For those who want flatlands without the hassle of towing, the Manilla area is unique. There are two launch hills that provide a take-off for virtually any wind direction.
Mount Borah has four well established large launches facing North, East, South, and West. Launch height ranges between 820m and 880m (2500ft and 2700ft) AMSL. The landing zones at the bottom of the hill are at 400m - 450m (1200ft -1350ft). Most of Mt Borah is owned by local Paragliding Instructor (and PG Open Distance World record holder 98-02), Godfrey Wenness. Thanks to the support of him, our club and the NSW HG&PG Association there is now good (although unsealed) road to the top of the hill. A diesel engine powered four-wheel drive vehicle is required to negotiate the direct road to the west landing zone. Manilla Paragliding school can arrange a shuttle service from their HQ at the bottom of the hill.
Mount Borah is 15km North of Manilla along the Wimbourne Rd. Drive over the big Namoi River bridge, turn left after 200m on to the Boggabri Rd, drive 1km, turn right at the Mt Borah sign with coloured streamers, after 11kms you will be at the base of Mt Borah. The road up the mountain is closed when wet ! See the Mt Borah map for more detailed information.
Red Jack Mountain has three good launches in North, East and West direction. This hill is not used rarely these days, due to the improved road and launches on Mount Borah. During competitions (congestions on Mt Borah) or in strong West wind conditions, this site can provide a viable alternative. Launch height is 900m (2700ft) AMSL, and the landing zones are at 450m (West) and 500m (East) respectively (1350ft / 1500ft). A four wheel drive vehicle is required to negotiate the steep track up this hill. Cars can be driven to the start of the access track past Dunmore station, approximately 35km East of Manilla. You MUST contact the local club members before flying at this site.
There are flatlands right in front of the Mt Borah site. This area of Northwest NSW is perfect for cross country (XC) flying in that there are some small hills and ridges dotted in amongst the flatlands. This makes for reliable thermal triggers, easier navigation on big XC flights and virtually no problems with lee side. The countryside is also well covered by UHF CB repeaters providing excellent radio coverage. There are hundreds of hills that could be used for launch sites in this Mid North Western part of NSW but, because here in Australia we only have approximately 1 pilot flying for every 10,000 sq/km, most will never be tried.
There are no peculiarities about either site other than to land in the designated bomb out areas directly infront of launch (refer to the site guides on launch) and to avoid flying in the middle of the day during summer if you are inexperienced and don't want a rollercoaster ride. Top landing at Mt Borah is possible in the large cleared areas behind the launches, but watch out for the sink cycles. Landings can be made anywhere in the region provided you observe the standard rules of leaving gates as you find them, don't drive off established tracks and avoid landing in cropped fields. Say hello to the farmers if you see them – you never know they might invite you in for a cold beer and then give you a lift to town !