They measure approximately 1.2m across and are mostly bright colours – but if you think they are aeroplanes, then you would be wrong. Gliding through the sky are Windriders. They are made of foam and covered with duct tape. The senors and flap controls are strapped on and the whole aircraft weighs no more than 500g.
These aircraft have no power but rely on the air flow from the ocean up over the headland for their propulsion movement and the hands of the operator to manoeuvre them via the remote-control handset.
I met two Windrider enthusiasts this afternoon - Marco, a Qantas Pilot, and Ian, a licensed glider pilot. They are members of a group that love the hobby. Ian points out that they are not a club but would welcome anyone wanting to join them. He said the best place to come and see them is at Kings Beach headland when a southerly is blowing, but also at Moffat Beach Headland when there is a northerly wind.
Ian demonstrates his skill by landing his glider using the slope soaring technique, which he masters perfectly, even in the stiff wind.
Often, when there are a few operators with their Windriders, they play a game of combat, in which they try to knock the other craft away. Ian shows me some decent dents in his Windrider that he has received during some of these combat games. Marco informs me that a complete hobby kit would set you back around $250.
The Windriders always attract a crowd of people who stand by watching in amazement. The aircraft move very swiftly through the air and often look like they are going to smash together but recover at the last moment to avoid collision.