Serra da Estrela is the highest elevation in Portugal’s mainland; with its main peak at 1992m (6535 feet) above mean see level. It is widely known and quite sought for its ski resort (the only one in Portugal), nature sports and especially as a cross-country flying area.
Offering excellent conditions for nature sports, with spas, good accommodation and famous restaurants and gastronomy, it makes for one of the most famous holiday destinations in Portugal, both in winter and summer.
Manteigas Glaciar Valley is one of the best places for cross-country flights in Portugal, its excellence, proven by frequent long distance flights even during the colder months, makes it a usual spot for leisure flight and a good choice for competition events.
The cross-country flying season starts as early as February and lasts until as late as November. From June to September, climbing over 3000 m (~10000 feet) and reaching distances greater than 100 km is a frequent achievement.
The flying area is situated in the centre of a wide range of high plateaus and open valleys, surrounded by vast plains to East and South, the place is perfect and secure for cross-country flights. The site configuration allows for a wide range of possibilities regarding task setting. Depending on the weather conditions, tasks can consist on triangulations held within the mountain range, or expand into the adjacent flat lands, with legs towards North, East or South.
The area is in general easy to fly and suitable for all levels of pilot.
How to get there: Click Here
Nearest Airports: Porto or Lisbon
Accommodation: Click Here
Local Tourist Information: To come
Eating, Drinking and Sleeping
Restaurants: To come
Bars: To come
Local Flying Club: Clube de Voo Livre Vertical, who have been hosting international and Cat 2 competitions since 1992.
Safety: The fire department of Manteigas have ambulances and trained paramedics that will be permanently on stand-by and close to the event; on take off and at goal. In addition, the National Emergency Medical Service (INEM) has an Air Ambulance Helicopter and crew within a 15min response time in case of severe injury who are stationed within 55km of the site.
Mountain Rescue: The Mountain Rescue Group of the Portuguese National Guard (GNR) will be hands to support our competition with the necessary equipment to reach anyone in remote locations.
The club are offering free shuttles to takeoff on Saturday and Sunday 29th & 30th June for those who arrive early, and also collect & drop-off from either Porto or Lisbon airports (for a small charge) – this gives a choice for those who do not intend to hire a car.
Packed lunches will be provided for each pilot. Thank you for letting us know whether you require a vegetarian option. Water will be freely available on take off. Portugal is hot and we encourage consumption of water in large quantities to avoid dehydration.
Pilots will also be provided with ID cards and a printed map of the area.
The competition will be providing Live Tracking but we encourage you to also have your own GPS tracking device eg. SPOT.
The event will be covered by national media.
Daily and overall prizes for each category will be awarded.
We anticipate a typical task day will look like this:
9:30-10:30 – Transport to chosen take-off
11:00 – Briefing at take-off
12:30 – Window open
13:30 – Start
14:00 – Window close
18:00 – Goal close
19:00 – Last report
19:30 – Dinner
20:00 – Provisional Results
Serra da Estrela Flying Sites
D01 – AZINHA (40.4308°N 7.4557°W)
Access: 11km of Tarmac road from Head Quarters plus 3 km more of dirt road
Average travel time from HQ: 15 to 20 minutes
Altitude: 1250m AMSL
Height above valley: 700m
Size of take-off area: 6000m2
Wind direction: mainly South
Wind Flight conditions: Due to the South exposure, with the Sun heating the slope, and the orographic characteristics of the spot, it is possible to fly with any wind direction, if the meteorological wind speed does not exceed 15km/h. If the meteorological wind is also south then it should be limited to 20km/h, with the thermal activity adding up to it, it normally works all day. East wind works until 18h and North and West wind until 15h. Ideal forecast is a light south or westerly wind.
D02 – VALE DE AMOREIRA (40.4035°N 7.4545°W)
Access: 8km of Tarmac road from Head Quarters (4Km from official landing site) and 1.5km of dirt road
Average travel time: 10min
Altitude: 840m AMSL
Height above valley: 300m
Size of take-off area: 2500m2
Wind direction: From East to Northwest (a round shape hill top allows a safe take-off with all these wind components).
Wind Flight conditions: Although with reduced height above valley a resident thermal in front of take-off is well suited for long distance flights even in the early morning hours.
Serra da Estrela landing zones
G01 – VALE DE AMOREIRA (40.4037oN 7.4427oW)
Is the same for both take-offs and is an ample field the valley by the river. Although ample and allowing for the approach to be done from virtually any direction, it has some tall trees delimiting the river. Attention is required to the electric cables that cross the valley.