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Fri, Apr 18, 2003

Wallaby Ranch Contest Starts This Weekend

Hang Out With Hang Gliders in Florida

By ANN Correspondent John Ballantyne

The annual Wallaby Open International Hang Gliding competition will be held from April 20 to April 26, 2003, at the world-famous Wallaby Ranch in Davenport, Florida -- halfway between Orlando and Tampa.

Wallaby is a favorite hangout for many hang glider pilots, and this competition will include a cross-country race to a goal. The organizers expect 90 to 120 pilots, in the competition.

Prize money, too!

A minimum of $5,000 prize money will be distributed between the classes for flex-wing and rigid-wing hang gliders.

How it works:

Gliders are aero-towed aloft by powered ultralights (Dragonflys and some trikes) from the flat Florida terrain.

"We are expecting a fun week with international flavor of hang glider pilots from all around the world. They come to visit with each other, share technology, and, of course, compete," reports  one denizen of Wallaby Ranch.

The meet Director is J.C. Brown. The Wallaby Open is a United States Hang Gliding Association (USHGA) sanctioned Class A event as well as an international hang gliding commission  (CIVL) Category 2 competition.

There's an entry fee for the competition: $400, 50% deposit required at registration. If you don't plan to compete, you can watch for free.

Try it -- you'll like it!

Tandem (you and an instructor) flights (right) are available at this flight park during early morning or late evening weather permitting. Prior to the meet, Wills Wing, a world leader in hang glider design, will have demo flights.

Oh -- as one of the organizers said, "You'd be surprised the difference between hang gliders and ultralights!" He didn't elaborate. Guess we'll have to go look for ourselves...

FMI: www.wallaby.com; 1-800-WALLABY


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