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Hang gliding in the greater Lakeview area

PostPosted: Sun Jan 09, 2011 11:40 pm
by derk
We are fortunate to live in one of the prime hang gliding areas of the country: The greater Warner Mountain / Lakeview area. I am flying for 20+ years, in many places and on many continents, but this here is one of the best areas for our sport. It's probably 10 years ago that I flew famous Sugar Hill the 1st time and almost as many years that I live here, at the foot of Fandango Peak. For those who don't know, that's the peak you have to jump over from Sugar to go cross country. Just a little over 20 min and I am at launch of our greatest flying site. I am lucky I guess. And there are many other sites around of equal quality. Conditions from spring to summer are pretty consistent and a 30 mi Sugar to Lakeview glass off is easily doable every few days. People are very welcoming. We have excellent relationships with the ranching community, who is providing us with plenty of LZs, the Forest Service and BLM, who provide us with all these great launch sites. Local businesses and the local Chamber of Commerce here in Surprise Valley, which I am a member of, welcome visitors.
Heck, a close friend of mine, Rancher and private land owner, who owns one of our great launch sites, which is listed on the Lakeview Chamber of Commerce website, told me laughing "It's all yours, do with it what you want".
Sounds like hang gliding paradise, doesn't it?

If there wouldn't be one big problem (Well maybe two because there is also the long and cold winter). There are not enough of us hang glider pilots up here. We are only a handful, and I guess not the youngest anymore. We need more pilots and people who are interested in this sport to be able to keep flying for a while, to help maintaining our sites, to support each other in the sport, to share resources and driving duty. We have plans to acquire a scooter tow winch for the days we don't want to or can't get up to launch, like winter and early spring when the roads to our launch sites are still covered in deep snow. There is endless space for towing around here. I am personal friends with many of the ranchers around who are more than happy to let us use there fields.

So I recently heard of the story of Sara Martin of Lakeview, OR. I am a personal friend of her mother for many years. Sara is enthusiastic about learning to hang glide. And that's what we need up here. Not only one but many young people who are enthusiastic about getting into this sport. It appeared as if a small minority of people who are to a varying degree related to hang gliding in this area felt threatened by Saras aggressive approach to promote hang gliding. Too bad, because that's exactly what we need and no one else is doing it, trying to get new people involved. 2 of her major opponents, not even hang glider pilots, voiced their opposition the loudest.

I guess it's time to stand up. as one of the local pilots, and voice my support for Sara and everyone else up here who wants to get into hang gliding for that matter. All the names of the long time local pilots just went through my head and I can assure you Sara and everyone who reads it: The majority of the local pilots support your efforts to learn hang gliding!

Don't be mislead by that small minority making a big fuss about - I don't even know what. They will get over it eventually.

I have a huge stack of accumulated HG magazines I want to get rid of. Would be a great read for you and keeps the enthusiasm up during these short and cold winter days. The next time I am over in Lakeview I'll drop them at your place.


Re: Hang gliding in the greater Lakeview area

PostPosted: Mon Jan 10, 2011 3:49 am
by derk
I tried to attach a picture from high above sugar in my previous post but somehow it failed. Anyway, here is another try:
Looking West from high above sugar


Re: Hang gliding in the greater Lakeview area

PostPosted: Mon Jan 10, 2011 11:10 am
by flystraw
I totally agree with Derk. I am a local hang glider pilot and I have been flying the Lakeview area since 1989. I have flown Sugar Hill every year since 1990 and I am sure that I have arrived in the town of Lakeview by air more times than I have driven there. My wife and I {also a pilot} bought property here in 1992 and have spent all of our summers here since then and have been here year round since 2000. Derk is absolutely right about this being a paradise for hang gliding. Over my years here I have flown 4 different east facing sites in Surprise valley and pioneered 2 different sites very local to me in Modoc County. I have also flown all the regular "Lakeview" sites and the greater Lakeview sites, Black Cap,Palisades, Tagues, Doherty, Hadley. In the mid 90's when the late great Bob Ortiz was here helping us build our house we started flying in the evenings. We used to start work early, and at 4.00pm we would head out to fly either Hat Creek 60miles west or Sugar hill 40 miles NE. This is when we discovered that the evening glass off from Sugar could take you quite effortlessly to Lakeview, once you jumped the gap. Since then this has been my favorite flight and I have done this flight so many times now, alone, and with multiple different flying friends, and it is still my favorite.

I do also enjoy some midday XC in the Lakeview area but usually only do this when I have friends in town also wanting to do midday flights and we can make the more complicated preparations for this kind of flight. This year during the Umpteenth annual, when the winds were east a few of us flew the east side of the Warner mountains most days and had great midday flights of around 30 miles to the south which is an unusual direction during the summer. Cedarville in Surprise Valley is a wonderful friendly and quaint little town with a lot of "alternative" folks and businesses.

I also recently heard of the story here and elsewhere about Sara Martin. I am also a friend of Sara's mother and met her when we were both volunteering at some mutual friends some years ago, to help build an aviary. ... ation.html These folks are wonderful folks and some years back when they had an eagle that had a broken wing and would never fly again I bought a tandem glider and got my T1 and was working towards my T3 so I could take Bill and this poor flightless eagle {Datura} for a flight, Unfortunately Datura died of a foot/talon infection before this happened. It is still my goal to get my T3 possibly this year so I can take these wonderful people who devote a lot of their time to injured birds and other wildlife for a tandem flight.

We definitely do need more pilots in this sport and I and the majority of Pilots in the greater Lakeview area are definitely prepared to assist enthusiastic young pilots in their endeavors and help to point them in the right direction for instruction. I will consider taking any new pilots that gain a hang one in this area for tandem flights to further their goals.

Hang glider pilots everywhere are aging, and getting some younger folks into the sport can only help its survival

Sara I believe there are more folks here that would love to see you attain your dreams and I would just dismiss the rantings of the non-pilots that do not know how to conduct themselves on a public forum. I understand that you have now tasted flight by going tandem and I fully understand the urge to go flying again and again.

Here is a picture arriving in Lakeview from Sugar on the evening of September 29th 2003


Here is a picture my wife took at Hat Creek also back in 2003


What a fantastic sport. We should try and share it as much as we can.

Roger Jackson

Re: Hang gliding in the greater Lakeview area

PostPosted: Mon Jan 10, 2011 8:23 pm
by SamKellner
Derk and Roger,

Great posts! :clap: :thumbup: :thumbup: :clap:

I have already threatened to move to Lakeview.

You Guys are killin' me with the 20min to launch stories. :cry:

Nice pics! What a view!

Thanks & fly safe,

Re: Hang gliding in the greater Lakeview area

PostPosted: Wed Jan 12, 2011 8:24 am
by Bob Kuczewski
Hi Sam,

You would set a good example in Lakeview on how pilots can come together to form a club. The SW Texas club has been a joy to work with. The relationships between your members and the community is fantastic. Thanks for all your hard work!!

Bob K.