SOARING solo, high in the sky for hours on end, is one of life’s true pleasures for Rohan Holtkamp.
Hang gliding has been a passion for the Trawalla-based Holtkamp since 1986, but it quickly became one that developed into much more than that. The 48-year-old has operated his own full-time flying school – Dynamic Flight – for the past couple of decades and is well recognised in the sport world-wide.
Holtkamp has recently returned home from the 19th FAI World Hang Gliding Championships, which were held in Forbes, New South Wales, earlier this month.
He finished 21st individually, with the Australian team placing fourth overall behind champions Italy.
It was a somewhat disappointing personal result for Holtkamp, who was a winner of the pre-world titles event last year.
Holtkamp said an air space breach during one of the day’s of competition cost him a spot inside the top 10.
“There’s a fair bit of attention required while flying and navigation is part of it, but I didn’t pay attention to the airspace for a few seconds of the flight,” he said.
Holtkamp has competed in numerous world championships since the 1990s, with a fourth-placed finish his best individual result. He was also part of the Australian gold medal winning team from 2005.
The father of three said pilots would fly as high as 14,000 feet, tackle courses up to 300km in distance and spend up to eight hours in the air during competition.
“It’s like stacking two marathons together in the afternoon and then you’re flying day after day,” he said.
“I like flying lots of different aircraft, but hang gliders really give you the connection with the air, where you can feel every bump and ripple like your arms are outstretched 10m wide. (It’s) using solar power to cruise the countryside.”