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XC flight in Australia


I had a call at 7am from Local Hang Gliding Legend Johnny Durand that it is looks like a good day to try a distance flight. I was a little unsure, because we had a lot of rain over the previous two weeks, so the ground was very wet. The site and state record was 260 Km so it was worth a shot.

We met on Beechmont Launch at 8am. It is a 1000ft hill only 20Kms from the Gold Coast Beaches. I set up and launched at 8.30. Conditions were very slow as expected and I had to tiptoe the first 70 km over water-logged fields. I was very happy with the climb rate of my Magus XC 26 as it helped me get through this tricky area. As I got to the main range and over into the flatlands conditions improved somewhat and I was able to make better ground. Having started so early, it was now just a matter of staying in the air for full day. It was just lots of climbs and long glides over the flats with kilometers ticking over till a really low point at 250 Km. After a nervous search down to less that 500ft a good thermal got me back to a safe height with the local and state record in the bag. I now started to do some sums and it seemed possible that I could also beat the Australian record of 235kms also. I passed the 300km mark and knew that I only needed one more good thermal and glide to break the Aussie record. I spotted a very large feedlot ahead and headed to it but instead of the smell of cattle poo wafting up in my final thermal my luck had run out and I glided out at 50 Km/ Hr to land at 325Kms at 6pm. Pretty happy but very tired after 9 and half hours in the air. Johnny also went for the Aussie Hang Gliding record and missed it by 2kms!! 

Now I am just looking forward to a better day..... 

Enda Murphy.