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Air Experience Flights.
Questions and Answers!

What kinds of flights are available at Mangrove Mountain?

Winch Launched flights and Self Launched Glider (glider with an engine for launching) flights .

We do not have aero tow flights available (ie towed up by a powered aircraft).

How long does a winch launched flight last?

The climb to about 1400ft above ground takes about 40 seconds, a steep climb and a thrilling ride!

The glide time may be from about 4 minutes up to 15 minutes. This depends on the weather, whereby if there are updraughts (thermals) we can stay up for longer. If no thermals, we fly around the airstrip for a few minutes and then set up for the landing back at the airstrip.

If you purchase the "Double Deal" option and the weather is good (ie thermals are present), you can stay up for 30 minutes, or if the frst flight is short, you can have a second flight.

If you purchase the single flight option, you just get the one flight.

How does a glider stay up for a long time?

Without an engine, a glider is always "running down hill" in the air using gravity for speed, just as a car or bicycle does running down a hill to gain speed if free-wheeling. The speed of the wings through the air allows it to fly and be controllable.

To stay up for a long time, we use upgoing air currents. There are several kinds of these. The main ones we can use at Mangrove Mountain  are "Thermals" which are columns of rising air produced by the heat of the sun on the ground. These can go up many thousands of feet and often are strong enough to lift a glider up if the glider turns in circles in the column of rising air.

We have an instrument in the glider called a "variometer" which indicates to us when we are in rising air and how strong the "lift" is. Experienced glider pilots can often find these thermals by the "seat of their pants" from the feel of the glider as it moves through the air.

Is a thermal flight guaranteed? What's the best time of day for a thermal flight?

No, we can't guarantee a thermal flight.


The best time of day for a thermal flight at Mangrove Mountain is usually between about 12.30pm and 3.30pm, but this can vary considerably depending on the local weather. We do get thermals even in winter, but the time they are strong enough to be useable on winter days is usually shorter..

In some conditions, we can have thermals lasting almost up until sunset, though that is unusual.

Can I take photos and videos of the flight with my camera?

Yes, absolutely!

The most suitable camera/recorder is your phone or a small pocket camera/video recorder.

Large SLR cameras are discouraged. A large telephoto lens will be of little use from the glider and will get in the way. Tablets of a larger size can be used but will tend to get in the way.

What should I wear?

You are out in the strong sunshine and thw weather. Even in cloudy days UV is significant.

  • Wear a hat.

  • Long sleeved shirt or blouse is preferable. Tank tops and bare shoulders are not recommended as you can get sunburnt in quite a short time.

  • Similarly if wearing shorts you may need sunscreen on your legs.

  • Reasonably good shoes. You will need to walk about on the airstrip and there are lots of bindys aroudn this year. Thongs (ie flip flops) are not allowed to be worn in the glider.

  • Sunglasses (preferably)

  • Sunscreen

  • In winter or cool days, a jumper or jacket.

Can I have a go at flying the glider myself?

Yes. You will be flying with  qualified Air Experience Instructor who can show you the basic controls and let you have a go.

The "Double Deal" may be more suitable for you if you want to have a go. The first flight to look, see and appreciate the lovely views , take some photos and get used to flying, the second to try it out for yourself.

Should I buy a voucher before I come or can I pay at the airsrtrip?

We prefer if you purchase a voucher beforehand. It simplifies management and bookwork on the airfield. You can do this on our Website using Paypal with a credit/debit card or by Paypal if you have a Paypal account.

You can pay on the day you fly at the airstrip also by credit/debit card using paypal. You will need a phone with internet connection.

You can pay by cash - but we prefer not to have to handle cash. We do not keep any change at all at the airstrip. No change will be given.

NOTE:  People who have paid beforehand with a voucher will receive preference in the order of flying ahead of walk-ins/pay on the day.

Can I come back again another day for a second or further flights?

Yes. Your AEF purchase includes insurance, temporary membership of the GFA (Gliding Federation of Australia) and our club for a period of 30 days and up to 10 flights in total. Further flights will be charged at our normal club member rates but you must pay in advance or on the day.

I bought a "Double Deal" voucher. Can I use one flight and let someone else use the second flight?

NO!  Your voucher/AEF payment includes insurance, GFA and club fees. We are required to have these by law and regulation. They are included as a substantial part of the fees paid for your Air Experience Flight. An additional person has to pay these separately as a new Air Experience Flight.

Are there any special health or mobility requirements?

They are minimal.  The basic condition is : Can you get in and out of the glider. If you can get in and out of a normal bath at home, you should be able to manage. If you are going to need assistance, please let us know and we will see what can be done.  If you have special needs, please ask and we will see what we can do. 

Weight Limits:  The maximum weight is 110 Kg. At that weight you will need to fly with one of ur lighter instructors

Height Limits: No specific limit.  ... But... Very tall people may have trouble fitting in without bumping their head on the canopy. Some adjustments can be made by removing cushions.

Self Launched Glider Flights

What's the difference between this and a Winch Launch flight?

  • We can launch anytime (with suitable weather) without the aid of a launch crew. (We do need to schedule a mutually convenient time for you and the instructor)

  • We can climb up to 7500 ft even if there are no thermals, and even if there are clouds (but not too many)

  • You are guaranteed a longer flight of between 45 minutes and an hour.

  • We can glide right over the coast and still be in gliding range of Mangrove Mountain or a suitable airfield for landing.

  • A flight over the lovely Central Coast ocean and lakes gliding at height is fabulous.

  • Yes, it is a glider We can switch the engine off, "feather" the propeller and it is truly a glider with glide performance that matches that of our training gliders,

  • You will gave lots of time to take great photos and still plenty of time to fly the aircraft yourself (if you want to).

  • For those who may be serious about learning to glide themselves, it provides an ideal flight by having time to cover the fundmentals of gliding whilst at the same time having time to enjoy the view and just enjoy yourself.

Expiry and Refund Policy

  • Your voucher does not expire for 3 Years (under NSW law).

  • However, we have never refused an "expired" voucher and it is our stated policy not to do so - even if years after the lawful expiry date we will honour a voucher if in a position to do so.

  • If purchased through Paypal, Paypal refund policies apply.

  • If you change your mind and want a cash refund at  date after the Paypal refund date has passed, and within a period of  30 days from purchase, you may make a written request to the club and it will be considered according to the circumstances. A fee will apply to any cash refunds for any costs incurred.

  • Cash refunds can only be made to the original purchaser of the voucher. If purchased as a gift, the person receiving the gift can not obtain a cash refund, only the person who made the purchase.

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