Merewether is one of the major flying sites in Newcastle and recently thanks to funding from the NSWHPA and great organisational skills from the Newcastle hanggliding club some major site improvements were completed.
Prior to the site works being undertaken the Merwether site was becoming increasingly difficult and dangerous due to an increase in vegetation in front of the launch. The site is located on NSW National Parks land meant that further vegetation reduction was not allowed. A concession was made to increase the height of the take off platform which would involve considerable earthworks and landscaping that would meet the NSW National Parks approval.
Ward Gunn from the Newcastle Hanggliding club along with assistance from John Harriott navigated the tough bureaucracy to get the project approved and most importantly, executed. Here's some pictures of the site. Why not, head up and fly there to see how good it actually is.
We're really excited to show some of the photos from the new launch improvements to the Bombala launch on the central coast of NSW. With some crisp new astro turf, reprofiling of the slope and better retaining wall structures this is a much safer and easier launch that will make flying here a better experience for all pilots.
Well done to the clubs involved, we're happy to have supported this project with funds from the NSWHPA that we make available to all clubs for site improvements and site developments.
Joel and David from the Mid North Coast Flyers have just installed a new weather station at Middle Brother. This is a great effort from the club to make this happen and means wind checks will give everyone the info they need. Well Done!
The President, Ralf Gittfried has presented the 2016/17 President's Report at the NSWHPA AGM on 12 September, 2017. The report can be accessed by clicking on the button below.
Spring is definitely a great time to get some cross country flying happening. If you haven't been active flying over winter you're probably chomping at the bit to get some air time. On the weekend I had the good fortune of flying with Illawarra and all round hang gliding legend Franko at Tongarra.
For those of you who don't know about Tongarra it's a cliff launch to the south of the Macquarie pass (the road you drive up from Albion Park to Moss Vale). While it is a very tricky and advanced site to launch from the views are amazing and the flying can be superb.
This weekend saw Franko and myself do some maintenance on the site (removing some trees that were crowding the launch) and then followed it up with a magic XC flight scooting from cloud to cloud.
If you want to know more about Tongarra - check out the page on the Illawarra sites. This site works best in Spring and Autumn as in summer it usually gets an inversion that keeps you very low. Tongarra is a morning site (otherwise the seabreeze can come in a ruin it) and it's not uncommon to launch around 10:30am.
Mark Robertson the hanggliding extraordinaire from the mid north coast club recently gave us a big run down and pictures on some of the great sites that the Mid North Coast has to offer. Thanks Mark!
Check out the Mid North coast Club page for more info.
Remember to contact the club if you want to know about site locations and best conditions.
It's a great thing when we see a new flying club set up. It means there's a stack of motivated people wanting to share this great sport of ours. Bring it on!
The latest club to join the NSWHPA is the South Coast Flyers. The South Coast Flyers are based down near Nowra just a couple of hours south of Sydney. This also happens to be the location for one great cross country flying site that seems to slip under the radar. Mount Cambewarra a south facing launch towers almost 2000 feet above the bomb out below. Yes 2000 feet!
Picturesque, green fields, an ocean in the distant and over the back lies the beautiful Kangaroo Valley and beyond that the Southern Highlands. I must admit that I rank my last flight from Mt. Cambewarra as being one the most spectacular flights I've had in NSW.
To find out more about this amazing site check out the club page for this area and contact one the club members to fly down there. The last flight I had down there was over 60 kilometres which was short compared to what I could have done if I knew where I was flying.
Welcome to NSW South Coast Flyers.
▪ The safest and easiest gliders for dune soaring are the single surface floaters, Fun, Mars 190, Malibu. Double surface intermediate gliders like Sonics and Sting’s may be OK when the wind is stronger but in lighter winds and tight situations they will be much harder to manoeuvre and certainly not recommended for first time dune soaring.
▪ The slope of the beach leading up to the dune has a big effect on the dune lift. A constant upward slope is good. If the slope before the dune is flat or downwards, it will reduce the lift significantly.
▪ Beach crowds – check out the beach. Make sure your possible flight path and landing is clear of people. Note any poles, garbage bins or signs that might get in your way. Check the tide level and whether it is coming in or out. Check for kite surfers and chat with them about your flight path.
▪ Dune care – dunes are easily damaged especially at the front edge. If the vegetation at your launch/ landing is looking worn, move to another section and give it a chance to regenerate. Have your club contact the local land care officer or council and offer assistance in dune care.
▪ Wind speeds of 20 knots and over are dangerous, one slip up can result in a serious accident. And anyway, it’s not much fun in that strength and tends to get quite turbulent near the ground especially if there is big surf/swell.
▪ Many people use a separate harness for dune flying and it may not have a chute. Don’t want to wreck your good harness with all the sand.
▪ Wear sunglasses or other protective eye wear. Dunes often have low bush which can cushion exuberant landings, but there can be sharp sticks that could ruin your day.
▪ Keep plenty of spare uprights.
▪ Dune soaring is an advanced skill that needs to be practiced. Start by just gliding off the dune and work from there. Don’t think that it is a novice sport, it’s easy to make this assumption given that it is low flying on sand dunes. Practise practise practise. Continuous learning is the key.
▪ In windy conditions, ground handling is made easier by holding the base bar. It usually is windy for dune flying. BUT be careful not to carry this habit across to light wind launches and high performance gliders.
▪ Practice ground handling. Observe how the airflow over different bumps and gullies in the dune can suck you in or push you out.
▪ When launching, fly the glider first and worry about getting into the harness later. Do it the other way and you’ll be on the deck. With practice the harness will become automatic. Fly the glider first.
▪ If your legs are dangling, keep them crossed. It helps keep your centre of mass under control and looks better too.
▪ Watch the water for wind changes; the gust you need to get launched can be seen coming on the water. Watch for impending direction changes.
▪ Experienced dune flying pilots can make it look really easy. If you are just starting, don’t be fooled by their suave and smooth flying. It’s a lot harder than it looks.
▪ Keep on a little extra airspeed, especially when close to the hill or ground. The speed gives extra control and the opportunity to land nicely if you need to. This is especially important when running downwind along the dune. If you need to land the extra speed will help you rotate the glider into wind as you flare.
▪ Keep flying, don’t land! When flying close to the ground, it is a natural reaction to get ready to land. Practise will overcome this. With floater gliders you can stay in prone and fly them right into the deck. If there is wind, the nose tends not to pitch down due to the strong pitch postiveness of the gliders. This does NOT work for double surface gliders they’re too slippery and will nose in.
▪ Concentration; pay attention the whole time. When flying so close to the ground, a split second lapse in concentration can do you in. You’ll just have to ignore the good lookers sunbathing on the beach.
▪ When the lift at the sight is marginal, it is most challenging and can be the most rewarding; however, the probability of an accident is increased as you fly closer to the dune. Keep a little airspeed up your speed sleeve.
▪ To land quickly, pull the control bar in, the excess speed gained will dissipate quickly and you can brake with your feet in the sand. For example, if you find yourself in a situation where you are approaching the edge of the beach, heading towards water and with insufficient height to turn away; in this case pull the bar in and get onto the beach. Because floater gliders have such good low speed performance, slowing down would cause the glider to continue flying out over the water. (This is different to high performance gliders, whose glide performance does not deteriorate so much with speed and whose landing speed would be much higher.)
▪ Landed on the beach and having trouble walking back up the dune with the glider and all the wind? Try the “Ken technique”. (Who is Ken?) Move to the bottom of the dune with the glider pointing into wind. The wind will be pushing the tips up and nose down because the tips are near the slope. Standing in the control frame, turn and face the back of the glider, get the nose down low and then lift the glider on your shoulders. Keep the nose right down nearly touching the ground and the wind will push you up the dune. You can do this while still clipped in. Turn around and take off again!
▪ To make sure your equipment lasts as long as possible, wipe down the exposed wires and tubes before packing it up. If you are really dedicated give it a fresh water wash and thoroughly dry them when you get home. You might try polishing exposed tubes with car wax to create a barrier. There is a good protective nylon coating called “Nyallic”. You can also coat the inside of tubes with linseed oil. That’s a job for non flying days.
▪ Most of all, have fun!
by Bruce Wynne
Every winter at Stanwell, we talk about the Katabatic Wind (offshore wind) which seems to occur with regularity sometime in the afternoon between 2.30pm and sunset.
The Katabatic Wind is common in Alpine regions were cold air descends down mountain sides and into Valleys, (open the fridge door and feel the cold air descend onto your bare feet).
Our Stanwell Katabatic may be associated with this phenomenon to a degree due to a valley like setting but may have more to do with the “Land Breeze” which occurs in winter due to the land mass being cooler than the Sea. This is important to realize as an “offshore Breeze” can occur anywhere along the coast line, not only Stanwell with its Valley type configuration.
Flying at Stanwell on a winter afternoon should be flown with the expectation that a Katabatic may be establishing underneath you and with reduced height, you can suddenly find yourself going down quicker than you would like.
Often, the Katabatic can be observed with key clues such as the texture on the Lagoon, the direction the birds are landing, smoke drift from houses in the Park area. And observing how others are landing. Quite often, some waving and shouting by pilots on the hill and/or in the landing area should raise some alarm in you.
If you are caught in a Katabatic Wind, the worst place to fly is adjacent to the hill side as this is usually the strongest down draught, if you are clear of the “big hill” do not be tempted to fly along the small cliffs unless you can make the beach.
If you cannot make the beach, it is advisable to fly inland, you may finish up in the trees but you will stay airborne longer, and dry.
There is a Wind Sock near the Shute at Stanwell, but does not reveal the Katabatic as it is some what sheltered by the Dune. On many occasions, I place a home made sock near the edge of the Park, Ideal for letting you know when to do a Westerly approach into the Shute/Park.
Sydney Hang-gliding Club
2015-2016 NSWcompleted flying site development projects