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Flying at Oacoma, South Dakota

Ahi on the shore of the Missouri River
Ahi on the shore of the Missouri River.

I stayed in Oacoma, SD for a couple of days on our way to Wyoming for the Solar Eclipse 2017 and, between family sight seeing including a couple of dams and the capitol at Pierre, I got in a bit of flying.

We stayed at the Arrowhead Cedar Shore Resort in Oacoma that is right across the Missouri Rover from Chamberlain, the HQ for many a slope trip to South Dakota. Mostly just passing through but since the resort is right on the shore of the Missouri River I thought, maybe, I’d get a chance to fly a bit. As it happened, time was short but the SE wind was a decent direction for a gander op the shoe north of the resort. I hit pay dirt about 1.5 miles north of Cedar Shore on some Public Land that had about a 30 foot slope with the wind coming straight in at about 15mph.

First time flying this shoreline slope that is 1.5 miles north of the Arrowhead Cedar Shore Resort in Tacoma, SD. Notice that the shoreline bends to the right past the trees for a more southerly direction, Plus, no trees!

My first bird in the air was, of course, the Weasel. I was only moderately hesitant to throw the plane in the air, not because I didn’t think the slope would work but because I’d left the wing screws and the Blenderm tape back at the hotel! No matter, I figured the magnets holding the Weasel-Trek together were strong enough for an exploratory flight and, after about 20 minutes I was proven right on both counts. The plane held together and the slope worked!

Even though I had no problem with the Weasel holding together with no wing screws, I didn’t want to try the same with the Ahi. That, and I wanted long pants to trek through the tall grass to get a bit further down the slope. So, back to the hotel I went. 15 minutes later I was back at the hill putting together the Ahi with wing screws and tape!

As I was putting together the Ahi I decided to add 2 ounces of ballast because the lift was a bit bumpy and I wanted to try to smooth it out a bit. Seemed to work fine as the Ahi grooved right out of my hand. By this time the wind had also picked up close to 20mph. I had a good flight just getting to know the Ahi and, while the lift was OK, I think the increased wind velocity started to blow the lift band out a bit. No matter if it stays int he air I’ll fly that thing!

My final flight of the day was another Weasel flight with the full confidence of a screwed and taped bird. Wonderful!

If you find yourself in the area and don’t want to drive to the bigger slopes outside of town, this is a very flyable shoreline slope that worked well in a Southeast wind. I think 12-15mph would be ideal for the dream-flight dream team of the Ahi, Weasel and Alula!

8/17/17

Connecticut Slope Soaring in Bloomfield

A nice grass NW slope about 80 feet high is located behind the Seabury retirement home on route 185 in Bloomfield. Park in the parking lot on top of the hill. The slope is owned by the town so don’t let rent-a-cops from the home say you can’t be there. There is an RC field out to the right of the hill so check frequencies if anyone is there.

  • GPS Coordiantes:
  • N 41 degrees  50.201 minutes
  • W 72 degrees 42.460 minutes

Have more slopes to share? Please post them. This sport depends on sharing our slopes.

Slope Soaring Sites in Connecticut near Bristol

A nice multi-direction site that has N, NW, W and E faces about 80 feet high is located on Perkins Street in Bristol, CT.

It is an old gravel mine area that is now a rustic dog walking area owned by the town. Use the nice parking lot they created and feel free to bring a weed whacker to clear off the top of the slope. The slope requires a 1000 foot walk from the parking area.

  • GPS coordinates:
  • N 41 degrees  41.595 minutes
  • W 72 degrees 57.938 minutes

A SW slope is on the west end of a large sloped field in Bristol. It is just east of a large factory complex on James P. Casey road. Use on weekends only. Park in pull out on the factory driveway at the bottom of the slope. Site is posted for snowmobile trespassing but has never been a problem.

  • GPS Coordinates:
  • N 41 degrees  41.617 minutes
  • W 72 degrees 58.677 minutes

Have more slopes to share? Please post them. This sport depends on sharing our slopes.

Rhode Island Slope Soaring

Jan sent in this info. Thanks for the first info about Rhode Island!

Here’s a link to a couple of slope sites in Rhode Island – yes, RI. Provided by Dr. Bill. Haven’t flown there myself. http://www.risoaringclub.org/

Jan says “It’s been a cold and rainy summer out on the Cape so far with very little chance to do any slope soaring due to closures. Looking forward to Labor Day.

Regards,
Jan

South Dakota Slope Trip April 2009

Dave and I went on an early season slope trip in mid-April 2009. We met Rob and about a dozen other dedicated slopers on Thursday and had a couple of good days of sloping at The Pasture in NE wind conditions.

Some of the highlights of the weekend were:

  • Maiden flights for several of DaveO’s planes including a Jart Lite, Ruby, Predator and Destiny.
  • Flying my V-Ultra both days. It has been too long and I love that plane!
  • Maiden flight of the McLean Vector2 that DaveK just finished. Gotta get mine done! That is a seriously excellent plane!
  • Listening to DaveK’s vacuum bagging technique tips.
  • Hanging with the Watertown boys.
  • Dinner at Charly’s

I’ll be heading out again for a few days in mid-May. Hope to get some DSing in them and look forward to seeing the crew again.

As always, if you are interested in sloping in South Dakota contact Rob. He will be able to tell you what you need to know if you want to join us.

Montana Slope Soaring in Missoula

Montana Slope Flying Sites

Jim Crook – Missoula jimcrook@marsweb.com
I have flown on a local hill, that seemed fine to me, but I have never been to a slope site that was known as a good site so I have nothing to compare my hill to. If you are in the area, and you are a sloper, maybe you can give an experienced evaluation.

Here are the directions to the hill in Missoula.

  • From Hwy 90 take the Reserve Street Exit.
  • Head north on Reserve (Reserve turns into Grant Creek at the highway).
  • Stay on Grant Creek for a couple of miles and turn right onto Glen Eagle Way.
  • Follow Glen Eagle until it dead ends.
  • Park there and walk up to the hill.

It looks like it is possible to drive up to the hill, but the owners will NOT be happy. Please walk up so the sire remains open.

These are locations we have had the privilege to fly. Some may have access restrictions.
Check with local flyers for information.

Fly Fult’s Hill near St. Louis

 

Missouri Slope Flying Sites

Fults Hill (OK so technically it is in Illinois, but it is only 45 minutes from ST Louis!)

This is a public park in rural Illinois about 45 minutes from downtown St. Louis, MO. Head South on Rt 3 to Waterloo, right on 156, make hairpin turn at abandoned gas station onto Bluff Rd., past village of Fults, look for sign on right that says Fults Hill. Hike up the left-hand trail (not the wooden stairs). Et voila.

It’s a pretty spot. A few pix are at:

http://mvsaclub.com/mvsa/Flying_Reports/Entries/2009/1/31_Fults.html

The flying is best with southwest winds, which luckily are the prevailing winds at the site.

For best info, check with Paul Luebke or Ken Trudeau of the Mississippi Valley Soaring Association.

Sloping in Frankfort, Kentucky

These are locations we have had the privilege to fly. Some may have access restrictions.
Check with local flyers for information.

Chris DSing a Wizard at the Frankfort slope. Photo: Ken Marks

Frankfort, KY Slope
Discovered by Dave Smith of the Bluegrass Soaring Society.

We have discovered a good slope here in the Frankfort, KY area that generates some major lift. It is in the 500-600′ range in terms of height and is quite extensive. It is quite flyable in anything form 5+ mph winds (S, SW or SE) for the bigger ships. The landing area is all grass (at least 10+ acres). The only disadvantage is that the slope is tree covered, so combat is a no-no, because recovery would become a little involved (though not impossible). Randy Elkins and Gordy of LASS have flown it and have likened it to Parker Mt. in So. Cal. in terms of lift. Will keep you or anyone else interested informed regards conditions if you would like to fly there sometime.

Local Pilots

Aj akbhat1@pop.uky.edu BSS, KY

The slope is situated on state-owned property located behind the state forensic labs in Frankfort. To get there from Cincinnati, take1-75 South to I-64 West. Take I-64 West and make your exit at EXIT #58 which is US 60 and head in towards Frankfort (i.e. go right) and then make a left on the East-West connector (about 2 lights, at the intersection of US 60 and US 421), and go about 1.5 miles downhill and turn left (this is the first possible left that you can make). Look for the Forensic Labs on the left (corner of the intersection) that are housed in a modern looking building that resembles the Titanic due to the numerous smoke stacks sticking out of the roof. Drive up the road till it dead-ends into some construction and make a right angle turn and head to the parking area behind the building.

You can park your vehicle in the paved lot, and just head up the gentle grade in the general direction of the communicationtower. Once on top of the ridge, follow the path left (about 200-250 meters) till you come to an area that has a distinct clearing and you can look out over this fantastic but rugged slope. The landing area is to the rear and is mostly grassy (at least 10 acres) with one main area of trees and some very thorny bushes (the thorns are an inch or longer, so avoid this area at all costs).

The slope is best flown when the winds are from the South or Southwest. My first outing with my 60″ EPP Blue Max, was a great success, wind out of the south at about 10-15 mph. Toss the plane out and watch that baby climb almost vertically up and out. The best lift is to the right of the launch area, heading out towards the communication tower. Surprisingly, the lift zone prevails to at least an eighth of a mile out (extending out over the fields at the bottom of the slope). There is decent thermal activity in this area, as evidenced by the sudden lulls that we experienced, accompanied by major lift. Buzzards and other feathered friends are also abundant in this area, and are good indicators of lift. The drawback of this slope is its ruggedness, while its finer points include a reasonably large grassy landing area. It is probably not wise to fly too close to tree level, especially at the lower elevations of the slope except in good lift conditions, otherwise it is quite a long trek down to recover the downed plane. Combat maneuvers at this slope could also be hazardous to both you and your plane, for the very same reason. Buzz has suggested using the fields at the bottom as an emergency landing area in case recovery becomes impossible…. a most excellent idea. The fields appear to be accessible by road, and I’m sure we can get permission to do this when it becomes necessary. All in all, an excellent slope that can be flown by all. So gentlemen if you have anything reasonably rugged and flyable, come on out and enjoy.

For even more info on this site check out:

Frankfort Slope

Thanks to Ben Wilson!

Slope Flying – Chicago Style!

Slope flying in Chicago? Yep, thanks to the Forest Preserve District of DuPage County access to the Greene Valley Hill is available on weekends with a valid permit from the Preserve Office call Visitor Services at (630) 933-7248 for more info.

Slopin’ over Chicago

From the Forest Preserve website:

The 190-foot Greene Valley hill is open to the public on weekends from 11 a.m. until 6 p.m., spring through fall. A road leads from the base of the hill to a parking lot at the top, where visitors can get a bird’s-eye view of DuPage County as well as the Chicago skyline. Revenue generated from Greene Valley disposal operations, which ended in 1996, covered construction costs.

The introduction of native grasses and shrubs on the hillside will combine conservational and recreational objectives, attracting native songbirds and wildlife while providing visual relief for preserve passersby.

Model glider and sail-plane owners with valid District permits can fly their crafts from the hill. For permit information, call Visitor Services at (630) 933-7248.

Brian’s P-63 at Grene Valley

Location: About half a mile south of 75th Street and Greene Road in Naperville, IL.
The website http://www.dupageforest.com/Conservation/Forest_Preserves/Greene_Valley.aspx provides directions and a map.

Best wind direction(s):

  • South is optimal but it is flyable with winds ranging from SE to SW.
  • Easterly winds are probably next best.
  • Northerly winds are also flyable.
  • West winds are unusable.

Time available: Saturdays and Sundays from 11:00AM to 6:00PM

Access restrictions: Requires a DuPage County model airplane permit which can be obtained through the mail or in person at the address given on the application form:

http://www.dupageforest.com/recreation/annualmodelair.pdf

Until there’s a frequency control board, flyers need to check in with the ranger at the top of the hill and provide frequency information.

Related Links

Greene Valley Slope Site – http://www.dupageforest.com/Conservation/Forest_Preserves/Greene_Valley.aspx

Hawaii – Polipoli slope soaring

Polipoli is Maui’s “Bunny-slope”. It is the place to fly if you’re learning to fly something slow like a Gentle Lady. It’s also a great place if you’re interested in lazing in the sun flying a gentle gas-bag like the Lady or the Olympic II.

Thermal Soaring at Polipoli
Thanks to Duane Asami for permission to use this info.

Polipoli is a very scenic area on the slopes of Haleakala about 3,600 feet above sea-level. Located in Kula, it overlooks the isthmus that connects Haleakala to the West Maui mountains. I learned to fly gliders on this slope, as did many of the people in our club. Polipoli is a gorgeous spot to spend a quiet family outing enjoying the scenery. Often, the R/C glider folks can be found thermalling lazily for many peaceful hours.
Read more

Hawaii – Waihe’e slope soaring

These are locations we have had the privilege to fly. Some may have access restrictions.
Check with local flyers for information.

Sloping the Kapuna Point Sea-Cliff at Waihe’e
Thanks to Duane Asami for permission to use this info.

In May of 1998, Alvin Battad of Kahului set the current A.M.A. Class-A Slope Duration Record at Kapuna Point. Members of M.I.S.O. met at 5:00 a.m. to get ready for Al’s flight and after much prodding, Al launched his Mel Culpepper designed Hummingbird at 5:40 a.m. Twelve-hours-twenty-eight minutes later, he landed with a great suntan and a new A.M.A. Record.

Kapuna Point, generally called Waihe’e (the nearest town) by the local fliers, is a small sea-cliff north of Wailuku. The flying there is great and the lift is endless when the trade-winds blow. Unfortunately, the landings there are not as wonderful as the flying. This is not the place to toss an expensive glass or carbon plane like a Vindicator. If you have a foamie or a less expensive hard-body plane, fine. You may get it home in one piece or you may have some new dings to reminisce about after you leave here. I learned to fly aileron ships at Waihe’e and I’m glad I started with a DAW P-51 foamie Mustang.

Planes that do well here are mostly the foamies, only because of the landing area. The DAW Foamie Mustang, the Studio-B EPPee, the Zagi, the Foameron, etc. Hard-bodies like CR’s Renegade and Excel fly very well here, but take a beating on the landings. When the winds are light, it’s also possible to fly polyhedral ships here such as the Gnome 2meter and the Sophisticated Lady.

WARNING: Before you fly at Waihe’e, you must understand one inviolable rule. You are not allowed to fly when there are people on horseback anywhere in the area. If there are people on horse-back anywhere in sight, DO NOT LAUNCH! If you are in the air when they enter the pasture, LAND THE PLANE! We are allowed to fly at this site only because we have the permission of the ranch which owns the pasture. They run trail rides for tourists. If your plane spooks a horse, someone could get hurt so they don’t allow anyone to fly when riders are anywhere in the area. If you can’t live with this restriction, don’t fly here…some of those cowboys take this stuff very seriously. There are several tales of fliers breaking these rules and being thrown out or punched out!

Finding this site is not particularly difficult. Follow Kahului Beach Rd. north-bound from Ka’ahumanu Ave. (the main highway connecting Kahului to Wailuku) along the coast past the harbor. Take Waiehu Beach Rd. (340) to the intersection with Kahekili Hwy. (330) Turn right and Kahekili Hwy. 330 becomes Kahekili Hwy. 340. Follow Kahekili Hwy. (340) to mile-marker 5, then measure exactly .5 (half) mile from the mile-post marker to a paved shoulder where you can park. Look out over the sea-cliff and you should see a natural arch in the rocky shoreline to the left and directly below you should be a short stick with a couple of plastic streamers on it.

Before you launch, check the wind. If it’s blowing at least 10 mph and if it’s blowing directly into your face from the sea, you’re alright. If it’s from the left, the lift is going to be poor and hard to fly. If you do decide to launch, look for lift way out on the right, just outside the cliff face and beyond the stand of ironwood trees. If the wind is from the right, DON’T LAUNCH. Flying at Waihe’e can be great but losing a plane there can happen in seconds and can be very permanent. It may look like a small pasture with short brush, but there are large (100″ span) planes still lost in the bushes there.

Flying at Waihe’e is wonderful. The view is great, the lift is nearly endless and it’s a ten minute drive to the nearest McDonald’s. Launch and fly straight towards the sea. Don’t expect much lift before you pass the cliff-face because it isn’t always there. Stay away from the bowl area on the right if you don’t have lots of altitude, the air gets really dirty really fast back there.

The landings at this site are interesting. Generally, you use that dirty air in the bowl on the right to kill off altitude as you approach from the right. Drop below the level of the hill to make your approach. As you climb, your plane will lose energy so you should be just above stall as you get to the top of the hill and can land without skidding too far. The landings are generally cross wind here, otherwise you’ll be landing with your plane speeding towards you. Not so bad if you judge the approach perfectly but not to great if you misjudge and put the plane into the fence or your car. Also, be careful of the short scruffy looking bushes, they eat carbon-fiber wings for lunch.

Local Pilots

Duane Asami

South Florida Slope Site

Update 08/05/03:

Regarding the “South Florida Slope Site” post from Charles Lillo, the park he referred to is called Vista View Park and is now open to the public. However, radio-controlled model aircraft are not and never were permitted there.

Along with a growing group of interested local glider flyers and AMA Flying Site Assistance Coordinator Joe Beshar, I am currently in the process of attempting to obtain the permission of Broward County park management to use the hill there for slope soaring. If successful, we intend to form an AMA chartered club called the Vista View Slope Soaring Society.
Read more

Slope Soaring Without Mountains

Check out this site at:

http://www.ov-10bronco.net/users/merlin/flight/slopesoar.htm

Here is a brief excerpt.

“Believe it or not, slope soaring is entirely possible here in sunny Florida, despite the fact that within 30 miles of the coast the ground rarely gets more than fifty feet above sea level. While our thermals in the summertime have been known to lift small houses off their foundations, the cooling seabreezes that form much of the year are a convenient source of lift along our beaches. Slope soaring is not difficult for anyone who is capable of flying a model sailplane safely. It also offers some unique qualities and opportunities not found in thermal flying. This section will cover a beach environment like we have in Florida, but applies also to any slope with a bit of flat area in front… hills, mountains, large flat-sided buildings, highway overpasses, etc.”

Mild Slope Site Near Orlando

Chris Wells sent in this story.

Site: Carlos Canyon

Description: a pit with 25-30′ of slope, soarable in 270′ of wind direction. (South winds are no good) Probably needs a 20 mph wind to be soarable for most gliders, a Zagi THL is fine on 10-15mph.

Location: off of route 27, maybe a mile north of I4 & 27.

Directions: Go north on 27 off of interstate 4. After about a mile, there is an intersection with a Walgreen’s. Continue north on 27 and take the next right. Go straight onto the dirt road, and if you don’t have 4WD you want to take a right at the fork, since there is deep sand going straight. Watch out for sharp objects. The road on the right ends at the NW corner of the pit. You can also drive down the main road to the NE corner, don’t drive around the pit itself unless you have 4WD: the sand is incredibly soft.

Ted Sent In Info on Slope Flying at Lake Okeechobee in Florida

Hello Greg, I have been soaring the only site I knew of near Lake Okeechobee until I saw your links. I put together a web page describing it for anyone interested in it.

Just wanted to let you know of a new site for Florida flyers. I found your website a week ago, and saw your “Flying site” section for Florida, and clicked on it to find a site right down the street from me! WOW!….In flat Florida!

I have been soaring the only site I knew of near Lake Okeechobee until I saw your links. I put together a web page describing it for anyone interested in it. I have been flying R/C for 25 yrs, Hang gliding for 10yrs and slope flying for about a year. I am now an R/C slope junkie, bigtime.

Please link my site to your flying site section to benefit any other FL flyers that are looking for somewhere to fly.

Thanks for the great site.

Ted J Conowal

http://www.geocities.com/mod_gotha1/SB_ZAGI.html?1108273934213

Thanks, Ted!

The Dynamic’s First Flight in Florida

Mirko sent in this report on slope soaring in Florida the 30 foot dunes at Merrit Island located about 10 miles north of Cape Canaveral. If you look closely at the photos you will see the gantries in the background for shuttle launches!

We drove from Orlando to this area (Titusville) in a little over an hour. Merritt Island is a viable slope. It is situated just 10 miles or so north of Cape Canaveral with a series of continuous dunes of about 30 feet high. Facing ENE, these bluffs are completely covered with vegetation, where walking is forbidden. Every several hundred yards there are raised, wooden decks that transverse the dunes. These walkways are the only access to the beach area.

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Slopes in the Clearmont, Florida Area

Greg from Florida sent in several slopes in and around the Clearmont area. Nice to know that there is sloping going on in Florida!

1 – There is a slope behind the Bob Evans restaurant on SR 27 off of Johns Lake Rd 2 minutes south of were SR 50 & SR 27 cross which is good for a south wind only. It is approx. 250 ft wide by 30 ft high and a good 45% angle all short grass with a large plateau to land on behind the top, But there are power lines at each end followed by two busy roads, Accurate flying is a must.

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Slope Soaring in Colorado

With all the mountains in Colorado you’d expect some great sloping, and you’d be right!

These are locations we have had the privilege to fly. Some may have access restrictions.
Check with local flyers for information.

Loveland Pass, Colorado
reported by Kou Vang

US Hwy 6 bypass off interstate 70 before entering the tunnels. You climb about 2000 ft. on hairpin roads to 11,900 feet. Parking is available and trails lead even further up the mountains. As part of the Rocky Mountain chain and the Continental Divide you can fly either off the East face or the West face depending on wind direction. Should be flyable in any other wind direction that may develop. The day we were there it was extremely windy 25 mph or more from the East so I flew off the East face. There are 500-2000 ft. drop-offs, which create enormous lift generating 500+ ft of flying altitude. I was not prepared and only flew for 30 minutes. Bring gloves, coat, and water if you plan to fly because the wind is cold and the air is thin. If not flying just stop by for the beautiful view. The pass is open when weather permits.

Denver, Colorado

Check out Ian Frechette’s reviews of Denver area slope sites.
http://www.houseofthud.com/Denver_RC_soaring_sites_reviewed.html

Slope Soaring in California (North)

There are numerous great spots for slope soaring in Northern California. This article has links to other sites with more info

These are locations we have had the privilege to fly. Some may have access restrictions.
Check with local flyers for information.

Northern California

Davenport is about 15 miles north of Santa Cruz just off HWY 1. The flying site is just across the highway from Big Creek Lumber. You’ll see a small hanger with a windsock on top and the runway at the cliffs edge. ( Imagine crosswind landings in a 310 or Baron! ) Find a parking place on the ocean side and follow the trail to the cliff’s edge.

Sunset State Beach is a few miles south of Santa Cruz near Watsonville. Wind normally builds in the afternoon. Not really a morning spot. Go here for directions:
http://udel.edu/~lisansky/sunset.html

There are many places near San Francisco. Check out this site for more info.
http://www.geocities.com/soaringbythebay/

or Axel’s Bay Area Soaring Information at:
http://home.comcast.net/~axelb/start.html

If you are in the East Bay area try:
http://www.soarheads.com

Around Trukee, Tahoe and Grass Valley try Rob Crockett’s Gold Country R/C Soaring site:
http://www.ncws.com/rcrock/sites.htm

Slope Soaring in California (South)

Southern California boasts some of the most famous slopes in our sport. This article includes links to other sites with more information.

These are locations we have had the privilege to fly. Some may have access restrictions.
Check with local flyers for information.

For Torrey Pines info:
http://www.torreypinesgulls.org/

List of the best sloping spots in SoCal:
http://www.sloperacing.com/sites/locations.htm

Jon Paul sent this link with info on sites in Santa Barbara, Ventura, Malibu and Playa del Rey:
http://www.geocities.com/jpberti/rc.htm

Southern California Soaring Clubs:
http://www.sc-2.org/

Inland Slope Rebels
http://www.inlandsloperebels.com/index.htm

Wisconsin Slope Flyers Rejoice! We Have a New Slope Site in Southeast Wisconsin

The long wait is over. Things turned out a bit differently than we’d originally planned but our friends and fellow club members at AstroWings of Wisconsin helped us finally gain access to one of our local “Holy Grail” slope spots. Thanks to AstroWings, and especially Roger Zahn, as well as the folks at Waste Management for this opportunity.
Read more

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