New South Wales > South Coast
Stanwell Park - Bald Hill
|PG4 / HG Intermediate
WCC (Wollongong City Council) & Licensed to Flystanwell Inc.
One of the world's great coastal sites. Best when it's between S and E at 10-20kn for hang gliders and 5-15kn for paragliders. The Bureau Of Meteorology's Bellambi observations give you a good idea of what the conditions will be like.
Please check the Stanwell general site rules document.
Webcam and weather here.
All flyers must be current financial members of both the SAFA and the Stanwell Park Hang Gliding & Paragliding Club. A 3 Day Membership is $10.
Markers must be placed to designate intended Landing areas before any flying is undertaken. Markers (cones) are kept in the store in the new lower toilet block. The key can be obtained from the kiosk in the park and will be provided to Club members on request. If there are no markers in place you may not fly this site.
The Point is the main launch area of Bald Hill. Top landing is NOT allowed in this area. Once pilots have launched from the hill they are to fly clear of this area. A No Fly Zone is depicted by the striped area within the photo. Hang-glider and paraglider pilots must not fly over the No Fly Zone at any altitude. This means no flying over the top of the hill. Pilots may fly behind the hill but may not cross over the Point to do so, nor can they cross over the Point to come from the back to rejoin the seaward lift. All pilots are requested to respect this No Fly Zone rule.
Pilots are requested to land in the area adjacent to the lagoon known as 'the chute' or the coned off landing area on the beach.
An alternate landing area is located at the south end of the beach if landing in the regular designated area is inappropriate/unavailable. Pilots are requested not to land in the shaded area but paraglider pilots may collapse their canopy on this area.
The white lines show the usual approach routes to the landing areas.
South Face Top Landing
Pilots intending to top land here should ensure that site markers are in place and that the duty pilot has opened the area for top landing on the day. Only suitably endorsed pilots may attempt top landings. See safety officer for details.
East Face Top Landing
Shaded areas designate the No Fly Zone.
Pilots may not fly over this area of the hill at ANY altitude. Pilots are asked to fly only in front of the Hill or behind the Hill. Do Not Fly Directly Over the Hill. This is a regulation requested from Wollongong Council to assist in the deterrent of any mid air collisions affecting the spectators below
Set-up is pretty easy in front of the car park at Bald Hill (Remember there must be cones marking out the set-up area) but it can get a bit crowded at times. Make yourself known to the Safety officer on duty. If you're not a member of the club you must obtain a temporary membership before you fly. If you are not an SAFA member (e.g. you're from overseas) and want to fly the site then get temporary SAFA membership before coming to the site.
Once in the air on a good day you can cruise up and down the coast from Garie down past Bulli. But you should know the limitations of the conditions and your glider. There are areas where you can land in an emergency but there are also rocks, trees and the sea waiting for you. Talk to the local pilots and keep a close eye on the weather conditions, they can change very quickly and ruin your whole day! Do not land in the sea - ever! If you do then you're pretty much **ed.
The main landing area is down on the Stanwell Park beach. It's not particularly difficult but it's surprising how many visiting pilots stuff it up. If the wind is strong and from the S or the E/NE watch for rotor coming off the spurs to the N and S of the 'chute'. The most significant danger is the close proximity of the public using the beach. The landing area has to be marked with cones/flags but people commonly stray into it, so watch out and make your approach with this in mind. Top landing is common for the paragliders and possible for hang gliders when conditions are suitable. You must be suitably endorsed for this.
All pilots note: The launch sites near to the pie shop in the National Park are reserved for aero-model flyers and are off limits for all FlyStanwell pilots. Also please give these areas a wide berth when flying past.
There you have it. On a good day it's an awesome place to fly. So what are you waiting for!
Hazards / Comments
Especially prevalent during the winter months, Katabatic winds occur right along the escarpment commencing from the deep south near Bellambi and extending north towards Bald Hill. Their occurrence is indicated by smooth water or glass-off along the waterline and on the lagoons in the landing areas.
It is hard to imagine that a 20 knot S/E will be stopped in its tracks as this quiet unassuming but effective meteorological factor works it's way through.
So keep and eye on the shadow as it makes it way across the landing area.
Those that understand the demon and know their abilities can be seen making their approach from the ocean towards the park. For those yet to experience or experienced enough to pick or predict the katabatic factor, the most conservative and percentage approach is to fly straight down the beach.
Sometimes these diametrically opposing winds can provide some quiet smooth lift in the form of convergence. But be prepared for the spin and rinse cycle as you descend and fly through the mixing layer.