RGSA Web Site: http://rgsa.info    

Site Guide

Official RGSA Club Information

Site Guide

Postby RGSA » Tue Feb 17, 2015 9:04 am

THE RIO GRANDE SOARING ASSOCIATION FLYING SITES

The RGSA insures and maintains a number of sites in its region. Here is information on several sites. The following pilots can help you with flying our sites. Please contact one of them if you would like more information. We want you to have a fun and safe experience.

  • Robin Hastings (575) 541-5744 HG
  • Bill Cummings (575) 541-0803 HG
  • Mike Ellsworth (575) 937-4840 HG
  • Lee Boone (915) 256-1772 PG & HG
  • Had Robinson (915) 726-2698 PG

All pilots must abide by our site rules which can be read below. You will not be permitted to fly at our sites unless you agree to our site rules. These rules also apply to all visitors.

RGSA SITE PROTOCOLS Revised July 2012

  1. All participants in setup, launch, flight and landing activities should be current members of USHPA, having signed the current USHPA Release, Waiver and Assumption of Risk Agreement.
     
  2. All participants must comply with all FAA Rules and Guidelines applicable to the setup, launch, flight and landing activities at the site.
     
  3. All pilots must wear appropriate Safety Helmets during launch, flight, and landing.
     
  4. All pilots should perform a harness connection check before launching.
     
  5. Before flight operations are first conducted at a new flying site, the local FAA Branch and local general aviation operators should be notified of the operational area.
     
  6. In the event that other exempt air space uses are present in the vicinity of the flying site (ex: Radio Controlled Aircraft, Model Rockets, Kite Flying, etc…) coordination with those other uses should be made to minimize the risk of interference or possible mid-air collisions.
     
  7. All flight activities should be in compliance with USHPA PILOT PROFICIENCY SYSTEM - Standard Operating Procedures - 12-2.
     
  8. Launch Areas – Launch Areas should be clear of personnel (other than current USHPA members directly involved in flight operations), structures, and vehicles 50 feet forward and 30 degrees either side of center of anticipated take off course and 30 feet rearward of starting point target. (Distance is 75 feet forward for tandem flights.)
     
  9. Designated Landing Zones and Targeted Landing Areas – Spots designated or targeted for landings should be located at a minimum of 100 feet from overhead power lines and 50 feet from ground personnel, vehicles, structures, in-use roads and spectators.
     
  10. Clearance from Overhead Power Lines, Trees and Towers - Planned flight path should remain clear of overheard power lines, trees and towers by 75 feet. Launch points should be clear of overhead lines, trees and towers by 50 feet. Landing target spots should be clear of overhead lines, trees and towers by 100 feet.
     
  11. No planned flight should take place within 50 feet of spectators on the ground.
     
  12. When spectators are present or at organized events in areas where weather conditions exist that increase the chance of a glider inadvertently lifting-off, tie downs or other methods of securing the aircraft should be employed for unattended gliders, in the set-up and disassembly areas.
     
  13. Demonstration equipment at organized events should be manned and secured by authorized personnel until disassembled. Signs should be placed in front of all such equipment at events, cautioning the public not to attempt to utilize the equipment without supervision.
     
  14. At organized events the designated Safety Director will be responsible for designating a spectator and vehicle parking area clear of gliders in a manner reasonably calculated to separate spectators and vehicles from glider operations.
     
  15. At organized events, signs should be posted and/or personnel should be assigned at launch and landing areas to warn spectators and competitors to stay clear of launch and designated landing areas.
     
  16. At organized events, only USHPA pilots and approved competition staff who have signed a USHPA waiver should be allowed in the designated launch area.
     
  17. At organized events, only photographers approved by the event coordinator who have signed the USHPA waiver should be allowed in launch area or below launch area.
 
Remember that a hang check is required before launch at all RGSA sites, and a buddy check of your glider and harness is also strongly recommended. For Dry Canyon and La Luz, follow these two safety rules:

  1. If White Sands starts dusting up, it’s too turbulent to be safe. Don’t launch, or if you’re in the air, land as soon as you can get to the LZ. It is no fun being a leaf in the wind…
     
  2. If you find yourself near the launch ramp, looking up at it, start for the landing zone! You are already getting too low, a long way back from a landable area.

RGSA SITES

Dry Canyon (2400' AGL, launch 7000' MSL)
This is a thermal and ridge-soaring site above the city of Alamogordo, New Mexico. Access is by 4WD road. It’s rated Hang 3 and Para 3 with prior mountain experience. It is in a bowl, and may be flown in wind directions ranging from S/SE to due west, but the launch ramp faces due southwest, which is where the prevailing winds are from. The setup area at launch can accommodate about 30 hang gliders at once. It is not suitable for top landings. The HG launch is a concrete ramp about 15 feet long, sloping down at about 30 degrees. BEFORE LAUNCHING (HG or PG) PLEASE NOTIFY THE GERALD CHAMPION HOSPITAL HELICOPTER OPERATION, "NATIVE AIR", AT 575-635-3494. THIS LETS THEM KNOW THAT WE ARE FLYING, AND THEY WILL STAY CLEAR OF THE COX FIELD LANDING ZONE. In winds of 20 mph or more, the site becomes turbulent, and a wire crew becomes essential. The PG launch is 200 yards east, a smooth slope. It can accommodate only one PG at a time and is not suitable for top landings. The primary LZ is an 8-acre field about an 8:1 glide off to the west, located here: 32°55.706'N 105° 56.722'W. This landing zone ("Cox Field") is located just east of the Griggs Sports Complex in Alamogordo, near the intersection of Florida Avenue and Fairgrounds Drive. FOR SPECIAL EVENTS (LIKE A FLY-IN) WE ARE REQUIRED TO NOTIFY THE CITY OF ALAMOGORDO BEFORE USING THIS FIELD. CALL AT 575-439-4142. (Otherwise, just use it.) A sled run at Dry Canyon is typically 10 to 15 minutes in duration; soaring flights of several hours are common, and the XC record is 132 miles, set by Greg Chastain of Dallas, Texas. This site is located on Lincoln National Forest Service land, and is subject to use regulations pertinent to that agency.

La Luz (1100’ AGL, launch 6000’ MSL)
This is a thermal and ridge-soaring site above the village of La Luz, New Mexico, about 3 miles from the launch at Dry Canyon. Access is by 4WD road. It’s rated Hang 2 and Para 2, with prior mountain experience. It has 3 launches, facing southwest, west and northwest. The primary LZ is an enormous field about an 8:1 glide off to the west. The setup area can accommodate about 5 gliders at once. The SW launch is a slope about 20 feet long, sloping down at about 30 degrees. The NW launch is a slope about 10 feet long, sloping at 30 degrees. The west launch is a slope about 15 feet long, at 15 degrees. In winds of 20 mph or more, the site becomes turbulent, and a wire crew becomes essential. A PG pilot was hurt at this site in 2013 when launching in mid-day turbulence. Other hazards: Power lines across the east edge of the field. A sled run is typically 5 minutes in duration; soaring flights of several hours have happened, though, and the XC record is about 55 miles. Directions to LZ: From Hwy 54/70, go east on Hwy 82, Take a left at the blinking light that marks Florida Avenue, and go north about a mile to Valley View Dr., about 100 yards before the trees of the village. Go east on it a few hundred yards to where the field is accessible. This site's launch is located on Lincoln National Forest Service land, and is subject to use regulations pertinent to that agency.

Little Floridas (1100’ AGL, 5500’ MSL)
This site is used for ridge soaring and thermalling, near Deming, New Mexico. Access is via a 4WD road from near Rockhound State Park. It is rated Hang 2/Para 2, with the hang glider launch at a different location than the one suitable launch for PG’s. It faces west/southwest and has an enormous landing zone about 4:1 glide from the launch ramp. The launch is a plywood ramp about 12 feet long, sloped at 15 degrees. In winds of 20 mph or more, the site becomes turbulent, and a wire crew becomes essential. A sled run at the site is about 5 minutes, but soaring flights have been made, and the site XC record is 55 miles, set by Bill Cummings of Las Cruces who landed a few hundred yards from his house.

Matt's Mountain, also known as Magdalena Rim (600’ AGL, launch 5500’ MSL)
This is a thermal and ridge soaring site located 35 miles NW of Las Cruces, New Mexico. Access is via a 2WD road and a hike of 700 yards. (The RGSA has a cart built to transport hang gliders over that distance.) It is rated Hang 2 and Para 2. It faces southwest with a 10 acre landing zone about an 8:1 glide from launch. It is suitable for top landings as well. Setup area can accommodate any number of gliders. Discovered in 2012 by RGSA President Matt Hayes of Las Cruces, it was first flown in a PG by Hadley Robinson of El Paso and in a HG by Robin Hastings of Las Cruces. Launch is a smooth slope suitable for both HG and PG. In winds of 20 mph or more, the site becomes turbulent, and a wire crew becomes essential. A sled run at the site is about 3 minutes long, but soaring flights of an hour or more are common. The site XC record (as of spring 2015) is about 12 miles, set by Robin Hastings in 2013.

Guadalupe Rim (1420’ AGL, launch 6000’ MSL)
This is a thermal and ridge soaring site about 40 miles northwest of Carlsbad, New Mexico. Access is via 2WD road to the launch; access to the LZ, in the valley below, may hold some 4WD sections. It is rated Hang 2 and Para 2. Launch faces west and southwest, and is a smooth slope about 30 feet long. The LZ is in the valley below, about a 6:1 glide from launch, but the site is also suitable for top landings. This site is a north/south ridge above a vast valley, about 10 miles long. In winds of 20 mph or more, the site becomes turbulent, and a wire crew becomes essential. A sled run at the site is about 10 minutes long, but soaring flights of several hours are common. The site XC record is about 50 miles, down to the south end of the Guadalupe Mountains and back, set by Greg Chastain of Dallas, Texas.
DIRECTIONS: From US Hwy 285, about 10 miles north of Carlsbad, NM (or 24 miles south of Artesia, NM) pick up Hwy 137, The Queen Highway, and follow it about 37 miles to the tiny village of Queen, NM. Keep going, west and south, about 7 miles further to Rim Road 67, "National Livestock Road" (on Google Earth, now designated 413). It's a good, 2WD dirt road; follow it north about 9 miles to the campsite (on the east side) and the launch site (on the west side, just south of the camping site). Lat/lon is 32.254185 N, -104.893091 W. There is a top landing field just east of the campsites. To reach the valley floor, though, for pickup, do this: Go back to Hwy 137, turn right, and follow that pavement south-southwest about 5.5 miles to a dirt road leading north into the valley. Follow that about 13 miles (some parts might be 4WD, depending on maintenance) to the area where we usually land.
NOTE: This is a remote site! Fill up your tank in Carlsbad or Artesia, bring extra gasoline, water and other supplies, and include an extra spare tire if you want to prepare for everything. It is a fun place to fly, though, and there is an annual gathering there on Presidents Day weekend in February.

Agave Hill (600’ AGL, launch 5250’ MSL)
This is a thermal and ridge soaring site near Transmountain Pass at the northwest edge of El Paso, Texas. It is in the boundaries of Franklin Mountain State Park, and a waiver and small fee are required to fly it. Rated Hang 3/Para 3, or H2/P2 with an instructor present. Launch faces west. For hang gliders the launch is a long, shallow slope; the LZ is a brushy area about 1/2 mile due west.We strongly suggest that visiting pilots fly the site with a guide because of potential hazards in soaring the Franklin Mountains. Flights of several hours have been made here in PG’s, benching up from the hill using the Franklin Mountains behind launch. The site XC record is about 5 miles, set by Lee Boone and Hadley Robinson of El Paso in their PG's.

Anapra (200' AGL, launch 4000' MSL)
This is a ridge soaring and training site, located at the west edge of Sunland Park, NM. Launch faces east. It is a sandy hill with a large, brush-covered LZ a 1:1 glide from launch. Used primarily for training, there have nevertheless been soaring flights made there, most recently by John Theoret of Saskatchewan and Nate Wreyford of Texas. (Autumn 2014.) Its major hazard is a 20-ft high wall marking the US/Mexico border, at the site's south end. Do not cross that wall! If the wind is over 20 mph, this site can become turbulent, and a launch crew will be essential. A sled run takes about 1 minute or less. No XC flights have been made from here.

Kilbourne Hole (400' AGL, launch 4000' MSL)
This is a rather unique site. It is a large crater with a flat bottom, termed a "maar" by geologists. It is located about 20 miles northwest of El Paso, Texas, in southern Dona Ana County, New Mexico. The launch is a sandy slope, all around the roughly elliptical rim of the crater; it can be flown in almost any wind direction, but southwest winds allow the most altitude. The LZ is a large, flat area in the sandy bottom of the hole. It is rated H2/P2, and is used primarily for training flights, though soaring flights by PG's have been made. Top landings, just outside the crater, are possible, especially with a PG; retrieval from the bottom of the crater is difficult, as the road in (at the crater's west end) is sandy and in poor shape - definitely 4WD only. No XC flights have been made from this site.

Gardner Turfgrass, Inc. Sod Farms (4,081 ft MSL)
This is our primary training site for the towing of paragliders and hang gliders, located in Santa Teresa, New Mexico. The sod farms are each about ¼ mile in diameter and have the features under tow of a training hill 1000 feet high. Southwest Airsports offers reflex stationary towing for both PG and HG.

Gray Hill, west of Magdalena, New Mexico (500 ft AGL, launch 7600 ft MSL)
This is an unregulated site on BLM land about 12 miles west of Magdalena, New Mexico (which is about 30 miles west of Socorro, NM) discovered by Mike Ellsworth of Ruidoso and first flown on October 23, 2015. It is 7650' MSL and about 500' AGL, a cone shaped hill with a huge microwave relay tower on top. It has good access by 2WD from US Hwy 60. It is suitable primarily as a training site, though PG soaring flights have been made. First flown by Max Montgomery of Albuquerque in his PG, and by Robin Hastings of Las Cruces in his HG. It can handle wind directions of southwest, west, northwest, north and northeast. A secondary hill just west of Gray Hill ("Dan's Hill") is about 250' AGL, and can handle winds of east, south and west; it is easily accessible from the road with a 10-15 minute hike. It was first flown by Dan Blanchard of Artesia in his Falcon 195 HG. Landing zones are huge expanses of grass all around the hills. The only hazards are power lines to the east of Gray Hill. Rating: Estimate H1/P1.

Volcanic Peak (375 ft AGL, launch 4,675 ft MSL)
This is a north-facing site about 30 miles west/southwest of Las Cruces, New Mexico. First discovered by Terry Cummings in the 1990's, it was deemed inaccessible because of the terrible road up to the peak. In 2016 Bill Cummings and Robin Hastings found that the road has been upgraded and is now 2-wheel drive all the way. It was first flown by Bill in his hang glider on January 6, 2017. It has launches for both paragliders and hang gliders. There are several potential landing zones, large grassy areas with a few creosote bushes, about a 5:1 glide from the launch. Driving time from launch to LZ is about 10 minutes. This site will work for winds from the north to the northeast, with optimum wind speeds for soaring of 10 to 20 mph. Rated H2/P2.
User avatar
RGSA
Contributor
Contributor
 
Posts: 14
Joined: Fri Feb 06, 2015 1:26 pm

Return to RGSA Club Information and Weather.

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest