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Non-insurance SoCal sites launch & land

Postby Frank Colver » Fri Jun 08, 2018 1:15 pm

These SoCal sites are reported to be non- USHPA required sites for launch and land. Some may require avoiding and landing outside of USHPA controlled LZ's. I can't personally vouch for the accuracy of this information but it came from a reliable source - as they say in the media.

Frank


OPEN LAUNCH & LANDING SITES

USHPA insurance not required as far as has been determined

Source anonymous

Towers Launch site, Sylmar. The site is now open. Non-USHPA won't be able to land on SHGA property but this presents no safety considerations, other than the launch site is considered more difficult than the Kagel Mtn. launch site.

Avenue S 1200 ft. vertical easy H3 ridge soaring or sled rides. Moderate Santa Ana wind site. Weak thermals. (only flyable in late fall, winter, and early spring in Santa Ana conditions) 2 wd drive can make it.

Parker Mtn. 1000 ft. vertical soaring ridge in light santa ana's. Large landing area. Often promoted as a H4 site due to proximity to mtn pass (venturi) and accelerated winds during moderate santa ana wind events. 4wd required

Avenue L. 600 ft. santa ana ridge soaring site 30 minutes west of Avenue S. Low range, high clearance 4wd required.

Pine Flats 3000' vertical very near Crestline/Marshall. Large landing areas last I looked, can confirm on Google Earth. Probably 4wd required.

Soboba 2000 ft. approx. Flyable all year in onshore winds. Accessible but near 1 hr. drive to launch from lz and 45 min drive to launch from 5 Freeway in Beaumont on back side of mtns. 2 wd access.

Soboba 600 ft. easy access service provided by site owners, mostly for speed wing paragliders but easy bench up to top of mtns most late afternoons. Large landing areas. 2 wd drive access

Mentone 1000 ft. plus thermal site south east of Marshal about 15 miles. Big LZ. 2wd drive access

Ord Mtn. 1000 ft. thermal site in Hesperia, CA (Mojave Desert 20 miles north of Crestline) Good XC site with lots of good landing areas 2wd vehicle access

Blackhawk Mtn. 2,000 ft. approx thermal site on the north side of the San Bernardino Mtn range, just north of Big Bear Lake. 4wd required

Chief's Peak, Ojai. 2000 ft. approx thermal site. 2wd access by FS permit secured by Andy Beem or other locals.

Bates Road. Wonderfully simple 300 ft. ridge much like Torrey Pines with big open beach to land on.

Rincon Ridge. 1000 ft. sled rides to nice beach. Near Bates Rd. and accessible with permission of paraglider land owner who's friendly to HG's.

Elsinore - both launch sites.

Horse Cyn.

Laguna Mtn. Great xc site w/ vertical over 2000 ft., strong summer thermals.

Otay Mesa, near San Diego.

La Salina Baja. 1 hr. south of San Diego. Fun and excellent ridge soaring 1000 ft. cliffs.

Cantamar Sand Dunes, Baja. 45 minutes south of San Diego
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Re: Non-insurance SoCal sites launch & land

Postby Rick Masters » Sat Jun 09, 2018 2:58 pm

This should be a sticky. Great post, Frank!
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Re: Non-insurance SoCal sites launch & land

Postby Frank Colver » Sat Jun 09, 2018 9:27 pm

Good suggestion Rick, thanks.

BobK, please consider making this a sticky.

BTW - I got an emailed confirmation of the information from another good anonymous source today. :thumbup:

If anybody has corrections or additional information please PM me if wanting to be anonymous, or just post it here if you don't care about that.

Frank
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Re: Non-insurance SoCal sites launch & land

Postby Bob Kuczewski » Sun Jun 10, 2018 5:27 pm

I haven't asked Frank for any details on who sent him that list, but it sounds like someone trying to say:

"There's no problem with USHPA having a monopoly.
There are plenty of places to fly outside of USHPA's control."

It's kind of like saying: "There's no problem with traffic. There are thousands of miles of virtually unused roads in the United States." or "There's no problem with traffic. Just drive between 2am and 4am."

You can see the problem. There may be excess capacity, but it's at a time or place when very few can easily use it. That's a good part of what I see in the list posted above. But let's take a look at the sites one by one and see:

Towers Launch site, Sylmar. The site is now open. Non-USHPA won't be able to land on SHGA property but this presents no safety considerations, other than the launch site is considered more difficult than the Kagel Mtn. launch site.

Advanced launch and no landing area. Most locals launch at Kagel and land at SHGA. Why do you think that is?

Avenue S 1200 ft. vertical easy H3 ridge soaring or sled rides. Moderate Santa Ana wind site. Weak thermals. (only flyable in late fall, winter, and early spring in Santa Ana conditions) 2 wd drive can make it.

Santa Ana direction, and "2 wd drive can make it" means "just barely make it". I've been up there a number of times, and unless they've done some serious grading, it's not for the average vehicle.

Parker Mtn. 1000 ft. vertical soaring ridge in light santa ana's. Large landing area. Often promoted as a H4 site due to proximity to mtn pass (venturi) and accelerated winds during moderate santa ana wind events. 4wd required

I've never been there, but the "4wd required" excludes me already.

Avenue L. 600 ft. santa ana ridge soaring site 30 minutes west of Avenue S. Low range, high clearance 4wd required.

Ditto on 4wd.

Pine Flats 3000' vertical very near Crestline/Marshall. Large landing areas last I looked, can confirm on Google Earth. Probably 4wd required.

Ditto on 4wd.

Soboba 2000 ft. approx. Flyable all year in onshore winds. Accessible but near 1 hr. drive to launch from lz and 45 min drive to launch from 5 Freeway in Beaumont on back side of mtns. 2 wd access.

I've flown Soboba a few times. It's a long drive from San Diego and an even longer drive up the back. It's marginal for 2wd (and sometimes impossible).

Soboba 600 ft. easy access service provided by site owners, mostly for speed wing paragliders but easy bench up to top of mtns most late afternoons. Large landing areas. 2 wd drive access

Unless this is a different site from the one I know, it's not an "easy" bench up. You start out relatively low and have to make a quick decision before setting up for a safe landing.

Mentone 1000 ft. plus thermal site south east of Marshal about 15 miles. Big LZ. 2wd drive access

I don't know this site.

Ord Mtn. 1000 ft. thermal site in Hesperia, CA (Mojave Desert 20 miles north of Crestline) Good XC site with lots of good landing areas 2wd vehicle access

I don't know this site either, but it's quite a drive from San Diego.

Blackhawk Mtn. 2,000 ft. approx thermal site on the north side of the San Bernardino Mtn range, just north of Big Bear Lake. 4wd required

Ditto on 4wd.

Chief's Peak, Ojai. 2000 ft. approx thermal site. 2wd access by FS permit secured by Andy Beem or other locals.

I've flown a site in Ojai once (one of Joe Greblo's outings). It was a long drive, and few (if any) got more than a sledder.

Bates Road. Wonderfully simple 300 ft. ridge much like Torrey Pines with big open beach to land on.

I've tried paragliding there, but couldn't get in the air. It's nothing like Torrey.

Rincon Ridge. 1000 ft. sled rides to nice beach. Near Bates Rd. and accessible with permission of paraglider land owner who's friendly to HG's.

I haven't been there.

Elsinore - both launch sites.

Requires Santa Ana conditions and main landing area has been under dispute.

Horse Cyn.

About an hour drive from San Diego. Typically requires 4wd or relatively high clearance. I've got plenty of scrapes on the underside of my old mini-van to prove it.

Laguna Mtn. Great xc site w/ vertical over 2000 ft., strong summer thermals.

I've been told that membership in the SDHGPA is required for the landing zone (although they've lied about requirements at Little Black).

Otay Mesa, near San Diego.

I've flown PG there a number of times, and I've seen a few people hang glide there. The hills are low and it's mostly a "scratch to stay up" site.

La Salina Baja. 1 hr. south of San Diego. Fun and excellent ridge soaring 1000 ft. cliffs.

Great site, but requires a venture into Mexico, a long drive up the back, and usually an overnight stay.

Cantamar Sand Dunes, Baja. 45 minutes south of San Diego

I've heard about it, but never been there. Another trip into Mexico.

Summary:

There are many reasons that most Southern California pilots fly at sites like Kagel, Crestline, and Torrey. I wouldn't say the sites mentioned above are "unsafe", but many don't have the margins of safety found at Kagel, Crestline, and Torrey.

But more importantly, citizens should not be barred from ANY publicly owned sites where they have the skills and the desire to fly. No one should have to fly at sites "in the back of the bus" just because USHPA is deciding who can fly at which sites in the United States.
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Re: Non-insurance SoCal sites launch & land

Postby Frank Colver » Sun Jun 10, 2018 6:17 pm

Thanks for your input Bob.

Please note that you are not the only HG / PG pilot who doesn't belong to USHPA. Some of them don't live near San Diego and some of them do have 4WD vehicles.

I can speak for Soboba & Cantamar - I loved flying at both. Some of my most memorable flights took place from Soboba ridge. Cantamar is a beach dune like Dockweiler. Lots of fun but I personally don't want to go into Mexico anymore.

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Re: Non-insurance SoCal sites launch & land

Postby Bob Kuczewski » Sun Jun 10, 2018 10:51 pm

I'm sorry to sound a bit negative about all those sites Frank (I've flown most of them), but they're mostly the "scraps" left over after USHPA has monopolized the most popular sites in Southern California. Here's what I consider the "Big 4" sites in the region that they cover:

  • Torrey
  • Crestline
  • Sylmar
  • Elsinore

I believe they're the most popular for a number of reasons. They're popular because they're convenient, they have established infrastructure, they're generally safe, and they're reliable. Of those 4, Elsinore is the only one that doesn't require USHPA. But (as mentioned above) it's an east facing site and the landing area has been (and maybe still is?) under dispute with the land owner. I would guess that those 4 sites are flown by several times as many pilots as all the other sites put together. The reasons are (again) convenience, infrastructure, safety, and reliability.

Thanks for the list of sites. I am, however, still curious about the "anonymous" person who provided it. It looks to me as if the list was made to make it look like USHPA doesn't hold the monopoly (that it does hold). I'm curious as to who provided it. :think:
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Re: Non-insurance SoCal sites launch & land

Postby Frank Colver » Mon Jun 11, 2018 11:25 am

Well you can blame me, Bob. I initiated the inquiry because I wanted to know myself and I thought it would be useful information for pilots looking for unregulated sites to fly. I loved the lack of local regulations back when I was flying the mountain sites. Example: if I flew Sylmar today I would have to get a rescue chute and a radio but not back in "the good old days" (I'm neither indorsing nor condemning those regs).

Also, it is good information for anyone contemplating quitting USHPA. They can see where they would need to go to continue flying, when making their decision to drop or not drop their USHPA membership. I'm hoping others will add their knowledge of CA sites to the list.

Sorry Bob, it's not all about you, but it could be useful to you as well.

Yes, it would be better if you could fly popular sites and mix with more HG pilots who don't know you now (they could learn that you are actually a very nice guy). It seems like the unregulated parts of Sylmar, on a weekend, would offer that opportunity. If the towers launch is too difficult (Rogallos used to launch there) then get a ride to Kagel (government owned) and land outside the club LZ. However, you should probably have a chute and radio.

You could do a similar thing at Crestline also, using the unreg launch and land outside the club LZ.

Bottom line: I compiled this list as general pilot information, for the world we live in at the present not the one we wish it to be.

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Re: Non-insurance SoCal sites launch & land

Postby Rick Masters » Mon Jun 11, 2018 4:39 pm

I guess folks who want to go swimming get a bathing suit.
Since the greatest hang gliding launches are on mountains, I got a 4-wheel drive.
Or you could go fly Boring Pines with the paragldiers.
Any of you get a 4x4, I know 50 unregulated launches up Hy 395 with better XC potential than Crestline.
Yeah, I know.
I didn't fly most of them more than once.
I just used the lower southern ones and flew past the higher ones.
Ya don't need to drive all the way up if the day's any good.
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Re: Non-insurance SoCal sites launch & land

Postby Dshman » Mon Jun 11, 2018 9:21 pm

I hear fort funston is being challenged now also? Sure would be nice to have real free flight again.
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Re: Non-insurance SoCal sites launch & land

Postby Bob Kuczewski » Mon Jun 11, 2018 10:07 pm

Dshman wrote:I hear fort funston is being challenged now also? Sure would be nice to have real free flight again.

I'd like to know more about that!!

Please fill me in (either publicly or privately).

Thanks!!    :thumbup:
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