Hang Gliding in Oregon's Outback
The "Hang Gliding Capitol of the West" welcomes hang gliders with some of the most awesome and scenic hang gliding in the world. This site contains information for the many hang gliding sites in Lake County and Sugar Hill, California (Modoc County) and has been prepared to assist you in finding some of the many flying sites in the area. Always keep in mind that a site can rapidly change from Novice to Advanced to Insane depending on the weather conditions. Please use your own powers of observation and common sense before flying.
Conditions: Usual summer conditions begin with light southerly winds in the morning, increasing during late morning and early afternoon and swinging west late in the day. But hey, anything can happen. This is high desert country. Thermals are generally pleasant, but can be turbulent at times. The winds can vary in direction and velocity at different altitudes. Always be aware of your ability to penetrate. Water is extremely important. Carry at least a pint in your harness and stay hydrated. A snack is a nice touch if you have to spend the night out in the field. A space blanket is recommended, as is a light and signal mirror.
FM Radios are essential for safe operations. File a flight plan with your driver. The Visitors Center Phone or Hunter's Hot Springs RV Park can serve as a message point if you lose contact. Land near a road. There are lots of places where roads are few and far between and you may wind up packing your gear if you land too far "afield". Your rig needs a full tank of gas, charged FM radio, lots of water, food, maps, and a good first aid kit. Lakeview is a "safe" cross country area because of its many landing sites, but please respect the farmers' crops. Remember that "flat" fields near the foothills almost always have a downward slope. It is important to be able to detect wind direction in the air for landing. When landing in sagebrush, and there is lots of it in places, pretend that the ground level is at the brush top, flare appropriately, and drop the 2-3 feet to the ground. Remember to keep in mind the density altitude at launch and landing. The valleys are almost 5,000 feet MSL and high temperatures will raise the density altitude.
Flying in glass-off conditions may be hypnotizing. But, when the sun finally goes down, it gets very dark, very fast. The lift will continue, however, making it difficult to get down. Trust us on this.
First Time Flyers in this area:
Those of you flying here for the first time, remember that new situations are dangerous. Be conservative, be aware of hidden peer pressure, and listen to your inner self. If you are going to fly a demo glider, make sure you are already very comfortable with the site, slope, wind, etc. so that the only new variable is the glider.
We have been working with Lake County, Forest Services, and BLM for a long time and have an excellent relationship. There are plenty of good, improved, and approved, launch sites available. Please respect our efforts. Leave no litter, trash, or fires. Clearing of trees or developing your own launch site could cost us the entire area.
Please treat the locals well. They are enthusiastic, warm, and friendly folks. Although they may not be experts, each one has contributed in some way to make your flight possible. Thank them for it!
This information has been provided by Dave Baleria, USHGA #42283, and is used with his permission.