SAFA Skysailor Magazine

10 SKY SAILOR November | December 2023 Birchip Big K Week returns to Victoria’s tow-launching capital Spotlight on Birchip flying site Known as the car-tow launching capital of the hang gliding world, Birchip is a town in the Mallee region north-west of Melbourne, and is the ideal place for pilots to fly all year round. Flying in this dry land, broad acre farming area makes the selection of landing paddocks easy, allowing you to focus on staying in the air for longer than you would in the mountains. The paddocks that host hang gliding in Birchip are large enough for towing, with the road network making retrievals relatively easy. In the summer months, conditions include 6000 to 10000ft ceilings, while at other times of the year more challenging lower ceilings and climb rates occur. It doesn’t matter when you visit Birchip, it makes for great XC flights. The Easter comp ‘Birchip Flatter than the Flatlands’ started in April 1993 and has attract- ed a growing number of pilots each year since. In 2011, a group of pilots who were regulars in the area invited groups to visit the site and fly together in Birchip for the last week of November too. This event became known as the ‘Birchip Big K Week’. Competitions at Birchip cater to entry level pilots, with thermals around Easter generally