Mt Borah Flying History
In the aboriginal language “Borah“ was a meeting place. The local Manellae tribe probably used Mt Borah for this purpose for many thousands of years enjoying the awesome views over the wide western plains. A pair of friendly Wedge Tailled Eagles (Aquilla Audax) also make Mt Borah their home and can often be seen ridge soaring and thermalling with their human friends.
Nowdays free flyers from around the world meet at Mt Borah to fly the Big Sky Country of NSW. Whether its chasing personal best XC distances, some classic ridge soaring or just simply hanging around the clouds, Mt Borah offers all year round flying for everyone.
The site is also the home of Australia's premier and internationally famous flying school - Manilla Paragliding - run by site owner and CFI Godfrey Wenness. Over 2000 people have learnt to fly paragliders at Mt Borah since 1995 !
Manilla's Mt Borah (880mASL) has been a flying site since the early 1990's when a few Tamworth local and Newcastle/North Coast Hang Glider pilots established some small cut out HG launches on the West, South and East faces. Godfrey Wenness purchased the property “The Mountain” in 1994 and, with additional land in 2005, it now contains all of the private lands associated with Mt Borah. The west escarpment/slope of the Baldwin Ranges (of which Mt Borah is a part) is Dept of Land and Water Conservation “Crown Land“ which the Manilla SkySailors Club has an access license to allow vehicular travel from the top to the west LZ and also back to the east-side via the saddle track.
During the 1990's, in addition to 16kms of access roads being built, a new North launch was added and the existing launches were expanded to cater for more pilots, large events and easy top landings. In 2004 three UL runways were completed at Godfrey's house to cater for those who often flew in. Launch and facility improvements worth A$392,000.00 including major road works were completed in time for the 2007 10th FAI Paragliding World Championships event. This included artificial grass on all 4 launches - in total over 17,000sqm was laid and pegged down !
The only costs for pilots to fly Mt Borah over the years has been the local club annual site fee which goes 100% towards maintaining the Mt Borah site.
Since 1994 Manilla has hosted over 40 international level paragliding events organised by Godfrey Wenness, 28 NSW State Hang Gliding Championships organised by Newcastle HG Club. There are also many annual fly-in's and competitions including the internationally famous Manilla XC Camp (previously part of the XC Open World Series) in January, and the Easter-time PG State of Origin, both attract over 200 pilots and are the largest paragliding events in Australia.
Since 2011 Mt Borah has become the host of a fast growing Radio Control Glider festival called Manilla Slope Fest. Numbers for the annual September event now exceed 100 RC Pilots!
Non flying related, but still fast paced, the local North West Mountain Bike Club also has built numerous downhill, flow and enduro tracks at Mt Borah and also hosts a round of the State Championships as well as regular club ride weekends. There is also regular 4WD extreme challenge which is part of the ARB National Extreme 4X4 Series.
Over the years many paragliding records (National and World) have been flown from Mt Borah, not to mention hundreds of personal bests every season. Hang Gliders have also flown 300kms flights open distance and triangles. Below is a list of the major Paragliding milestones :
Paragliding Records from Mt Borah :
24/11/97- 1/2/98 Aust National Record Open Dist : 215kms, Godfrey Wenness, Advance Omega 4
1/02/98 - 16/11/98 Aust National Record Open Dist : 235kms, Godfrey Wenness, Advance Omega 4
16/11/98 - 28/6/02 FAI World Record Open Distance : 335kms, Godfrey Wenness, Advance Omega 4
5/12/99 - 2/5/06 World Record 50km FAI speed triangle : Enda Murphy, Advance Omega 4R
10/01/00 - 1/11/03 Tandem Open Distance : Longest Flight in the World - FAI observer : 223kms Godfrey Wenness/Suzi Smith, Advance BiBeta2 proto
5/03/02 - 6/3/02 Aust Declared Goal Distance : 151kms, Godfrey Wenness, Advance Omega 5R
6/03/02 - 13/1/03 Aust Declared Goal Distance and Official FAI Competition Worlds Longest Task : 161kms, Godfrey Wenness, Advance Omega 5R
13/01/03 - Aust Declared Goal Distance Record : 245kms, Godfrey Wenness, Advance Omega 6 Proto
9/01/05 - ?? Australian National Womens Open Distance Record : 178kms, Michelle Baptist (Belgium), Advance Omega 6