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Ready to fly
Ready to fly
Flying over Byron

Byron hang gliding

Thursday, March 11, 2004
Natalie is fulfilling a lifelong dream when she flies like a bird in beautiful Byron.

Hang gliding appeared in Australia in 1963, with kites being towed behind boats. It was pretty much invented by John Dickenson, an Australian engineer. He first built a kite based on a NASA Gemini space capsule recovery wing. It had all the basic features of today's wings, including the triangular control bar. Australian kite flyers took his design to the rest of the world and recreational hang gliding began to boom.

Today's hang gliders are far more sophisticated than their predecessors. They are carefully designed, safe aircraft. Pilots also understand the air and its currents better today than ever before.

Ashley Wilmott operates Seabreeze Hang Gliding out of Cape Byron. He took up hang gliding as a teenager in the 1970s. He believes the secret is a passion for outdoor pursuits, to be relaxed, comfortable and go with the flow. During tandem flights, you can reach heights of 150-250 metres.

Anyone over 14 can legally fly a hang glider. Some fly well into their 70s, so age is no barrier.

Pilots are required to qualify through an accredited flying school, where they are taught the basics of ground-handling, launching, flying and landing. They must also pass a theory exam.

Gliders are advised to dress in something light and comfortable. Most people are comfortable in a T-shirt. Ashley says it is surprisingly warm up there. For those who feel the cold easily, a light windcheater is a good idea.

Location

The north coast of New South Wales

Cost

Seabreeze Hang Gliding costs $145 for a half-hour tandem flight. They run year round.
Please note prices are valid at time of filming.

More information

Seabreeze Hang Gliding
Byron Bay 2481
Ph: (02) 6685 3615
Mob: 0428 560 248
awilmott@bigpond.net.au

Qantas: 13 13 13

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