FLYING HIGH: An aircraft towing a hang glider into the skies.
FLYING HIGH: An aircraft towing a hang glider into the skies. Lester Baird

Gliders set to fly over the Dalby sky

BEGINING this weekend the Dalby skies will be filled with some of the best hang gliders the country has to offer.

The Dalby Big Air, is the annual hang gliding competition hosted at the Dalby Hang Gliders Club.

This is the 17th year of the week long event, which will be free to attend for spectators and is held at the Dalby Aero Space Club.

With 60 pilots registered to compete and over 70 aircraft used for competition, President of the Dalby Hang Gliders Club, Bruce Crerar, says the the event is a must watch.

"You will see specially built aircraft's lifting hang gliders into the skies,” Mr Crerar said.

"These men and women will be completing tasks that all up can result them in travelling over 350km in distance.

"We love coming out to the Western Downs because depending on the weather we can have our gliders flying as far a Goondiwindi in the south and can fly over Chinchilla and Miles which means many people will be seeing the event.”

Competitors have a practice day on Saturday, before the first day of competition starts on Sunday.

Pilots are given a series of tasks to complete based on the weather, decided by a committee.

The judges then score each pilot to decide a winner.

The current world number one ranked hang glider, Australian John Durand Jr, will be competing which Mr Crerar says will be a great this for fans.

"John is returning from Brazil where he has just won a big title there,” Mr Crerar said.

"John will be using this competition as a warm up for the world championships that are also in Brazil later this year.”

The Dalby Big Air involves much more of the local community than meets the eye.

The competition requires the co-operation of local farmers and land owners, as landing spots outside of the aero club are needed.

Mr Crerar stated that the relationship between the hang gliding club and the local community is what makes this event possible.

"The support of the council, local land owners and the agricultural operators to allow us to use their properties as potential landing spots allows our event to be possible and we are very thankful to them for that.”

The first competitions will start from 11am on Sunday, with gliders expected to be in the air until 2pm.


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