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Manilla SkySailor's soaring with recycled launch pad surface


One person's trash is another's treasure according to Godfrey Wenness President of the Manilla SkySailors Club, after successfully installing recycled hockey field surfaces on their paragliding launch pad at Mt Borah, near Manilla.


After recently reneweing the surfaces at Tamworth Hockey Club, the local council distributed the old surfaces to various sporting associations in the region who could reuse the surface instead of dummping it in land fill.


The area on top of Mt Borah is dry and rocky, and not ideal for a paraliging take off without the significant works put in by the paragliding club.


Mr Wenness said pilots need a surface put on top of the ground to make it safe for takeoff.


"The hockey field surface is the best style of surface that we can use becuase it's got a rubber backing on it," Mr wenness said, "It ends up behing quite heavey, like a shock pad, and those surfaces are also easy to pin down and they don't tear up."


The team of volunteer and paid contractors have used 3,500 reinforcement staples to drill the surface to the mountain side.


This isnt the first time the SkySailors have recyled surfaces from hockey fields.


Fifteen years ago the club recieved a similar roll of surface when they were prepairing for the World Championships.


"In 2005 we received rolls of surface from Tamworth Hockey and we said if you ever get any more give us a call," Mr Wenness said.

The donation of recycled surfaces comes at a great time considering the SkySailors Club are facing a massive shortfall in income due to COVID-19 related travel restrictions.

More than two thirds of people coming to fly from Mt Borah are international travellers according to Mr Wenness.


"This year is going to be a very quiet one for us unfortunately," Mr Wenness said.


"We received some grants for the World Championships in 2007, but otherwise our income is mostly from memberships, and this year we are going to loose two thirds of that income."


"Maintenance on a mountain side never stops," Mr Weness said, "I guess the silver linning is it will give us an opportunity to do work on the launches and roads without there being high activity."


This weekend there will be several hundred pilots from around NSW coming to Mt Borah, enjoying the updated launch pad and trying to fly their personal best distances.

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