gliding Champion 2014.
Mark Wering, who lives in Ferndown with his wife Sarah and sons Matthew and Daniel, beat former gliding champions to take the top spot in the Dutch national competition.
The 46-year-old airline captain and instructor flew a Nimbus 4T glider in the 10-day competition, which took place near Arnhem in Holland. The glider has a wingspan similar to that of a Boeing 737 and is a single seater.
Mark performed consistently throughout the contest, in the lead from day two onwards and first overall on every day except the first day.
He was also one of only three competitors to complete the longest flight of the competition. This 701km flight was the biggest task ever set and completed in any of the Dutch National competitors and proved a tough test.
Apart from Mark and two others, all the other pilots failed to complete the 701km distance and instead landed in farmers’ fields in Holland and Germany.
Mark learnt to glide as a teenager growing up in Enschede, Holland. His day job sees him captain an MD-11 aircraft for Dutch airline Martinair.
He was joined on the winner’s podium by his two sons and watched by Sarah and his parents, who live in Holland.
Sarah said: “We were delighted and it was a double celebration as it was his birthday. He was unaware when he landed, initially, that he had won.
“He went out there to compete but mainly to have a great gliding holiday, and has been lucky enough to fly in many countries over the years as a hobby, including in the Andes, in Chile where we lived for five years.
“The children and I flew out there half way through the competition and he said having his family with him was the final push he needed.”