CORRYONG CUP: Oh, hang on, we’ll go grab a beer instead

Pilot Rory Duncan conducts some pre-flight checks at Corryong. He didn’t fly yesterday as the wind picked up too soon. Pictures: PETER MERKESTEYN
Pilot Rory Duncan conducts some pre-flight checks at Corryong. He didn’t fly yesterday as the wind picked up too soon. Pictures: PETER MERKESTEYN

STRONG winds cancelled the first day of the Corryong Cup hang-gliding competition yesterday.

Disappointed pilots found ways to keep themselves entertained as they hoped for better conditions today.

Pilot Rory Duncan, 20, lying in a hammock drinking beer, was naturally disappointed.

“Hopefully this is the only day we have to sit around and camp,” he said.

The Newcastle resident has been hang-gliding for the past four years.

“When you are up there you don’t think about anything, you are in your own world,” he said.

“It can be relaxing and there’s also an adrenaline rush that comes with it.”

Pilots, as they’re called in hang-gliding, fly over Mount Elliot and across alpine country as part of the competition.

Winners are judged on how long it takes them to get to a landing point.

Competition director Dustan Hansen said winds were around 30 knots, about 55km/h.

“Some pilots chose to fly for fun, but there was no competition,” he said.

“Safety is our top priority and it’s just not safe at that speed.

“You’ve got a mix of very good pilots and very new pilots, so you have to be mindful of that.

“We still have seven more potential competition days.

“Obviously we are dictated by the weather and it’s blowing a dog off a chain today.”

Mr Hansen said online entry tickets for the event sold out in 27 minutes.

“We sold 75 spaces in 27 minutes, that’s how popular it is,” Mr Hansen said.

Hosted by the Newcastle Hang Gliding Club, pilots from all over Australia compete.

“The forecast is for less wind, so hopefully that is the case,” Mr Hansen said.

Nils Vesk, of Sydney, was waiting for the right moment to make his run to start his flight.

Nils Vesk, of Sydney, was waiting for the right moment to make his run to start his flight.

 Andy Schmidt, of Mildura, took off in high winds.

Andy Schmidt, of Mildura, took off in high winds.

Curtis Greenwood, of Mwlbourne.

Curtis Greenwood, of Mwlbourne.

Scott Barrett, of Newcastle.

Scott Barrett, of Newcastle.

Curtis Greenwood, of Melbourne.

Curtis Greenwood, of Melbourne.

Many visitors hoped to fly but were forced to pack up their gear instead.

Many visitors hoped to fly but were forced to pack up their gear instead.

Rory Duncan submitted this photo of himself flying elsewhere throughout the past year.

Rory Duncan submitted this photo of himself flying elsewhere throughout the past year.

Rory Duncan submitted this photo of himself flying elsewhere throughout the past year.

Rory Duncan submitted this photo of himself flying elsewhere throughout the past year.