AIRBORNE CHESS: Dalby's Big Air event will be gliding into the Western Downs in September. Picture: Contributed
AIRBORNE CHESS: Dalby's Big Air event will be gliding into the Western Downs in September. Picture: Contributed

Why Dalby skies will be filled with aircraft this weekend

ADRENALINE athletes will be taking part in an airborne game of chess over the skies of Dalby this weekend.

The Dalby Big Air competition will be flying across the Westerns Downs from September 20–26, hosting pilots from across Queensland.

Running for more than 20 years, Australia’s premier Aerotow competition usually hosts upwards of 90 Australian and international gliders each year.

Coronavirus restrictions have hindered this year’s numbers, however organiser Bruce Crerar said it’ll still be an unbelievable week in the clouds.

“This competition has been one of Australia’s biggest for the last five years, with some of our worst years hosting up to 70 competitors, which is still quite a few,” he said.

“It’s gone very well in its 20 years, because for us old fellas, it’s about spending time with your mates in the sky.”

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Mr Crerar compared hang gliding to a game of chess, saying it’s not about the altitude, but about reading the conditions, and being at one with the environment.

“Hang gliding is an obsession for us, and people ask if we’re scared up there, but we love it,” he said.

“There’s a public perception in most adrenaline sports that it’s about bravado, but no one who takes part in the Dalby competition is like that.

“We see it as a week away flying with our mates.”

Mr Crerar wanted to promote the sport to the younger generation, endeavouring to attract kids to have more fun in the “air space” than cyber space.

Eager hang gliding fans can catch the competitors taking off at Dalby Airport each day from September 20–26 from 11am to 1pm.

After that, all they need to do is look 2000ft in the sky to find the gliders.

Mr Crerar said he’d like to thank the Western Downs Regional Council and commercial operators for their help each year in running the event.


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