Guide to Manilla, Australia

  • Safe, easy and relaxing XC for all levels of pilot
  • Reliable weather and route in all directions
  • Go in the southern summer – October to April
  • Astroturfed launches for every wind direction
The big open skies of manilla where Godfrey Wennes pushed the world record to 335km in 1998. Photo: martin Scheel

The big open skies of manilla where Godfrey Wennes pushed the world record to 335km in 1998. Photo: martin Scheel

WHY GO?
Pilots come here to break their personal bests, and most go home happy

WHERE IS IT?

WHAT’S IT LIKE?
Easy XC flying over an interesting mixture of flatlands and low ridges and hills. Personal bests get shattered and pilots log extraordinary amounts of airtime and kilometres in an average week in Manilla. Local guru and site owner Godfrey Wenness broke the world distance record from here with a flight of 335km as long ago as 1998.

Manilla is a typical small Aussie country town with a selection of classic pubs and friendly locals. Some 12km away is Australia’s premier flying site: Mount Borah, a purpose-developed world class launch site in a world class XC area.

The hill is 500m AGL and was extensively developed for the PG Worlds in 2007. Access is possible by two-wheel-drive car to most areas. The four astroturfed launches are within walking distance of each other, the landing zones are easy to reach, and the hill is ridge soarable on all sides. The relatively flat 2km-square mountaintop allows for safe top landings

 

FLYING CONDITIONS
Flying from Mount Borah goes on all day long, with ridge soaring into the sunset and late evening a regular event. Conditions vary from light and variable (great for triangles) to windy and one direction (for open distance) over a mixture of flatlands and low hills.

Thermals are generally smooth compared to alpine and dry desert areas. A good average day sees thermals between 3-5m/s and heights up to 3,500m (the ground is typically 300m ASL)

WHEN TO GO
For 100km+ XC the best time is October to late April. The most consistent periods for weather are October-November and January-April.

ALTITUDE
Cloudbase: 2,500 m – 3,500 m
Launch: 790 – 880 m
Landing: 350 – 450 m

HANG GLIDER ACCESS
Easy! Drive up in your own vehicle or put your glider on the Borah Basher roof rack.

MUST BE FLOWN
With a light to moderate S-SW, fly north to Bingara following the highway for a 90km milk run of small ridges, mini flatlands and valleys. Retrieve is easy, and there are a few pubs with cold beer on the way.

In light to moderate E-SE, fly west to Wee Waa. A 120km flight which takes you over the ancient Mt Kaputar volcano lava fields, then into the endless flatlands spotted with green squares of cotton fields and past a huge deep-space telescope.

DANGERS AND ANNOYANCES
The only areas to watch out for are a 16km CTA around Tamworth airport 60km south; compression on entry to the tablelands 30km east when flying in strong westerly winds; and blue holes on generally good XC cloud days (meaning it’s easy to sink and bomb out).

ACCOMMODATION
Camping and cabins available at Manilla Paragliding while Manilla town offers pubs, a caravan park and B&Bs.

GUIDES AND COURSES
Training, thermalling clinic, XC courses, XC guiding and tandem endorsements from Manilla Paragliding are offered by Godfrey Wenness, www.flymanilla.com.

EXPERT’S OPINION
“Safe, easy to do XC kms, multiple launches for nearly all wind directions, reliable weather (300+ days per year flyable), and no airspace limits.” Godfrey Wenness

TAKE THE FAMILY
Full resort style facility at Mount Borah (swimming pool, lounge, bar, coffee lounge, internet). Horse riding nearby, pristine national parks and shopping in Tamworth.

BLOWN OUT DAYS
Choose from: the Warrabah National Park (granite gorge, river swimming, coloured cliffs, native wildlife); the Golden Guitar in Tamworth; cinema in Tamworth; Moree Hot spring baths 150km away; horse riding; sailplane flights at Lake Keepit.

WEATHER INFO
www.flymanilla.com for weather links and webcam, or email Godfrey Wenness directly.

GETTING THERE
Tamworth airport connects to Sydney and Brisbane. CountryLink bus from Sydney to Manilla every day; five-hour drive from Sydney or seven from Brisbane.

CONTACTS
www.flymanilla.com
www.visittamworth.com


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