Latest, News

Pilots fight to save Beechmont in Australia

Tuesday 25 April, 2023

Pilots in Australia are fighting to save one of “the most spectacular hang gliding and paragliding sites in Australia” following a local government ban on using the bottom-landing field at Beechmont.

The Canungra Hang Gliding Club said that in in March this year the Queensland Environment Department “banned paragliders from landing” in the bottom landing field at Beechmont near the Gold Coast, Queensland.

“Australia’s premier launch site at Beechmont is now closed to hundreds of pilots. Our community is devastated,” the club said in statement.

According to the club Queensland Environment Department has stopped them from landing in the field the club has always used, effectively closing Beechmont.

Pilots can still launch from club-owned land, known as Rosin’s Lookout, but are banned from landing in the field below.

Rosin’s Lookout is one Australia’s top hang gliding and paragliding launch sites. It attracts hundreds of pilots from Australia and overseas each year and sees thousands of launches.

Club president Gavin Hanlon said: “Beechmont is a world class site. The club has been flying their for over 30 years. Surely common sense has to prevail? Surely government process allows for good outcomes for a sport that is nature-based flying? It’s a low impact sport, it perfectly aligns with what the Queensland Environment Department is all about.”

Club spokesperson Carley O’Connell said: “The club is devastated. This is a place pilots have flown and landed for nearly 30 years and we’re part of the community here. People are outraged.”

She added: “All we are asking is approval to make a landing if absolutely necessary. We simply pack up and walk out to a nearby road.”

Most pilots flying at Beechmont are aiming to fly cross country and will not use the bottom landing field. But having a bottom landing field to use in an emergency is a critical safety issue for lower airtime pilots or if weather conditions change.

Carley added: “The reality is less than 10 percent of landings would happen below the launch site – pilots aim for gaining height and travelling up to 100 kilometres away.

“We are a small club of 200 people against a massive bureaucracy so the odds are against us of winning an appeal. We are determined, however, to fight the decision for the sake of the local community, our sport, the thousands of spectators and common sense.

“Without a place to fly, local pilots will be denied the opportunity to become the world champions of the future. Thousands of people will be denied the joys of a sport that has more environmental credentials than most other recreational activities.”

Ms O’Connell said the club called on environment minister Meaghan Scanlon to work on a solution.

“In our view the refusal is based on very flimsy grounds such as an ‘adverse effect on character’. It is a paddock,” she said.

If you want to add your voice to the discussion, you can email the environment@ministerial.qld.gov.au or comment on FlyCanungra’s YouTube channel.


Back to Latest
Back to Latest


Subscribe today and enjoy the following:

  • Eight issues per year delivered in high quality print, Zinio digital – or both
  • Access to our subscriber only masterclasses
  • Subscribers’ Prize Draws: twice a year, a lucky subscriber wins a new wing of their choice
  • Plus exclusive discount vouchers for books and products

Digital Magazine

per month

  • Eight issues via Zinio
  • Access to subscriber only masterclasses
  • Read offline on phone or device
  • Chance to win a wing, twice a year

Print Magazine

per month

  • Eight issues airmailed
  • Access to subscriber masterclasses
  • Perfect-bound, high quality journals
  • Chance to win a wing, twice a year

Print and Digital

per month

  • Benefit from instant delivery
  • Enjoy relaxing with print magazines
  • Access to subscriber only masterclasses
  • Chance to win a wing, twice a year