Coming to Forbes
You will need a visa to travel in Australia, and should arrange for it when you buy your ticket. Citizens of many countries can apply online for a three-month "Electronic Travel Authority" from www.eta.immi.gov.au. It costs AUD$20. For longer stays, and for citizens of other countries, check the Department of Immigration and Citizenship website www.immi.gov.au.
Forbes is an agricultural town of just under 10,000 people, located in the Lachlan River Valley in Central West New South Wales. Forbes is approximately five hours drive by car from Sydney Airport, eight hours from Melbourne Airport, and about thirteen hours from Brisbane Airport. You can learn more about Forbes at www.forbes-nsw.com, www.forbes.nsw.gov.au, and www.visitnsw.com/town/Forbes.aspx.
Summers in Forbes are relatively hot, with average maximum January temperatures of 32ºC to 35ºC. If you are coming from the northern winter, be sure to allow an extra couple of days to acclimatise and recover from jet lag. The combination of heat and fatigue can affect your performance, your judgment and your safety, so please plan ahead.
We recommend that you fly into Sydney and drive to Forbes (see Car Rental below).
Although there are commercial flights from Sydney to nearby Parkes Regional Airport, they are on small turbo-prop planes with severe baggage restrictions. For information and reservations, contact REX (Regional Express) at www.rex.com.au. Parkes is approximately 40 kilometres from Forbes.
CountryLink operates rail services from Sydney to Lithgow and Orange with a connecting coach (bus) to Forbes, as well as direct coach service from Canberra, Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne. Check www.countrylink.info/timetables for details.
Prices and models vary with the season, so you are advised to do your own comparison. Some companies do not have pickup at the airport, and others offer better rates if you go to their central city location. Not all offices are open on Sundays and holidays. If you are using a "bargain" company, be sure to check pickup/drop-off location and hours before you book. The list below includes both full-service and bargain companies.
If you are coming to Australia for three months or longer, it may be cheaper to buy a used car. Be sure the registration and the road-worthy certificate are up to date. You must also purchase liability insurance.
Apex (www.apexrentacar.com.au) Located downtown Sydney, not at the airport.
Avis (www.avis.com.au) Full-service company. Good range of vehicles, including station wagons, SUV's and full-size vans.
Bayswater (www.bayswatercarrental.com.au) - Also known as "No Birds". They only rent Toyota Corollas, but prices are good.
Britz (www.britz.com.au/car-rental-australia) - Full-service company. Good range of vehicles, including station wagons, SUV's and full-size vans.
Budget (www.budget.com.au) - Full-service company. Good range of vehicles, including station wagons, SUV's and full-size vans.
Europcar (www.europcar.com.au) - Full-service company. Good range of vehicles, including station wagons, SUV's and full-size vans.
Hertz (www.hertz.com.au) - Full-service company. Good range of vehicles, including station wagons, SUV's and full-size vans.
Red Spot (www.redspotcars.com.au) - Sedans, SUV's, 2 sizes of van. Discount available for renting more than 30 days.
Rent A Bomb (www.rentabomb.com.au) - No airport pickup. New economy cars and mini-vans, good range of used sedans, hatchbacks, wagons and vans. Good rates for used vehicles, long-term discounts available.
Rent A Wreck (www.rentawreck.net.au) - No airport pickup. Sedans, hatchbacks and wagons, older models. Low prices, long-term discounts available.
Sixt (au.sixt.com ) - Full-service company. Free shuttle from airport to downtown Sydney pickup. Good range of vehicles, including station wagons, SUV's and full-size vans.
Thrifty (www.thrifty.com.au) - Full-service company. Good range of vehicles, including station wagons, SUV's and full-size vans.
Travellers Auto Barn (www.travellers-autobarn.com.au) - Located in central Sydney, not at the airport. Rent and sell cars, wagons, campervans and motorhomes. Specialize in longer term rentals and sales with guaranteed buyback – prices are well below the mainstream rental companies, but vehicles are older.
In order to fly legally in Australia you must become a member of the Hang Gliding Federation of Australia. You can apply for a Visiting Pilot Membership (two, four or six months) online at www.hgfa.asn.au - click the "Overseas Pilots" link at the top of the page. Check out the Competition Calendar and the Site Guide while you are there.
Australia recognizes and uses the FAI International Pilot Proficiency Identification (IPPI) system. You are encouraged to obtain both an IPPI Card and a Sporting License before coming to Australia
The rules related to flying in Australia include the Civil Aviation Orders and Civil Aviation Regulations, specifically CAO 95.8 for Hang Gliders and Paragliders. You can find details at www.casa.gov.au.
Telstra's NextG is the ONLY recommended network to use at Forbes. Other networks (such as European GSM phones) do not have coverage outside of the city.
Telstra offer mobile phones "recommended for rural handheld coverage outside regional centres and towns". Make sure the phone you plan to use meets this description.
It's a good idea to buy your phone (and one for your driver) before coming to Forbes, since the local shop sells out fast. Either go to a Telstra store in a city (make sure they know you need good coverage for rural areas), or shop on the Telstra website, www.telstra.com.au/shop. Click "Pre-Paid Mobiles" to see current offers.
Shipping your glider
Research airline policies before buying your ticket, and work out all the details with your airline in advance if you want to take your glider as extra luggage. Thirty two kilos is the limit for a piece of oversized luggage, the maximum the handlers will carry. If it's over 32 kilos they will simply refuse to take it.
You can short pack your glider, removing the glider bag, battens, speedbar and rear leading edges to make a second piece. Protect your glider with bubble wrap and corrugated cardboard at the ends, then wrap in an oversize glider bag (we use a sleeve type bag with no zip and a drawstring on one end). A good solution for the second piece is a snow board bag; this will hold your glider bag, battens, speedbar, rear leading edges, harness and personal items. This way you only have two oversize pieces plus your carry-on luggage.
If you do ship your glider, make sure you have plenty of time for it to get through customs – a week at least. We recommend that you make sure your glider arrives in Australia by early December to be sure to allow for the Christmas, Boxing Day and New Years holidays.
If you have time you can ship your glider by sea freight, which takes five weeks or more but is less costly. It can return by air, as it generally costs less to air freight from Australia than to Australia.
Declare your glider as unaccompanied luggage, personal effects, sporting equipment. Be sure that your glider is clean from any plant or vegetable matter, and that there is no wood used in the packaging — or it may be delayed in Quarantine.
Buying a new glider
It will be mandatory to carry an air-band VHF radio and either UHF or 2 Meter (see notes bellow) so you can communicate with your driver. The organisation will contact your driver via SMS and your driver will need to be able to relay any changes in weather or calls for stopped tasks.
VHF Rating & Equipment
As we are launching from within 10 nm of a registered airport all pilots will need the required VHF radio licence & air-band VHF radio. Previously we had an exemption to the law CAR 166. This will no longer be the case so all pilots flying at Forbes will need a VHF radio licence and radio.
Please make sure you are licenced before the competition. This can be done with most CFI's.
For all International pilots we will have a VHF radios course on the 29th December at HQ and have air-band VHF radios available to rent during the comp.
The 40 channel UHF
The 40 channel UHF (CB) radio in the range (476.425 - 477.400 MHz) is the predominantly-used radio for free flight in Australia. These radios are available through any number of dealers and commercial centres Australia-wide. Channels 1 through 8 and 31 through 38 are designated for the use of repeater stations; their use is not recommended, except in limited situations such as a back-up for pilots on the ground where communication difficulties are found. Further information is available from the ACBRO website, www.acbro.org.
Transceivers that may be used in Australia are 477 MHz Australian UHF CB band units, Airband (108-137Mz) radios or Amateur 2m band (144-148MHz) units (see below).
- UHF CB radios must be approved for use on Australian UHF CB bands. This means that the radios need to be approved to A/NZS 4365 and carry the "C" tick.
- 2 Meter Amateur band radios may be used only by qualified Amateur operators on authorised amateur band frequencies only. Operators should bring a copy of their qualification to be shown on demand.
- All users of Air Band radios must hold the appropriate Air Radio Operator qualification.
You will be responsible for arranging your own transportation and retrieval. Check the online pilot registration list at www.forbesflatlands.com and contact other pilots who are also looking to form a team. Although it is sometimes possible to form or join a team during registration, this is best done in advance.
Free Wi-Fi service will be available during the competition at the Headquarters. Wireless hotspots are widely available throughout Australia.
Forbes offers a good variety of accommodation - check www.forbes-nsw.com/Accommodation.html for a listing. In general, motels are at the higher end of price and comfort. They offer air-conditioned rooms, usually with small refrigerators, and some have swimming pools. Hotels (pubs) are generally older, with smaller rooms that are not necessarily air-conditioned and may have shared bathrooms. Hotels usually include a basic breakfast and are usually budget-priced. There are several caravan parks in Forbes, all with self-catering cabins as well as tent and caravan sites. It's worth searching the Internet for information and reviews about individual motels and hotels.
Houses are limited in availability, and terms must be negotiated between your team and the owner. Pricing on houses usually starts at AUD$35 - $50 per person per night.