IF YOU are looking for a creative way to beat the heat this month, you could do worse than to soar thousands of feet above Cootamundra.
Up to 40 members of the Southern Cross Gliding Club will be doing just that in town until January 18, and whilst flying is the main attraction, the cooler temperatures up high are certainly a welcome bonus.
“We love to come here for the wide open spaces, as well as the hospitable town,” club member Steve Bourke said.
“We will fly every day we can, and if there’s bad weather one day then we’ll go to the [Temora] Aviation Museum,” he laughed.
This is Mr Bourke’s fourth trip to Cootamundra and he said the strong thermals help pilots climb to good heights, which had helped him reach a new milestone last week.
In a trip that took him from Cootamundra to Ardlethan, then Junee, then Forbes and finally back here, Mr Bourke’s journey spanned 500km over six-and-a-half hours.
The next milestone for Mr Bourke is to climb 5000m above his release height, which is generally already 2-3000ft up.
Even without milestones to aim for though, members of the Camden-based club enjoy the change of scenery, as well as the unique challenges and opportunities of our region.
The good news for locals is members also offer joy flights in the club’s dual seat DG-1000 glider, and for a discounted price.
Club member Steve Andrews is quick to point out the benefits of the German-built fibreglass and kevlar aircraft, which boasts a 20m wingspan.
“On the ground it weighs 600kg but in the air it’s light as a feather,” Mr Andrews said.
Passengers in the aircraft will also be given the opportunity to take the controls and see how it handles once airborne.
Flights cost $120, as well as a $30 fee for a nine-day Gliding Federation of Australia membership, and can last anywhere from 20 minutes to an hour depending on weather conditions.
Those who wish to give it a go should contact Rod Ferrier on 0413 610 334.