WINTER PLAYGROUND IN THE CANARY ISLANDS.
Lanzarote is a favourite destination
for Hang Glider pilots in the winter. The average temperature is
around 20 degrees. The island has five flying sites which face various
directions. The most famous site is Famara in the north of the island
which has high cliffs which allow a ridge run of around 12k. The
island can be very windy at times and in the four visits that I've
made to the island, the average flying days are about 3.5 out of
every week. The conditions can be deceptive and you can find that
the wind is very light at the bottom of the hill and blowing a gale
at the top. It can also be very rough, especially at Macher in the
south of the island. XC flying is pretty much a no-go as much of
the island is covered in very sharp rocks as a result of volcanic
activity. Having said that though, some guys have actually flown
some good distances here, one guy recently flew from Mala in the
north east to Playa Blanca in the south west. You just have to be
brave, foolhardy, or just downright good at XC flying to make sure
you don't end up in the sharp lava that is abundant on this island.
There is also more dust and gravel here than any other place I've
ever visited. Don't take a new wing here or you will regret it.
The gravel can really chew up your leading edges.
Getting around the island is easy as it's only around 50k by 20k
and the roads are good. Cars can be hired with roof racks from 'Cabrera
Medina' car rental at Arrecife airport. The average price of a small
car is around £80 per week. Petrol is dirt cheap on the island.
You will spend about £10 - £12 to fill your tank.
Puerto Del Carmen at night.
Plenty of good food and cheap beer.
Getting your glider to Lanzarote from the UK is not difficult. There
are charter flights going out all the time. Don't tell them that
you are taking a hang glider when you book the flight as most airlines
will not take it because of insurance problems. You have to call
it a 'windsurfer' and pay £30 (correct at feb, 2002) for a
return ticket for it. Also, make sure that you have the paperwork
to prove that you've paid for it's carriage otherwise you might
find that it's not going on the plane. I'm sure they know they are
not windsurfers but by calling it so, they avoid insurance claims
against aviation equipment. It's all done on a nod and a wink. Also...
make sure to short pack it and put padding around the tubing and
noseplate. The baggage handlers are not too particular about being
So, here is the site guide.
Click on the triangles to show the information for each site. You
The cliffs at Famara, great
John O'Neill at 1,000 ft over
Lanzarote flying an Apco Santana with electric VG!!
John Launching a K2 at
the crap quality of the pic, it's from a video)
John landing at Mirador on a
This has got nothing to do with lanzarote but I thought
it was a pretty good photo. It's a guy who's picked a very bad place
to land somewhere in Africa. I don't know if he made it to the landrover.