Weather grounds flight competition

By Southern Riverina News

Rain on Friday and thick fog on Sunday grounded competitors on the 41st League of Silent Flight Australia Tournament in Jerilderie at the weekend.

The weather meant the planned five days of flying was reduced to three.

The tournament was extended to five days on the back of a temporary extension last year, allowing two days of electric glider competition and the traditional three day open thermal glider competition.

LSF president Michael O’Reilly said despite the weather setback, the weekend was enjoyed by 60 competitors and other spectators.

And he said visiting competitors were pleased with the usual friendly welcome.

‘‘It’s a good event for the town and we’ve always had the full support of council,’’ Mr O’Reilly said.

‘‘Our members come from Adelaide, Sydney and Melbourne and when it was started 41 years ago they needed to find somewhere central; Jerilderie was the place.

‘‘Many of the gliders know each other and fly all over the world, so there’s plenty of in house rivalries.’’

Competitors pilot, by remote control, gliders that are made from composite carbon fibre.

Each has an average wing span of 3.7 metre wing and weighs about 2kg.

‘‘The competitors start by launching their glider with a winch about 200 metres away,’’ Mr O’Reilly said.

‘‘Once it’s up in the air, they must keep it up there for 10 minutes and then land the glider in a marked, designated spot.

‘‘It’s all about precision and perfect timing.’’

Providing catering for competitors and spectators throughout the competition was Jerilderie Lions Club.

Results were not available at the time of going to print yesterday.