Madison Wisconsin Slope Flying Sites
discovered by Kou Vang
Giddens Park, Lake Mendota, Madison WI
A small park facing N-NW onto Lake Mendota. Located on the Isthmus on N. Brearly St. behind a Church just off E. Gorham St. Parking space available at the top. Grassy slope is mowed all the way down to the lake. The slope is gentle and is about 50-80 feet above the lake and 30-50 yards from the shore. A small area facing NW is free of obstructions, but more N are 3-4 trees that are at the base of the slope and affect flow a little, getting above the turbulence created by them you’ll be in smooth air. This site is advisable in N-NW-W-NNE winds of 10mph or more. Recommend HLGs and foamies, Zagi’s work great. Landing is a little tricky in the small area and there are large trees and houses around the perimeter of the park. Lift is very good, but you must get above the turbulence created by the trees. Hour flights in 10+ mph N and NW can be had. Soaring is several hundred feet high depending on wind conditions and incoming thermals from the north shore. Bring lead for NW winds at 15+ mph.
Near James Madison Park, behind Collins House and Lincoln School Apts. Lake Mendota Madison WI
On N. Blount St. off E. Gorham St behind the Lincoln School Apts. and Collins House. N. Blount St. ends in a dead end behind the Collins House. Either park off E. Gorham St and walk back or drive back and park temporarily in the no parking zone or in the parking area just as you enter. 100 ft walk to flying site. This is the best site I’ve flown in Madison. It faces NW onto Lake Mendota and is best in 10+mph NW winds, but workable in less wind and in N-W directions. Launch of the road that is about 50 feet above the water and 20-30 yards from the shore. The site has a large open grassy area just below the launch site where you could walk down to fly or you can stay perched at the launch site for better perspective. The open area will allow landing of bigger ships and is free of obstacles. Several 1 hour flights were spent there in 10 mph N-NW winds. Just watch out for the big building behind you, which also serves as a lift source. The tenants seem to enjoy my flying there. Recommended in 10+ mph winds NW, bring your bigger ships but leave the monsters at home. Lead required for NW winds at 15+ mph.
½ mile W of Picnic Point, Lake Mendota, Madison WI
A small open area for vehicle parking and jogging route this site offers good flying in 10+ mph winds N-NW. Best in N wind 10+ mph. This is a small open site facing N-NNW onto Lake Mendota. Tall trees around perimeter, but there is an opening to launch out into the lift, landing may be more difficult in the small area unless your OK with plowing into a bush or have a foamie. You are located on the middle of the slope therefore you can actually fly behind you. The face of the slope is only a shear 15-25 feet above the waves, but continuing above you is an extra 75-100 ft. This site is very enjoyable once you’re away from the trees and into the lift. I’ve had a couple 1 hr flights at 100-500ft altitudes. Its isolated so few spectators are around. An HLG or foamie should work fine anything else would be difficult to land.
Tenney Park, Off Sherman Ave. On Lake Mendota Shoreline, Madison, WI
Small 10 ft. slope, but good in NW-W winds at 10+mph, slope 20-100 ft. above the water. Bench available for sore necks. Small light planes OK
Olbrich Park, Off Atwood Ave., Lake Monona, Madison WI
This site is tricky to get to. It is on the SE edge of Olbrich Park and is not actually part of the park. You must go into the parking lot of an apartment complex and drive back behind the apartments to reach this site. The area belongs to the apartment complex, but be courteous and fly safely and we might not get kicked out. This site is the best site for W-SW winds 10+ mph. There is a grassy open area to land, but the planes must be launched off a small 10-20 feet slope located directly in front of the apartments and flown on the sloped area in front of apartments. There are no obstructions off the lake, so flying is smooth and good altitudes can be reached do in part to the buildings which produce lift. Flying is usually several feet out onto the Lake. Mid size planes may fair well here, but for the sake of the apartments I recommend foamies and HLG’s.
Orton Park, On Spaight St., Lake Monona, Madison, WI
Good site for S-SW-SE winds. A residential park, it is good for foamies and HLG’s. slope is 25-30 feet and 20 yards from the shore. Trees line the shoreline, but getting above them will produce descent lift. Winds best strait in at 10+mph from the SE. One of the more turbulent sites but available as an alternative in SW-SE wind directions. Foamies and HLG’s are best suited.
End of Elmside Blvd, Lake Monona, Madison, WI
This site is located at the end of Elmside Blvd on Lake Monona. A descent site for SW-S winds at 10+ mph. You are on a lower section of the slope to your right and left, after launching just fly to your right or left and look for the lift. Smooth lift allowing for 50-200 ft soaring heights over the water. Trees line shoreline so you’ll need to fly over them and houses are just behind you on the opposite side of the street. Landing is in the street so foamies and HLG’s only.
Petenwell Dam on the Wisconsin River, Necedah WI.
A decent place to fly if you are in the area and really itching to fly. The dam is flyable in many wind directions. With winds from the North, HLG’s and light foamies are advisable since there is not much slope on the north facing section, only a 10-15 ft high rock shoreline. Wind speeds need to be 10+ mph in order to flying directly above the water. Heights obtained are only 10-25 feet, but adequate when you really want to fly. The north face of the dam is bowl shaped so it can be utilized in E-W directions. The south face of the dam has a bigger slope, 25-50 ft, and can be flown in S winds 8+ mph, landing zones are on top of the dam and on the south face.