Australian National Site Guide - West Inland

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Victoria - West Inland - 13 sites

Map of West Inland sites
Name Location Type Conditions Rating Height
Ben More Near Beaufort, 140km W of Melbourne. Inland Ridge SW PG2 / HG Supervised 1000'/300m agl, 2050'/625m amsl
Ben Nevis Near Beaufort, 140km W of Melbourne. Inland Mountain W, NW PG4 / HG Intermediate 1350' / 410m agl, 2400' / 730m amsl
Birchip Tow Paddock 280km NW of Melbourne. Flatlands All - 280'/ 85m asl
Cave Hill Near Beaufort, 140 km west of Melbourne. Inland Mountain W, WSW Experienced Intermediate - HG only 1200' / 360m agl, 3182' / 970m amsl
Colliers Gap Near Beaufort, 140 km west of Melbourne. Inland Mountain N to NE Advanced - HG only 1100' / 335m agl, 2297' / 700m amsl
Gordon Near Ballarat, 100km W of Melbourne. Inland Hill S, SE PG2 / HG Supervised (PG4 / HG Intermediate?) 1330'/ 400m agl, 2200'/670m amsl
Mt Buangor Near Beaufort, 140km west of Melbourne. Inland Mountain S, SSW Advanced, HG only 1850' / 560m agl, 3182' / 970m amsl
Mt Buninyong Near Ballarat, 100km W of Melbourne. Inland hill E -ESE PG5 / HG Advanced 600'/ 180m agl
Mt Hollowback Near Ballarat, 100km W of Melbourne. Inland hill N and W PG2 / HG Supervised 300'/ 90m agl, 1800' / 545m asl
Mt Lonarch Near Ballarat, 100km W of Melbourne. Inland Mountain E or light NE PG4 / HG Intermediate with minimum Int. Glider 1350' / 410m agl, 2559' / 780m amsl
Mt Sugarloaf Near Beaufort, 140km W of Melbourne. Inland Mountain N PG4 / HG Intermediate 1250' / 380m agl, 2300' / 700m amsl
Mt Tarrengower Near Maldon, 120km NW of Melbourne. Inland hill W-WNW HG Advanced; PG5 250m agl, 1739' / 530m amsl
Werribee Gorge Near Bacchus Marsh, 40km NW of Melbourne. Inland - Side of Gorge N, NE PG5 / HG Advanced 500' / 150m above valley floor, 918' / 280m amsl
Victoria - West Inland

Ben More

Large inland ridge.

Takeoff

Grassy, treeless slope.

Map information

map
Victoria - West Inland

Ben Nevis

Large sheer mountain with clear takeoff and landing paddock below launch. IMPORTANT: Do not land in "No landing zone" South and East of Feud road. See area marked red on map below.

Takeoff

Take off is a large granite outcrop, just below the summit and facing directly west. Although there is a sheer vertical drop of some 500' or more, the outcrop has a rounded edge at the top, minimising rotor and making good, clean takeoffs a fairly simple matter

Landing

The non cross country pilot or the unlucky will find room to land in front of take off on the north side of Feud Road. Do not land to the south or east of Feud Road. This was formerly a landing area, but landing there is now prohibited. See map. Alternatively, with only a thousand above, or thereabouts, the Warrak bomb out area is within reach. If landing at Warrak be sure to land well downwind of any trees and please avoid flying over the deer pens immediately west of the paddock behind the owners house.

Flight

The surrounding area possesses excellent thermal generating characteristics, with terrain ranging from tree covered earth to bare granite. Many thermals cook up on the flat ground out in front and are carried by the drift to the mountain. A good day will see the whole area providing lift. Ridge soaring is also possible in a moderate Westerly or North Westerly.

Cross country flights regular occur from this location. Almost every season now sees pilots flying in excess of 100km. Flights south to the coast and east to Ballarat are common.

Hazards/Comments

The main hazard is a power line servicing a lookout tower at the top of the mountain. It is a single line, supported only at the ends, running from top to bottom and is sufficiently far away from the mountainside to make hitting it a real possibility. Any pilot flying to the right of takeoff and below the top should know exactly where he is in relation to this line at all times. Orange marker balls are fitted but not that easy to see.

Map information

map
Victoria - West Inland

Birchip Tow Paddock

Large flat dusty paddocks, unless it has rained (in which case they are muddy!).

Flight

Site of the famous Flatter Than The Flatlands competition held Easter each year. Flights up to 285km have been achieved here. A 'regular' flight in the tens of km can be expected.

Hazards/Comments

If never having flown here before, please contact Warwick Duncan to learn the drill.
Victoria - West Inland

Cave Hill

Inland rock face slopes down at 30 deg leading to a 3-4m drop into wooded area overlooking upper end of Middle Creek valley. Set up area is very rocky, sloping and limited to about 8 gliders in area.

The National Parks Act 1975, Part 1, 4(a)(iii)provides for the use and enjoyment of those parks by the public for inspiration, solitude and appropriate self-reliant recreation.

This site is managed by Parks Victoria under the National Parks Act 1975. This site has been temporarily prohibited for use by Parks Victoria. Should you choose to launch from this site you may be in breach of the National Parks (Park) regulations 2003, Part 2, section 44(2) "A person must not, in a Park- (a) launch or land an aircraft."

Restrictions:Flying prohibited on Total Fire Ban days. Paragliding is not possible from this launch.

Takeoff

Take off is from rock face. Committed run is required. Slope is steeper than most launches.

Landing

Land in paddock to north of Middle Creek camping ground, or go on round Mt. Cole to paddocks south of Mt Cole alongside Ferntree Gully Road.

Flight

Good for days when the wind is a bit south of west for Ben Nevis and not SW enough for Ben More.

Hazards/Comments

Rocks are slippery when wet and hazardous particularly to wiremen, if used. Beware of single power line that runs on the SW side of Ferntree Gully Road.

Map information

map
Victoria - West Inland

Colliers Gap

North facing inland hill. Suitable when wind is between Nevis and Lonarch launching conditions.
Restrictions:Flying prohibited on Total Fire Ban days. Paragliding is not permitted from this launch.

Takeoff

Takeoff is from a tree slot facing north.

Landing

Land in Nevis landing paddock. This is out of sight around to the left of launch. Emergency LZ straight out the front at the top of road running south out of Elmhurst, this may only be used when not in crop (Jan-Aug).

Hazards/Comments

Track is seasonally closed from mid June to 31 October to protect the track. This is a shallow long treed slot and not suitable in nil wind. Watch out for the snake that lives under the launch rock.
Victoria - West Inland

Gordon

Mt Black (Gordon) is a rounded, grassy volcanic hill with an easy open take off and landing. Farm track provides access to the crater and thence to the SE launch, if traction is good. Walk the last 150ft on the south side. On top landings are possible on the south side, but difficult due to a fence on the SE side.

Takeoff

It is generally unnecessary to ask prior permission to fly, however please use common sense. From time to time the access paddock is ploughed for crops and therefore may not be used. Also, several of the landing paddocks may be unusable due to crops.

Landing

Three landing areas are available as indicated on the map:

West paddock – large open paddock with no fences or power lines.

South paddock – just to east of dam. Beware of the diagonal power line that runs across paddock to east of dam.

East paddock – to east of launch. Beware of power line that runs along the fence line that runs east on south side of paddock.

Do not land in the three paddocks directly below the SE takeoff. These were, at one stage a good landing area and excellent training slope, but were lost to us by a thoughtless pilot. Antagonizing the farmer will not help our cause in the local area.

Flight

Both faces provide similarly good soaring prospects in moderate winds. Most Southerlies are unstable and produce good lift (along with sink and turbulence). South Easterly sea breezes often provide smooth ridge soaring in the late afternoon with adequate if a little disappointing height gains.

Hazards/Comments

The surrounding countryside is green and rolling and very picturesque if you get high. Unfortunately this will put you into the flight path of light aircraft flying between Melbourne and Ballarat, keep a good lookout at all times as light aircraft have passed over this hill at less that 200'. Particular care is needed between the hill and the freeway. Be aware of the power line which runs from the road directly to the group of trees below the trig point on the SE side.

Map information

map
Victoria - West Inland

Mt Buangor

The National Parks Act 1975, Part 1, 4(a)(iii)provides for the use and enjoyment of those parks by the public for inspiration, solitude and appropriate self-reliant recreation.

This site is managed by Parks Victoria under the National Parks Act 1975. This site has been temporarily prohibited for use by Parks Victoria. Should you choose to launch from this site you may be in breach of the National Parks (Park) regulations 2003, Part 2, section 44(2) "A person must not, in a Park- (a) launch or land an aircraft."

Site has been flown recently on a limited basis by advanced pilots with knowledge of local conditions.

Restrictions:Paragliding is not permitted from this launch. Flying prohibited on Total Fire Ban days.

Takeoff

The Takeoff is from a ground ramp above the lip which drops almost vertically at first to a gradually decreasing gradient, until finally flattening out almost 2000ft below.

Landing

Large paddocks are at least 3km away. Do not land either in the paddock directly in front of launch or those to the far right. There are paddocks out of view behind the ridge on the left. If there is NO chance of staying up, DO NOT fly here. This site is extremely sensitive. Landing area is to the south (left) around the ridge to a paddock north of the Middle Creek camping ground. The Warrak bomb-out site for Nevis is to the right (west and then north) is also available for landing and is easier when the wind is off to the East.

Flight

Buangor overlooks a heavily forested valley and although there appears to be a landing area directly in front, due to a disgruntled local, no paddocks within bomb-out can be used for landings.

Mr Kevin J Wilde is the owner of the extensive land holdings in the Mt Cole area. Mr Wilde requires pilot do not land on his property.

Hazards/Comments

If you are not familiar with the landing areas then consult a local flyer.
Victoria - West Inland

Mt Buninyong

A prominent volcanic cone with a popular lookout at the summit.

Takeoff

From the road down from the lookout. The road is cut into the side of a steep slope and is between two trees - essentially a cliff launch.

Landing

Good landing areas at the base of the of the mountain but the larger one (across the road) is truncated on one corner by power lines.

Flight

The site produces good ridge and thermal lift in a moderate easterly, but be ready to get low between thermals. Wire assistance is desirable under most conditions but is essential in any sort of crosswind.

Hazards/Comments

Set up in the road cutting and be prepared to shift your glider out of the way if any vehicles want to pass, we do not want anyone to complain about us flying here.
Victoria - West Inland

Mt Hollowback

Mt Hollowback is a grassy, volcanic pimple sticking out of the plains north of Ballarat. It has two microwave towers on the western 'peak' with a good sealed road to the open takeoff areas. Popular with aeromodellers and novice pilots.

Takeoff

North Face

Launch either from below the towers or at the base of the eastern hill for ground skimming flights. It is usually necessary to fly right, across the road to avoid landing in crops below the tower. This presents no difficulties and makes for good STU-NOVICE flights in good winds. Being of gentle slope, the north side is not worth a long trip for soaring pilots. Winds need to be about 18kts for even a meagre height gain and at that stage turbulence is noticeable. Thermals are often available but somewhat unuseable given the high winds needed for ridge soaring.

South And South West Face

Launch is normally from south of the power line. Landing MUST be NORTH of the power line. A single-span power line runs down the northern end of the WSW face, being quite high off the ground at mid-span. Unfortunately the owner of the lower paddocks south of the power line has you lined up in his sights every time you fly. Do not tempt him by landing in his paddock. This side has a better slope and produces good lift in an unstable WSW (bring your raincoat and wellies).

Landing

North landing paddock is large and clear but beware it does slope in places. Usually a very easy landing. South landing paddocks are now available (2014) as per landing paddock map. Ground does slope towards the road. Power line along South of road. Never land in the no landing places indicated on landing paddock map. Good area for top landing but give towers a wide berth and keep cars back near towers to reduce hazards.

Flight

Good soaring available in more than 12 knots, airflow seems to be unaffected by hills in front even when blowing 20 knots. SW and SSE winds can produce areas of wave lift during evening glass-off. XC flights are made in 12 to 18 knots S to SW winds, clear the top by 500ft to avoid sink on lee.

Map information

map
Victoria - West Inland

Mt Lonarch

Large treed mountain ridge.

Takeoff

Steep ground ramp in a wide treed slot.

Landing

Paddock out front, at the corner of Pallets Rd and Mt. Lonarch Rd. Paddocks closer to the hill can be used in an emergency.

Flight

Usually rough thermals especially if the wind is off to the north.

Hazards/Comments

The site was temporarily lost due to stock being scared out of the paddock by gliders. The old LZ is still closed flying. Contact Dynamic Flight or WVHGC committee member for farm manager contact number.

Map information

map
Victoria - West Inland

Mt Sugarloaf

Treed Mountain ridge to the south of Ben Nevis launch an alternative to Nevis in stronger Northerlies.

Takeoff

Takeoff can be seen from Ben Nevis to the left (as shown in picture below) and reveals a corridor through the trees. The ground slopes steeply and is rough.

Landing

Landing zone is the same as Ben Nevis. Do not land to the south or east of Feud Road. This was formerly a landing area, but landing there is now prohibited. See map. Alternately over the back at Warrak or off to the left at the paddocks at the end of the Sugarloaf track.

Flight

As this launch is used when a northerly wind is to strong to launch at Nevis, you find that the flying beat is quite short and can be turbulent if there is any hint of east in the wind direction.

Hazards/Comments

Beware of the possibility of rotor near the trees on launch (this site has claimed a few gliders) an good launch run is paramount keeping on good speed until you are past the trees and through the surge of lift.

Map information

map
Victoria - West Inland

Mt Tarrengower

Takes a W to WNW, even NW if light, but NW starts generating rotor from the hill off to the NW. North is definitely dangerous. The landing will be leeside of the hill in NW-erlies and beyond. WSW should be possible with sun on the face. Is often not on. Mostly even with a west forecast, some local effect seems to make the wind come from more SW direction (quite crossed from the left), so a NW forecast may work better. The sealed road top to bottom is 5-10 minutes tops - there is a little gravel section from the main road to the landing area.

Takeoff

Slot launch. No problem for HG but for PG the following paragraph applies:

PG launch considerations

For PG, the takeoff is quite tricky as far as deployment, launch and conditions assessment. The area for laying out the glider and deploying is rather short, and also has trees quite close on both sides. The highest aspect designs of today may not even fit - if launching a higher aspect glider expect the wingtips to brush the trees surrounding the slot. At the end of the short runnable deployment area, the ground becomes quite rocky (as in, ankle breaking roughness) and suddenly drops steeply for a few meters, before flattening out to the rather flat glide angle out to the bombout. The takeoff run is very short, so nil wind launching leaves very little time to check the glider. The width of the slot is the main issue.

There is a photo of launch here.

Landing

The landing area is big and very easy, a big open paddock on the other side of Mt Back Road. The landowner is friendly and cooperative.

Flight

In good conditions, glide out is apparently easy on single-surface HG and modern paragliders. Bombout is straight out from launch though, so with a wind blowing in the correct direction for launching, this is headwind. In non-ideal conditions, you may find yourself low. The glide angle is similar to Mt Broughton, but with a much smaller top to bottom of about 200m vertical, so one sink cycle has you immediately contemplating "emergency bombouts", which are a couple of sketchy little clearings among the trees either in front or to the left and below launch.

A low ridge a little to the right can give some minor rotor (but also thermal lift).

Victoria - West Inland

Werribee Gorge

Werribee Gorge is renowned for two things - never being on, and being very rough. Most people do not go to the Gorge unless it is really lousy elsewhere, so it is usually lousy at the Gorge too.

The ridge is used extensively by sailplanes from the Bacchus Marsh Gliding Club whenever a brisk Northerly is blowing. Thermals cook up from the sheltered valley.

The site overlooks the flood plains of the Werribee river, but is unfortunately downwind of several rather rough looking hills on the other side, hence the rough air, which has to go down before it gets a chance to go up.

Takeoff

To get to takeoff drive in to the Rifle range. Launch in the Paddock to the east of the clubhouse.

Landing

Landing on top is OK, but NOT downwind of the road behind the railway.

Flight

Werribee Gorge is best flown early in the morning, on days when the forecast is Northerly, increasing to 10 - 15kts. You should launch no later than 11.00am, because at lunchtime the Green breeze sets in. The Green Breeze is a pseudo sea breeze from the SW generated by extensive treed areas. The wind will switch to SW in the space of 10 minutes, to a strength of up to 15kts. Best flights are acheived in a firm NE with lots of Cu.

In a N, NNE getting away will see you travelling down the Bachus Marsh - Geelong Rd. You can follow the eastern edge of the Brisbane ranges all the way to Geelong.

Hazards/Comments

The site should not be flown in winds greater than 10 - 15kts. 10kts is perfect, if from due north. If the wind has any West in it whatsoever, don't even bother to set up. DO NOT fly downwind of the "lump" hill to the right. Sink City! Watch out for fierce wind gradients in the ample on top landing area behind takeoff, and power lines and fences below. The landing area at the bottom is very small, and it is a good idea to check with fliers who know the site as to which paddock you are allowed to land in. Do not forget, you will be landing in the lee of a very large hill, so expect still air at the best, or extreme turbulence at the worst. If the rifle club is operating, and it usually is on weekends, stay away from the Western end of the ridge!