Hiking slowly up the steep ridge at Beechmont through the dense, steamy rainforest, lugging my 20kg pack I had plenty of time to ponder why I was here. I had watched pilots struggling to maintain lift under overcast skies and waited to launch until the sun came out. Took off into a nice cycle directly into lift but then decided to follow the four other pilots that had taken off just before me instead of staying in the lift I was in. Why? I have no idea.

Beechmont is not very forgiving of mistakes on a tough day and I…

The Town of 1770 is a tiny coastal village north of Bundaberg with a beautiful sandy bay. One of the biggest attractions is the option to take a boat out to the southern most part of the barrier reef. It’s been our favourite family holiday spot for years.

There are some great spots for coastal flying with incredible views here. This is a guide for others that might be interested in flying there. These sites require sound site assessment, ground handling and flying skills so they’re not suitable for beginners. But for a pilot with the required skills, the flying…

I’ve been demoing various C wings recently while waiting for my Maestro XAlps to be repaired (another story!). I had some really good flights on the amazing Alpina 3 and the fantastic Flow Fusion Light but what I was really looking forward to flying is the new C wing from Phi, the Allegro. Having flown its siblings the Maestro and the lighter Maestro XAlps over the last year (about 50hrs each), I was very curious about how they compared. The Allegro has a modest aspect ratio of 6.03 (vs Maestro’s 5.56) …

After a few weeks of soggy weather in the Gold Coast hinterland, the forecast for Sunday looked promising for a flight from Beechmont. We arrived at Beechy to see blue skies with a few small clouds starting to pop above the mountains to the south. Even better than forecast!

After a few small climbs, I caught a nice thermal with Rowan, a hangie and a couple of other wings to 1300m. Unfortunately Rowan and I got separated and decided to reorganise for the next thermal. That didn’t work out well and Rowan flew off on his own as I slowly…

Chasing ‘epic’ in Manilla

The biggest Paragliding State of Origin (SoO) event in history was over and red Manilla dust had penetrated every every nook and cranny of our tents, cars and nostrils. The SoO had offered some great flights but a few keen members of Team 4Q (Quirky Queenslanders of Questionable Quality) had stayed behind chasing that elusive ‘epic’ flight.

With a panoramic backdrop of The Mountain, we’d flip through weather forecasting websites every morning and make plans for the day. Plans that would go out the window as soon as we launched.

The forecast for today showed strong wind from the west…

NOTE: I was half way through writing this when Ziad Bassil (Dust Of The Universe) published his review of the Maestro. I decided not to read it until I’d finished written down my impressions of the wing. It’ll be interesting to read what he thinks of the same wing. http://ziadbassil.blogspot.com/2019/03/phi-maestro-wish-maker.html

TLDR; watch the video

Some video clips from the flight

I’m a circa 200hr pilot with a 55/45 coastal/inland flying mix. My inland flights have been almost exclusively on a Gradient Golden 4 and the last 45 coastal hours have been on a Gradient Freestyle 3. My Golden has been…

So you want to fly hundred km XCs but look like this guy and have no chance of hitch hiking:

What you need is a live tracker that allows others to track you while you’re flying and retrieve you when you land. An app on your phone sends your GPS coordinates to the tracking website while you’re flying and your retrieve buddy uses the website to see where you are.

Setup on iPhone

1. Create a free account at https://skylines.aero

2. Download FlySkyHy app from the Apple App Store.

3. Configure FlySkyHy with tracking key provided by Skylines to send your live location…

Pilots on the Mt Borah West Launch charming their wings to life. Photo: Tex

I stood at launch looking out over the vast plains to the west of Mt Borah. In the blue skies above, the bright sun beat down on the patchwork of fields baking them with a promise of thermals that would lift me skyward. In the distance, a few clouds marked the spots where warm, rising air had condensed. It was the first day of the 2018 Paragliding State of Origin competition. Over a 150 pilots had traveled to Manilla from far away places only to fly as far away from Manilla as possible.

As we progress in any sport, it’s easy to get jaded and forget how exciting the first steps were. I wrote this to remind my future self of the joy of first flight while it’s still fresh in my mind. I hope you enjoy it.

We were driving along a winding road hugging the ocean north of Cairns, when I saw a small group launching paragliders from a cliff. They’d raise the fabric glider overhead, take a few steps and get carried into the sky, lofted up by the gentle sea breeze rushing up the cliff face. Watching the sky full of these colourful gliders as they floated effortlessly along the cliffs, I knew I had to join them.

Fast forward a few years and I found myself heading up to Noosa to train with Jonny and Shane on the Sunshine Coast. The first day…

Hammed Malik

Adventure addict

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store