Meet the Morning Glory, Australia's coolest cloud

Revisit hang-glider pilot Jonny Durand's Cineflex footage from his epic flight on Morning Glory.
© Mark Watson/Red Bull Content Pool
By Josh Sampiero

Australia's known around the world for its surfing waves – but few people realise those waves aren't only in the water. The Morning Glory is the world's most spectacular and predictable 'roll cloud', a 1,000km-long cloud formation that often moves at speeds of 60kmh, sometimes as a single cloud, and sometimes in sets of up to eight clouds.

Back in December 2013, hang-glider pilot Jonny Durand released the Cineflex footage of his epic flight on Morning Glory for the first time. And now, with the cloud formation back in the news again, we thought it'd be a good time to revisit Durand's incredible clip.

Jon Durand prepares to take off at the Archerfield Airport in Brisbane, Australia on November 6th, 2012
Jonny Durand, hang-glider pilot © Trent Mitchell/Red Bull Content Pool

What makes hang-gliding the Morning Glory so incredible is the lifting air rising up over the advancing cloud, offering pilots the chance to soar without constantly seeking thermal lift. Like water pushes a surfer up the face of the wave, the pilots use wind energy to swoop and spin in front this incredible natural phenomenon.

Fittingly, Durand's words give only the slightest indication of what that feeling is like. “You're pretty much speechless when you're up there,” he says. “The first time you experience the Morning Glory from the air, you don't know what to think.”

While Morning Glory roll-clouds have been spotted in other places around the world, Australia's Gulf of Carpentaria remains the most consistent spot to see these waves in the sky – and one of the only places in the world you can go surfing without getting wet.

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