From Friday, March 9 to Tuesday, March 13 Trundle will become the epicentre of Australian Paragliding.
The Wings out West is Australia’s first ground tow paragliding competition and will attract 35 pilots to a tow paddock six kilometres west of Trundle.
Pilots will be towed to around 800 metres above ground where they will release from tow and then fly a challenging air navigation course using GPS technology.
The towing technology has been developed by a Dubbo local, Phillip Mansell of Fly Dubbo and is used at most flight training facilities around Australia.
Paragliders are minimalist aviation aircraft made from specialised textiles and in the shape of the steerable parachute.
There is no motor on a paraglider.
To fly a paraglider, pilots are required to be licensed, receive specialist training and to maintain their rating each year.
The paraglider pilots are able to stay aloft by riding rising currents of air – sometimes to the base of clouds and sometimes even higher around three kilometres off the ground.
The skill requires pilots to be able to identify the location of the rising currents (thermals) by looking for clues on the ground and in the air.
The Wedge-tailed eagle is a great indicator of thermals, but if they become angry they can present a threat to integrity of the aircraft.
During the Wings out West competition, each day’s task could take the pilots anywhere within a 100km radius of Trundle; depending on the weather conditions on the day.
The central west of NSW is a popular location for cross country flying with the flatlands around Trundle offering some interesting challenges.
The navigation tasks take them to designated GPS turn points and will require the pilots to generally fly for three to four hours and cover up to 50-100 kilometres.
Pilots score points for being the fastest to the designated GPS goal mark.
The Wings out West competition will run over five days with the pilot with the most points crowned the 2018 champion.
Paragliding is a growing adventure sport around the world and, as with many sports, Australia punches above its weight in International competition.
At the recent World Championships, the Australian team place 5th, well above their ranking of 14th.
Some of the Australian team are competing at Wings out West but the competition will also attract pilots of all standards.
While in Trundle the Wings out West participants are looking forward to being part of the local community.
Trundle has always been a welcoming place for paraglider pilots who drop in during their flying adventures in the area.
Mr Greg Quade has generously provided his paddocks as a tow launch location and the local progress association has been providing assistance to the Wings out West organisers.
There is an open invitation to the local community to join the mid-competition bush dance/supper on Sunday night, March 11, from 7:30pm at the Trundle Showground.
For more information on the Bush Dance please contact Jen Kelly on 0417 697 770.
For more information on the Wings out West Paragliding competition please contact the Wings out West Organiser, John Brassil on 0419 285 802.