Thoughts of a Slope Flying Convert

Before my recent slope flying trip to South Dakota, my slope flying was rather limited. The slopes I had flown on either were so hard to stay up consistently on, or I was worried about flying out over trees. Besides I could thermal fly a couple of miles from my house. Lucky for me, I was open-minded and gave slope flying a real chance. The following are a few of the reasons that I have a new interest in slope flying.


Trying different slopes; the scenery, the lift conditions, the challenge of the landing zone provided new variety for me. I am the type of person that likes to explore, I try new trout streams, bike trails, or web sites on the Internet, it is what makes life interesting. Thermal and power fields are pretty much the same, but it looks like there can be a wide variety in slopes.

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South Dakota Slope Trip 2002 notes by Bill Kuhl

Ed Berris did a great job of describing the September slope trip to South Dakota, I just wanted to add a few comments and offer the digital pictures I had taken. This was my first sloping trip to South Dakota, but it will not be my last. Most of my sailplane flying has been thermal soaring, but I have a new appreciation of slope soaring after this trip.

Taking a trip like this, you have to look at the whole experience, not just the flying. All the things you learn, the camaraderie of being around other people with similar interests, and enjoying the outdoors, no matter what the weather is like. I picked up more soaring knowledge during the meals we shared, than reading a month of Soaring Exchange.

Emil and Larry had their JW’s in the DS grove together


Observing DS for the first time was a real treat. Watching it on video, makes it look much easier than it really is. Even the very experienced pilots were bashing the hill because their planes were caught in turbulence around the DS groove. I really have an appreciation of the durability and performance of the newer EPP slope planes, how these planes survive repeated crashes on the rocky slopes is beyond me. I joked with the guys, “Imagine if DS was discovered when everyone flew balsa sailplanes?”

As far as my flying, in three and a half days of slope flying, I must of accumulated more stick time than most power flyers in my local club put in during an entire season of flying. But, next trip I will have at least one JW for sure.

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South Dakota Slope Trip September 2002

If you asked anyone that attended this last trip to Chamberlain you would hear what a great time we all had. The first two days of the trip we encountered overcast and occasional rain but the winds cooperated even on those days. By the third day the winds were blowing about 35mph (my guess) and the weather warmed up quite a bit. Sunday was warm and the winds were steady at about 15 to 20 mph, which made for great flying conditions.

About 25 people made the trip this year. Bill Grenoble and Rick Rensi drove all the way from PA to fly with us. Their van was packed with some great looking and flying models of all descriptions. Bill’s sense of humor added to the fun we were already having before we ever arrived in South Dakota. Back at the motel Bill and Rick both buzzed  the parking lot with their small electrics and made a few carrier landings (that’s what they said they were in an effort to save face) on the roof of the motel building.
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Central Coast Area – Sheboygan, Manitowac and Kewaunee

Central Wisconsin Coast Slope Flying Sites

The Kewaunee slope

Kewaunee is about 30 miles north of Manitowoc. There is a very good site on the lake just after the Marina. As you pass the Marina on HWY 42, turn right on Hathaway Drive and follow it to the stop sign. Turn left to go up the hill. At the top of the crest is probably the best place to fly; there is a decent landing area between the road and the bluff. This road is a ridge road for a while. Direction is East to ESE. The interesting twist here is that there is a west facing bluff less than 100 yards from the lake bluff. This could offer Dynamic Soaring possibilities whenever there is a west wind – or even when there is an East wind.
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Sloping in Stoughton Wisconsin

Wisconsin Slope Flying Sites

Sand Hill Middle School- Stoughton WI
submitted by Clayton Greaves

Here’s my slope infected son, age 3, launching my Boomerang at Sand Hill Middle School. What form!!!! The slope is approximately 50′ above the cornfield with about a 30 degree grade. This site, 4 blocks from my home only works with West winds.

Best success here is with lightly loaded hand launch gliders such as my 11 ounce Monarch or 10 ounce Zagi THL to my favorite 15 ounce Boomerang. Before we owned lighter ships we found this site a challenge with 20+ ounce combat Zagis- even in the strongest winds. the foreground is a huge 3/4 mile flat corn field, so the lift band, though narrow, is quite clean.  Even in the best of conditions the lift here is only fair. Combat at this site is possible but would likely be marginal compared to other venues.

Directions: From Madison Take Hyway 51 ten miles south to county highway B. B is for bank- as you crest a hill and on the corner of B is.. you guessed it, a bank branch office out in the middle of hundreds of acres of corn fields.  Turn left and you will immediately see the slope a mile up the road on the right. Turn at the first Right turn, Lincoln Street. The second drive enters the school grounds, around the south side of the building and the slope site on the edge of this playground.

Have fun and impress you friends side slipping you plane between the row of basketball hoops. Balsa ships “need not apply” Be sure to search for lift off the north end of the building ( visible in the photo background).. the stone surface adds thermals in warm conditions.

Note that visits to this site would need to be limited to evenings and weekends so as to not interfere with school activities, kids drooling on the windows, missing class etc. The janitors have been very friendly and once lent an assist when my plane found it’s way onto the roof.

Where’d it go?

Local Pilots

Clayton Greaves

Sloping in Verona Wisconsin

Site Report: Badger Prairie Park, Verona WI
submitted by Clayton Greaves

This slope is adjacent to a gas model field atop the landfill shown in the photos I have attached. Thusly, if you want to befriend fellow modelers at the field it is good practice to stop by- let anybody know where you will be flying and post your frequency to the control board.

This aeromodeling field is administered by the Dane County Parks. An annual user permit is $12 from the parks office. Occasional users could of course pass on this expense and post your AMA card, but don’t say you heard that from me…

South winds are best at this marginal lift site. South Southeast works too but any further to the east and the adjacent highway overpass obstructs the approaching winds. I have a good picture of this area and the obstacles involved. Southwest winds are problematic due to a grove of trees right in front of the slope but due south has the wind coming straight up the hill cleanly. Early this year there was a 36-minute flight with a Boomerang wing. My personal best is about 22 minutes with my Monarch HLG. I recommend you leave the lead sleds in the car when you arrive here. I often profit from thermals here on warm days, the asphalt road ahead of the hill probably contributes to this.


From Madison take 151 South about 6 miles to the first Verona exit. At the first stoplight the slope is too your immediate right and hard to miss. There is a frontage road along the south face that leads to the currently active section of the landfill. If the gate is open you can park right at the base of this 50ish foot hill slope. If not, park along the West side or in the lot at the aeromodeling field and walk out to the edge, about 100 yards. I consider this site marginal when compared to the Big M in Platteville but since this is an eight minute drive from my office it makes for a refreshing lunch break stop.

Local Pilots
Clayton Greaves

Base of the slope looking West.

View from the top. Road is due South, tree grove on the right creates turbulence in Southwest winds.

View East from the top. Too much East and this highway overpass comes into play.

Wisconsin Slope Flying Site near Black Earth

Wisconsin Slope Flying Site near Black Earth

by Clayton Greaves

Ceder Ridge Campground
is located 20 minutes drive from Madison’s West side on highway 78 midway between Black Earth WI and Prairie Du Sac Wi. 78 crosses US 14 a couple miles West of Black Earth, turn North on 78.

Below several pictures describing the approach from the south via Black Earth. Turn Right off Highway 78 to Dunlop Hollow Road approximately 5 miles up the road.

The images show the approch to the slope, road sign, the campground entry, the next shows the road up the back side of the slope and the final shot, with the cross is the slope site. If you look carefully at the approach shot the slope is visible in the background. Magnify and look for a white cross at the very top of the face of the hill…

This slope faces Southwest. Huge lift in 15+mph. South winds are blocked by a nearby hill. West winds are workable but increasingly challenging.due to obstructing trees and the lack of a west facing pilot position.

This is a foamy only site with very little margin for error on landing. The narrow landing area behind the pilot position at the cross is surrounded by high trees. In strong winds you fly over the top and drop down in the campsite behind. Hairy stuff, especially for the uninitiated.

Camping is available though primitive. The owner welcomes glider fliers and there is a camp fee box at the entrance shack where I drop a $5 bill as I pass. Rarely do I see any sign of life at the gate.

The area is infamous for its proliferation of folks of, shall we say “alternative” sexual orientation- Mazomanie nude beach overflow is my theory here…Overnighting at Cedar Hills is not high on my “adventure meter”, though the idea of awaking and immediately stepping out onto a slope is quite appealing.

The solid granite faces of the hill are rugged going when descending to claim a downed plane… beepers pay off here. I once hit the stone, nose in, “full tilt boogie” in combat with my original Zagi LE. The wing bounced several feet, rolled inverted, wabbled and continued to fly away… Amazing and memorable stuff. Pine trees around the crest provide cover from falling (plane) debris – kind of… In a head on collision my wing went belly to the wind and charged back at us and through the pilot position it impacted a tree at a dangerously high rate of speed and feet from my startled opponent–“crunch, splinter” .. ” I planned that”. The evergreen in question is to the right in the cross photo. This is the best and relatively safest place to stand. There is a nice swing out there on the corner but the best seat is right on the stone face, feet dangling over in the wind.

Plan dinner or cocktails at the new Rookies restaurant at the 14 and 78 intersection, then go buy rock climbing shoes at the famous and prolific Shoe Box shoe store in Black Earth a mile East. Both local landmarks are owned by the same fellow.

Cedar Hills fills a role for Madison slope- a- holics who for need of time or spousal leave- can’t make time to trek long distance to Platteville. Despite the challenges in landing this site can be huge fun in favorable wind conditions. Leave your balsa and composite ships at home, bring a foamie and someone to chase.

Local Pilots

Clayton Greaves

Slope Flying at Theresa Marsh

Theresa Marsh Slope Flying SiteMirko Bodul

Go up past West Bend on HWY 41.
About 7-8 miles past HWY 33, exit on HWY 28.
Go left (west) on HWY 28 for about 0.5 miles, take the first road left AFTER the HWY entrance and follow it. It is called Mohawk Road and snakes around for awhile (1 mile?) finally heads east with Theresa Marsh on the right dropping off gently.

I usually fly from the highest point to the left of the great big, brown sign, indicating that this is Theresa Marsh, wildlife refuge. Others preferred parking in the small lot a little lower and flying from there. Take your pick.

However, to the north of this road on top of this site is a cornfield, with electric or phone wires at the start of this field. If you climb up the embankment you can see how much that drops off to the north. If this is enough of a drop, I would launch to the south, from under the wires and work my way up with the plane and eventually walk north to an optimum spot for DS.

Let’s hope this does drop enough. With South and SSW winds some very good flying can be done here. I have attained huge altitudes here due to a thermal “kick” that comes in with the slope air. But be forewarned that this is not a “smooth” site: flying under 200 feet can be very bumpy.

Local Pilots

Mirko Bodul

Greg Smith

CRRCSIM – RC Soaring Flight Simulator

Boy is this simulator cool especially for RC sailplane enthusiasts. The way the plane flies is quite realistic. You have the choice of a thermal field and also a slope venue. You can vary parameters of the flying sites and of the planes.

But wait, that’s not all. You also get the ability to try Dynamic Soaring without smashing your pride and joy. That alone is worth the price of admission, of course the fact that it is FREE is an added bonus. Go to Cape Cod, switch the wind to 180 degrees and start your plane from about 100 feet then get in the groove!
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JR X-347 and X-388 radios are still great tools

JR x-347


JR 347

If it weren’t for the 8103 and this models limit of 4 models I would use this radio all the time. It is very capable and the minor limitations can be overcome by creative use of the custom mixes.

The JR 347 radio is a good mid level programmable radio. It is out of production but is readily available on the used market. It can be purchased for as little as $150-200. It is a seven-channel, four model memory system and can operate in either FM or PCM mode. The 347 includes programming for two to six servo sailplanes, dual rates, electronic subtrim, exponential, reversing, and both fixed and programmable mixing. Fixed mixing functions include both CROW and flaps from the throttle stick, V-tail, flaperon, flap to aileron, various trims, and more. It has four programmable mixes for additional control. The only significant limit is a two position flap switch, rather than the preferred three position switch, but this can be overcome by creative programming of other switches. The transmitter is both PCM and FM capable.

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Hitec Eclipse 7 – a capable radio at a great price

Hitec Eclipse 7 radio


Hitec Eclipse 7

Hitec’s top of the line radio is the Eclipse 7 FM. It sports a 7-model memory and 7 channels and is available with a Spectra module. The large LCD screen helps make programming easy as do the four separate programming loops, one for fixed wing, glow, gas or electric planes, a helicopter mode and two sailplane modes! , one for basic and one for advanced sailplanes.

The Eclipse is loaded with features like a variety of preprogrammed mixes plus five programmable mixes (two in Heli mode), digital trims, servo end point adjustments, dual rates, exponential rates, three flight condition settings per model, shift select, sub trims, servo reversing and more.
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My First McLean Vindicator

I bought this Vindicator used on eBay and really like how it flies. It has been through a lot and is a bit heavy from several repairs but when the wind comes up, it is a blast!

Vindicator (old)

My first Vindicator. This one has a hatched fuse, big tail and 6062 airfoil.


Airfoil: modified 6061
Span: 60.0
Area: 395 sq in
Surface loading:
Weight: 43 oz (it has been repaired a few times!)
Control: Aileron, Rudder and Elevator
Radio: Hitec Super Slim, JR-341s in the wing and HS-81s in the fuse. 5 cell 600ae sized NiMh pack, which is more like 1000 MaH.
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Virginia Sloping in Bristol at Sugar Hollow Park

Virginia Slope Flying Sites

Bristol, VA – Sugar Hollow Park
The park has a man-made dike that is very flyable. Facing southeast, the dike is about 120′ high and at least 300′ wide, with a 20′ flat area on top before descending about 50′ down the back. Maybe there is some DS potential here, I never tried it myself! Only flew there once, very clean and smooth lift with 10-15 mph wind easily lofted my Zagi to “thumbnail” size.

Notice that hikers share the top of the dike as part of a hiking trail, so choose your landing area carefully! As of 12/26/01, there was no water behind the dike.

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Minnesota Slope Flying in Red Wing


Red Wing, MN

Located about 40 miles south of Minneapolis/St.Paul, MN in the Mississippi river valley. It is quite hilly in the area with most bluffs topping out around 300′ above the valley floor. Red Wing is a quaint little town with several antique shops and an 18-mile beautiful paved bike trail. It is very popular with bikers and skaters on the weekends.

Barns Bluff
The hill I like to fly is called “Barns Bluff” and is located right on the north end of town. It is approximately a mile long and tops out at 300′ according to my Cateye Altimeter bike computer. The hill is 90% open on the south face and requires a South to Southwest wind from 12mph to stay aloft. The bluff is very steep and even has some rock ledges you want to stay away from unless you’re rock climbing. The North side of the bluff is even steeper but completely covered with trees. If it were open, this would be one heck of a Dynamic Soaring site as the top comes to a very sharp point.
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Slope Flying at Sleeping Bear Dunes, Empire, Michigan

Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore – Empire Michigan

Located in Northwestern, Lower Michigan Sleeping Bear is about 25 miles Southwest of Traverse City, MI. The National Lakeshore encompases a lot of area and there are many dunes from which to fly. Explore a bit! Pyramid Point near Glen Arbor is over 500 feet above Lake Michigan!

The following is courtesy of Tom Nagle from Columbus, OH:

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Slope Soaring at Ludington, Michigan

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

Michigan Slope Flying Sites

Sloping at Ludington, MI

Ludington Michigan is named after a 19th Century timber baron who sited the town at the estuary of the Pere Marquette River on the shores of Lake Michigan, just about halfway between the Indiana border and the Sioux. It was the logical place for James Ludington to set up a railroad and wagon ferry across Lake Michigan to Manitowoc Wisconsin, and the steamer still runs today.

Ludington is not nearly as touristy as Leland Michigan, but it does boast several very nice restaurants, a swarm of Victorian Bed and Breakfasts, and a beautiful Romanesque red sandstone courthouse. Also worth a visit is the Pere Marquette National Scenic River. There is plenty of opportunity for lake and river recreation in the area.
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Texas slopes in Denton County

Thanks, David. Find other slope info at David’s site and an email link if you are going to be in the area.

Denton County Sites:
Lake Ray Roberts Dam:
Slope faces SSE, NNW. Aerial photo of the dam.

Directions: Go north on I-35 about 9 miles past Denton to Exit 478. Turn right on FM 455. Go several miles until you cross the dam, then make first right and follow it back to the mid point of the dam, the road ends there at a parking lot. There are restrooms, playground, and covered picnic tables. The park is a $3.00 self pay park. There is a drop box with instructions by the restrooms. To give you an idea how far this is, Exit 478 on I-35 is 67 miles north of north loop 820 and I-35W in Fort Worth. Not sure how far north of loop 635 and I-35E in Dallas.

Notes: S face is grass, N face is rock. I have been told the S face is a delight to fly — nice long grassy slope with plenty of lift, no obstructions. There is a road across the top of the dam, but it is not overly crowded and the slope is plenty tall to avoid any need to stray too close to the road.

Lewisville Lake Dam: I’ve heard that this is a flyable slope, but that flying is not allowed and they will run you off if you try.

Cincinnati Area Sloping – Brookville Dam

Brookville Dam, IN

Brookville Dam in Indiana has been described by some as “the best inland slope in our part of the country”. It is located 2.5 hours from Louisville in Brookville, IN and about 1 hour from Cincinnati, OH. Brookville Lake is located in Franklin and Union Counties on the East Fork of the Whitewater River. The dam is about 1.5 miles above Brookville, Indiana, and 36 miles northwest of Cincinnati.

South winds work best here although there has been some noise made about DS potential in North winds. Several 4 hour, as well as at least one 8 hour, LSF flights have taken place at this site.

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Ohio Sloping – Columbus Area – Alum Creek Dam

Update from Tom Nagel!

The US Army Corps of Engineers has re-instituted its no slope flying rule at Alum Creek Dam.

Apparently the original no-fly rule was never rescinded, just not enforced, and the Westerville Model Aviation Club, whose field is at the base of the dam, had worked out a system to coordinate both sloping and flat field power flying.

Some non-flying officious intermeddler (that is an official legal term) raised the issue, and now the Westerville Club has voted to not allow any slope flying rather than risk losing their field.

Please remove my original posting from the slope flyer web site, and replace it with this information.  Don and I will keep you posted if things change again.

Cleveland Area Ohio Slope Flying Sites


Reprinted with permission form Have Sailplane, Will Travel

Outstanding flying can be found on the southern shores of our Great Lake Erie, near the metropolis of Cleveland, Ohio, at the northern border of our country.


Much maligned and the brunt of many jokes in the mid 70’s, Cleveland has experienced a true renaissance period. With mass exodus of people to the suburbs in the 70’s, the city realized to keep the population, many changes needed to be made. Effort was put into rebuilding much of the infrastructure as well as revitalization of much of the abandoned or under utilized industrial sectors. Achievements such as renewal of the Flats entertainment district, birth of the Gateway Project with Gund Arena and Jacobs Field, homes of the Cavs and Indians pro sports teams, opening of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, The Great Lakes Science Center and the new Cleveland Browns Stadium as well as strong support for the many established cultural and civic organizations such as the Cleveland Orchestra and Playhouse Square illustrate our success in creating a truly “world class” city. Enough, you say?

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Slope flying at Jockey’s Ridge, Nags Head, NC


North Carolina Slope Flying Sites

Jockey’s Ridge is a big sand dune that is just off 158, which is the main bypass thru Nag’s Head. It is hard to miss as it is the highest point around.

On the day I was there the wind was about 15-18 mph out of the northeast. I had been flying the SH-50 for about 1/2 hour when Tom from Richmond, VA showed up to fly his Chrysalis. Tom mentioned that the wind direction we had was more like fall wind but not unheard of in July. He said that mid to late fall have more days with useable wind.

The hill had quite a few people on it but there was plenty of space to use. The kite fliers were on the bottom or back of the hill and the hang gliders never got above the crest.

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

Sloping in New Mexico near Bernalillo


New Mexico Slope Flying Sites
submitted by Richard in Albuquerque

Jemez River Dam
Location approx 3-5 mi N of Bernalillo, NM.  A lava mesa suitable for flying foamies and other disposable aircraft in S to WNW winds. Top of cliff is about 150 ft above reservoir. Wear sturdy boots or hiking shoes in the event a retrieval is necessary. Best wind conditions are January thru April. Beware of the very nasty rotor!! Be sure to bring extra strapping tape.

Detailed directions: Take I-25 to exit 242. Go W on Hiway 550 to the intersection of NM528 just past the Santa Ana Star Casino. Turn N on hiway and continue past the Santa Ana Golf Course. Continue straight for several miles to Jemez Canyon Dam, an Army Corp. of Engineers project. At the end of the road is a picnic area. All along the west and south facing cliff is flyable.  One caveat–the mesa is Santa Ana Pueblo land–it may be off-limits during Pueblo religious activities and driving off of the paved road to the south face may be prohibited (depending upon who you talk to). More details can be found at:

A topo map of the area can be found at:

Local Pilots

Richard Shagam

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

Sloping in New York at Petersburg Pass

New York Slope Flying Sites

Thanks to Dave Garwood for this info that originally appeared in
an RCSD article in 1998.

LOCATION: Park in a gravel parking lot at the south side of State Route 2 in Petersburg, NY about 1/4 mile east of the NY/MA border. The flying site is 200 feet up a gravel trail to the south.

LAND MANAGEMENT: New York State Department of Environmental Conservation. Formerly a ski area, primary land use now is a hiking/backpacking staging area. Parasailors also use the site, though they launch from a partially cleared area across Route 2.

WIND CONDITIONS NEEDED: The west side is flyable in 5 MPH or more wind from the west or northwest. The big slope faces NNW, but is in the wind shadow of another peak to the north. The east side is flyable in SE 10 MPH or better.

RECOMMENDED PLANES: In suitable wind conditions., anything you have trimmed well and can fly confidently.


Petersburg Pass Slope Site

(NY/MA border)

If you are going through the Taconic Mountains that run along the Massachusetts / New York border you’ll find the Petersburg Pass Slope Site.

Pull into the parking lot at the top of the saddle back mountain on Route 2 between Petersburg NY and Williamstown MA, climb the gravel trail towards the south, and drink in two stunning vistas. To the west is Petersburg, and a bowl-shaped ridge that rises 900 feet above the valley floor. To the east is Williamstown and Mount Greylock, the tallest peak in the Berkshire mountains of western Massachusetts.

Both sides are flyable, and dynamic soaring is possible, if you’re really on top of your game.

This is Big Sky slope soaring, at least it seems like Big Sky to those of us who live where glaciers once covered the landscape. The bowl to the west creates a wide lift band when it’s working – you simply cannot fly out of lift and still see your plane.

“This is the best inland slope site I’ve ever flown,” said my 20-year old son, Lou, on our second trip there when we had 10-12 MPH wind. Lou’s been flying slope for about six years, and on that day flew a DAW 1-26, his trusty Sig Ninja, and a Slope Scale lead sled Mitsubishi Zero.

In 20 MPH, vertical development becomes impressive, supporting 250-foot loops. On his first visit there, Bob Powers quickly put away his NSP Sparrow and pulled out his ballasted-up carbon Renegade. “I don’t think we’ve ever flown this fast at Cape Cod,” Bob said after a few whistling fast passes.

The east side is flyable in SE wind, but so is Mount Greylock, only about 20 miles away, and in rare SE wind Greylock is the place to go.

Petersburg Pass is not a beginner flying site nor a spot for the faint of heart. It has the absolute trickiest launch point that I’ve seen in ten years of flying slope in eight states. You must launch through some intense turbulence and shoot through a break in a tree line until you get out into the lift, holding the nose down all the while to keep the speed up. It is an adrenaline-pumping moment, because there trees below.

Many trees.

The landing zone is surprisingly docile. It’s a grassy area about 100 by 125 feet containing only a few bushes and one surveyor’s stake on our last visit. It is amazingly free of turbulence and if you set up a reasonable landing approach you can grease it in on grass. If your downwind leg is too long, though, you’ll be in the tree line at the east end of the LZ.

CAUTION 1: Do not fly an untested or untrimmed plane at this site, at least not in wind higher than 5-8 MPH. Do not launch a plane with shaky batteries here.

CAUTION 2:  If  losing a plane will cause you permanent emotional damage, do not fly here. If a plane goes down over the forest below it will likely be impossible to recover.

CAUTION 3:  The Taconic Trail, a recreational hiking trail exits the woods smack into the center of the LZ. On landing, and for close-pass maneuvers you must post a spotter at that trail to watch for hikers. If we were to hit a hiker accidently, it could easily get us kicked out of the site.

These cautions are less urgent in lighter wind conditions. You can fly HLGs and long wing floaters in 3-5 MPH with less risk. Flying light and medium aileron slope soarers in 5-15 requires some attention to maintain safety. Flying slope screamers in 20 MPH or higher commands serious attention to safety issues.

All in all, Petersburg Pass is one memorable slope site. If your thumbs are up to it, consider putting it on your New York / New England travel itinerary.

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


Oklahoma Slope Soaring Sites

Oklahoma Slope Flying Sites

One point of this page is to prove that there are flyable slopes in Oklahoma. There is a common misconception that Oklahoma is a flat as Texas. This is not true, unless you go really far west. The NE part of Oklahoma is hilly and tree covered. A couple of weeks ago I took a trip in search of the best, flyable slope in Oklahoma. One adavantage of slope flying in Oklahoma are the strong constant winds.  We, of course, owe this to Kansas and Texas 😉

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Texas Sloping in Tarrant County

Thanks, David. Find other slope info at David’s site and an email link if you are going to be in the area.

Tarrant County Sites:
Benbrook Lake Dam:
Slope faces NNE and SSW Aerial photo of the dam

Directions: Mapsco 87Y. From I-20/Loop 820 in SW Fort Worth, go south on 377 into Benbrook. After about 1 mile you will turn left onto Lakeway, then after about 1/3 mile turn right onto Beach. Park beside the road before you get to the private park/beach gatehouse. Walk to the top of the dam. You can also continue on Lakeway and turn right on Lakeside to get to Longhorn Park at the east end of the dam.

Notes: N face is grass, S face is rock. If flying S face, fly at W end of dam where there is land at the bottom between the dam and the lake so you don’t have to land on the rocks if you can’t get back to the top of the slope. N face is a delight to fly — nice long grassy slope with plenty of lift, no obstructions or roads. Warning: this site is about 1 mile from the T-Birds R/C field, more or less depending on which end of the dam you are on. The field is on Mapsco 87W. Make sure you know where the field is and PLEASE take appropriate precautions for channel control. I suggest you drive over and post a note on their board or something similar to avoid shooting someone down or having your plane shot down, then remove the note when you are done.

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Sloping at Jeff Blatnick Park in Schenectady County

New York Slope Flying Sites
Thanks to Dave Garwood for this info.

Location: The Capital District of New York State.
Just east of General Electric Knolls Atomic Power Lab on River Road in Niskayuna.

From Exit 9 on I-87, the Adirondack Northway:

1. Westbound on State Route 146 for about 6 miles

2. LEFT at traffic light where SR-146 turns southbound

3. Cross the Mohawk River in Town of Rexford

4. LEFT at light at top of hill, eastbound on River Road

5. Continue through rotary in front of General Electric.

6. You’ll pass GE Knolls Atomic Power Lab

7. LEFT into Jeff Blatnick Park

8. Drive past two baseball diamonds

9. Go to end of parking lot, climb the hill.



Jeff Blatnick Park
Town of Niskayuna
Schenectady County, NY

This HLG and slope flying site is a capped landfill overlooking the Mohawk River, now used for walking, bike riding, roller blading. The hill is about 120 feet tall and about 400 feet long between tree lines at the ends of the field. It’s clear out front down to a partial tree line at the river bank. The hill face and the top is a large grassy meadow so landing is easy, as is recovering a downed plane.  Pleasant view, too.

The main problem is it needs EAST wind, an unusual direction, but it’s a public park so no problem with access. The Town has rules posted; one of the most interesting is “Animal traps not to be set within 200 feet of the centerline of the paved bike path.”  Pack out your trash, be courteous to the walkers and skaters, and we should be able to fly here for years.

This flying site achieved 15 minutes of fame in the soaring community when a Dave Garwood photo of Traveling Soaring Writerman GordySoar Stahl catching a Vaquero sailplane Ninja style appeared on the cover of OCT 1997 R/C Soaring Digest.

Written by Dave Garwood, APR 2002.


Traveling Man GordySoar catches a Vaquero Ninja Style at Niskayuna site, about 90 feet over the Mohawk River. Thanks to RCSD Magazine for use of the photo.



Petersburg Pass Slope Site (NY/MA border)

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

Massachusetts Slope Flying Sites

Petersburg Pass Slope Site (NY/MA border)

(OK, so technically it is in New York, but only .2 miles!)

LOCATION: Park in a gravel parking lot at the south side of State Route 2 in Petersburg, NY about 1/4 mile east of the NY/MA border. The flying site is 200 feet up a gravel trail to the south.

Slope Flying in South Dakota

South Dakota Slope Flying Sites

There are numerous bluffs along the Missouri, with 500 to 600 feet of elevation in South Dakota, most are on private ranches. If you are going to be in the area give Rob Hurd a call at 605-366-4076. You won’t find the spots in the following stories without him. South Dakota is a huge place and a lot of the residents like their space. Don’t go on any private land without the owners permission!

These are locations we have had the privilege to fly. Some may have access restrictions.

Check with local flyers for information.




Sloping in Lancaster County, PA


Pennsylvania Slope Flying Sites

Breezy View Park

Here in Pennsylvania we have a slope site which is popular with the locals as well as fliers from surronding states. On a good day we have folks from Maryland, New Jersey and other points west.

The site is in Lancaster county (amish country) near Columbia, PA. It is at Breezy View park which is part of the Lancaster County Park system. Our club – LASS (Lancaster Area Soaring Society) web site – – worked with the parks system to establish the site for slope flying and includes a stone lane and parking at the site, a grass landing area and outdoor toilet – the last can be quite important. The site overlooks the Susquehanna River with the stacks of Three Mile Island in the distance. It is 220 ft. to the bottom of an 80 degree slope with a nice lift pocket at the junction of north and west faces. this is a “fly in your face” slope where combat is very popular with the advent of foamies. A nice west ridge line runs for 1/2 mile to the north making it good for doing turns with large ships. A 60″ ship is very comfortable on this slope. It works well with winds from west to north west at 15 mph and up – way up.

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Iowa Slope Flying

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

Iowa Slope Flying Sites

The Levees – Clinton, IA – along the bank of the Mighty Missip is an earthen levee that works for smaller planes.

The Dam at Saylorville Lake – Nice Earthen dam near Des Moines. A slightly NE wind seems to work best.

There are some other sites that are available at certain times.
Contact the Eastern Iowa Soaring Society (EISS) for info if you are going to be in the area.

Indiana Slope Flying at Mt. Baldy

Mt Baldy, IN

Dave with a Bandit at Mt. Baldy



Mt. Baldy is a large dune at the Southern end of Lake Michigan. It’s part of the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore, plus it doesn’t cost anything to park there. Wind direction for flying at Baldy, NW to NE with N best. Mostly winter winds, so bundle up!

Nice parking lot with bathrooms all winter, and a easy walk from the back through a woods to the top. About a 5 min. walk. We only fly there from Labor Day to Memoriol Day, too many people any other time.

Take 94 east, out of Gary Indiana, till you come to HWY49. Exit 26 by Chesterton.
Go north on 49 about 2 miles and turn right (east) on US-12.
Take US-12 about 7 miles and look for a Mt. Baldy sign on your left it’s at the first big curve in the road.
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Illinois Slope Sites

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

Illinois Slope Flying Sites – Fults Hill

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:

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 Idaho with Mike

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

Idaho Slope Flying Sites

A special thanks to Mike for his descriptions on this site.

The land-owner of this site has developed the only suitable landing area which makes it suitable for foamie only, or planes which might tolerate rough landing. For the most part this wonderful site lost.

I fly slope almost exclusively as there is a very good one just 15 minutes from my home which is 20 miles west of Boise. I would be happy to direct you and others to the local slope. As I often fly alone there, the company would be appreciated.

“Freeze-Out Hill” is approximately 25 miles NW of Boise on the road to Emmett, ID.

Directions from Boise:
Take Hwy 44 (State Street) west from Boise, through Eagle and toward Star. Turn North on Hwy 16 (Emmett Hwy) at the intersection about 6 miles west of Eagle. Drive approximately 12 miles north (past Firebird Raceway on left) to a cross road with sign to “Pearl”. (If you start down the ravine into the Emmett Valley then you’ve gone to far.) Turn Left onto what is “Old Freeze Out Road”. About 100 yards up the road is a dirt trail which Y’s off to the right. Take this rough trail up the hill to the top (~ 0.3 mile). A regular car will make it easily with care. Continue on to the north and down to the right to a flat area facing NW (~0.2 mile). Park near the bigger sage brush on the shallow down slope to the right (this is the “landing” area so stay near the brush). The slope consists of a north bowl and a south bowl with a small central ridge. West to NW winds are best. Conditions worsen as winds get more northerly but may be flyable. (Note: conditions at the slope are not always the same as those in the Boise Valley.) Launch off the flat area over the central ridge. In a stronger wind (15-20+ mph) this is a great to awesome place to fly. In light winds conditions are difficult to predict and we often fly HLG and floaters. Please note this is private land and the area should be treated with respect. Take all your trash out and kindly pick up after others not as thoughtful.
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