Beechmont Launch, known as Rosin's Lookout, over-looks the stunning Numinbah Valley. The area has remained largely undeveloped in recent decades. To the east is the Springbrook plateau. On the eastern side of the valley is the Natural Bridge in Springbrook National Park and to the west lies the Lamington Plateau and the Lamington National Park. To the south is the Tweed Valley.
The Launch is adjacent to a peaceful picnic area, with dedicated electric BBQ facilities, toilets and undercover seating area. Open to all pilots, as well as the public, it is often an area families come to enjoy a picnic while watching the hang gliders and paragliders fly above them.
Beechmont is of the friendlier sites, in that it is suitable for novices to ridge soar safely with a clear view of the bottom landing area. It has three top landing areas (one dedicated to emergency landings only), and is often the site that pilots will have their first XC flight from. Taking Easterly wind directions, once high enough, you can head towards the West for tens and even hundreds of kilometers.
It is a popular site, and there are times when the sky is very busy, yet times when you may have the whole sky to yourself. Even though located on a public road, it is not as busy with spectators as the Tamborine Launch.
Rating: Paragliding PG2, PG2, (PG2 or PG3, if under supervision of Instructor or Club Safety Officer.) Hang Gliding-Supervised (formerly called Restricted pilot)
Required Wind Direction: SSE through to NE
Altitude: 1738ft / 530m ASL
CTA: Above 6500ft
Windstation: Beechmont has it's own dedicated weather station. It can be accessed on the Windstation page of this site.
Coordinates: Take off Beechmont -28.1192 S, 153.2010E 530 m ASL.
The face landing area encompasses the entire area across Beechmont Launch including the small shelf below launch!
Safety Officers may close launch where flying congestion becomes a safety issue!
· If landing in the bombout paddock in the valley, be aware that there is an up-slope landing from SE-NE.
· First-Aid kit in the main bombout in the valley. It is located under near the road, under the stile.
· There is a sea breeze influence most afternoons in Spring and Summer. This can be great to soar but be aware that it can come roaring in.
· In northerly winds, the windsock may indicate a more easterly airflow, as if coming up the face of launch. Check the wind station for a more accurate reading.
· In southerly winds, potential for rotor on northern side of the southern ridge.
· Be aware of valley wind effect in bombout when coming into land. Can be quite North or even NW.
· Be aware of power line north of launch running down into the valley.
· Be aware of power line to the north of the bombout paddock.
· In southerly winds, be aware of your glide back to the bombout, if in the northern bowl. Perform little passes back towards launch to ascertain the strength of the wind, before venturing further towards the northern bowl.
· There is commonly a wind gradient on landing, which can be severe in the last 50 feet.
· If going XC from Beechmont, in moderate winds there is no safe landing until Hinchcliffe bombout,
· The Prison Farm land on the southern side of the spur is a more suitable landing area for those pilots wishing to land short and walk back up. However, do not land there with the intention of walking down to the bombout.
· The Model Airfield is a suitable alternative landing area in southerly winds when pilots struggle low at the northern end of Beechmont ridge. Instead of trying to reach the official bombout, pilots can just fly easterly down the spur and land there.
· Munsters is an emergency landing area on the top that can be used in southerly winds only. Dangerous in E and NE winds because of rotor from hills on the E and NE side. There is a fence at Munsters dividing the paddock in two (running E-W), and there's a power pole near the gate.
· Face landings on Launch is for PG4 and PG5 rated pilots only. All face landings are to be in the vicinity of the Orange cone. No landing near the setup area.
· NO ground handling of gliders on the launch area at ANY time! (Ground handling is permitted at the Top landing area)
If it is windy, pilots must launch from in front of the trees near the Orange cone.
Flying in Southerly Winds
Southerly winds on Beechmont are probably the worst in regards to getting to a landing area. Even though Beechmont is quite soarable when the wind is SSE, you won't get as high compared to wind of the same strength but coming from the E or NE. The reason for this is that when the wind comes from the SSE it runs along the ridge rather than up it, and there is nothing at the end of the ridge to turn the wind up the face.
When the wind comes from the NE, it gets pushed up the bowl to the right of launch and makes the hill much more soarable. Making the bomobout when the wind is from the NE is easiest done by soaring the bowl to the right of launch and then heading out to the B/O from the spur. But if the wind is from the South, the bowl is not going to produce any lift at all and if the wind is quite south, you may well be flying into rotor if heading out via the bowl.
If you are trying to make the B/O from launch in a Southerly wind, the best is to head directly out from launch. And if you are any lower than launch height, you probably won't make it. Remember that when you leave the ridge in a southerly, you'll be pushing a headwind all the way to the B/O. The land owners at the bottom of Beechmont don't want pilots landing short around their houses so make sure you leave ample height to get to the bombout. Don't wait till you are half the height of the hill to head out. For top landing in a South wind, be aware that if you are trying to fly to the school, it will be cross wind from launch, and if the wind is really south, then the school is almost headwind.;
You need a LOT more height to get to any top landing area in a southerly than in a NE when the landing areas are basically downwind. There are times when Munsters is almost impossible to get to in a Southerly even if you are 150m above launch. If you can't guarantee that you have enough height to easily make the approved top landing area, then you MUST go to the bombout.
Access to Launch
Beechmont Launch is easy to get to. There is a sealed road to the site from Canungra along Beechmont Rd, this is a public road. The launch area is adjacent to Rosin's Lookout. The site is open to club members and visiting pilots. It's a great prime spectator spot with friendly facilities, but please park in the designated areas.
Drive down the hill on Beechmont Road towards Nerang (with your back to Launch area, turn right), until you get to the bottom of the hill. Turn right at the intersection on to the Nerang - Murwillumbah Rd. Turn right, on to Pocket Rd. Drive till you reach the Bombout area on the right. All together about 35-45 minutes to get down by car.
Below is a close up map of Pocket Rd.
Benefits to you; free use for life. Why walk up that damn hill ever again, when you can sit on a lazy fat seat. [refer to comedy TV show: The Simpsons, to see likely outcome of donation investment] Construction not yet commenced. Land not yet acquired. Only a few years away. Expect as soon as the ill conceived design promises of everyone having jet packs and flying cars. Maybe with a jet pack, or self driving electric cars, won't need a monorail? Some best designs are thinking outside the box, and supersede the need. For now learn to fly better. Flying is better than walking.
There is one main dedicated Bombout at Beechmont, but with additional acceptable landing areas adjacent to the Bombout. One being the "Pizza Paddock" (a triangular patch) and Prison Farm on the other side of the Southern ridge. There is a definite no landing area (marked in red below), please avoid this area at all times.
Pilots can also land at the bottom of the Southern ridge and walk up the mountain to Launch but not back down towards the Bombout (see Downloads page of this website to download the GPS track to walk up).
There are numerous landing areas at the top, including the "Top Landing" area directly behind launch (on the other side of the road), "the school" which is infact a paddock on the other side of the school community hall, and Munsters which can be used in an emergency. All these areas are drawn and labelled in the Online Maps page of this website.
Main Bombout Aerial View
Main bombout straight out from launch dissected by a fence running east-west. Upslope landing from SE-NE. Note power lines to the north of the Bombout paddock.
Main Bombout as seen from Launch
Do NOT land anywhere near the area marked in red. We will lose Beechmont entirely as a launch site, if you do.
Behind Launch (Top Landing Area)
Michael Jackson Top landing after 80km out and return flight with Jonny Durand. (photographed by Damian)
Members are requested sign the book on using the top landing area, for landing and even for ground handling training.
School / Graceleigh Park
Refer to instructors. Rotor turbulence areas near creek, Not Available when crowded with sports events.
Munsters (Emergency only)
Refer to instructors.
paddock historically known as prison farm within National Parks land - suitable for paragliders - less walk back, on the way to the bombout
Traveling XC to NW, downwind on the south-easterly sea breeze steam train. First stop Hinchies. Safe landing option Hinchies bombout, East of Hinchies launch while you search for thermal lift. Hinchies launch is about 7.65km from Beechmont launch.
[Flight world wide with Aerotow launch: Jonny Durand best Distance 761km in Zapata, USA.]
posted by Jonny Durand