Hang gliding is the simplest form of flying for humans, and for me it is the most beautiful. When hang gliding in a place as beautiful as Apollo Bay, the enjoyment starts well before becoming airborne and endures for quite some time after landing.
This flight was my first for the summer season. Bruce, a very experienced local pilot, flew with me.
Many Apollo Bay residents have uninterrupted views of the launch sites
The arrow points to a takeoff site.
Views during an early morning drive up the hill for a flight
The hang gliders being loaded on to a tractor for the final part of the drive to launch
The track to the takeoff site is worth seeing purely for the scenery. It includes a section through pristine cool temperate rainforest.
Towering eucalypt forest surrounds the track as it nears the takeoff site
The recently mown hang glider set-up area, out of the breeze but with a view of the coast and Bass Strait below
The hang gliders completely assembled, inspected and ready for flight
Bruce’s high performance Aeros Combat 13.5. The sky starting to come alive as the day warmed up. We had the entire local coast to ourselves for a very enjoyable flight during what turned out to be the most suitable flying-weather window for the day.
Assessing the wind strength and direction
Runway 13. Elevation 800 feet above sea level.
I took less than one third of this distance to become airborne on the day these photos were taken. The wind was about 10 knots from the SSE for my takeoff.
The view looking straight down immediately after liftoff – dense temperate rainforest
The silver tube is the base bar of the hang glider. The black object on the left is one of two neoprene mitts fixed to the basebar to keep my hands warm in cold air.
Climbing away from the launch site in good lift, with great views of the town and most of my favourite ocean swimming locations.
During the flight the wind backed around from SSE to SE, and eventually to the ESE which was when it also began to drop. When the lift started to fade I left the ridge while I still had good height and glided out to the beach for a landing into a light headwind. I was soaring for just over an hour. For most of the flight I was around 1000-1200 feet above sea level, in ridge lift. But there was the occasional thermal, in which I circled and gained some extra height. My maximum altitude, thermal assisted, was 1500 feet. Bruce landed on the beach at Wild Dog Creek.