Two More Slopes Near Houghton

I found two more great slopes near Houghton, MI

1. East facing slope near WalMart. This slope is about 200 ft high. It faces the highway that goes south from here (US 29 ) (Taco Bell, Walmart etc.). The top of the slope is occupied by “The Bluffs” an apartment complex for retirement-age folks. Between the apartment building and the slope is a paved trail (maybe for jogging and biking). There was no indication of who owns the trail and no “no trespassing” signs. The slope of the slope is maybe 45 degrees. There is a gravel access road about 75 ft down the slope accessible from the north. This road is marked “private property” but it doesn’t say “no trespassing”. Presently, whoever manages the slope had put a geo-fabric and grass on it and is watering it in the hopes that the grass will prevent erosion. I went there one day to test the air. A wind which was easterly 10 mph on the flat was turned into a 25 mph gale on the slope. I have never flown my gliders in such a wind, so I didn’t try it.

2. The other slope faces west, which is the direction of the prevailing winds here. This slope is just east of Superior Sand and Gravel. The location is just outside of the west end of Hancock Michigan. Superior Sand and Gravel occupies the base of the hill. On top of the hill is the Houghton County Arena and Fairgrounds. The slope is between the two. A high tension power line runs nearly parallel to the slope. The land just in from the top of the slope is maybe a jogging/nordic skiing trail area. You can drive/follow trails to the lip of the slope. This slope must be about 200 ft high. I have not been there when the wind is blowing. Again, I need to practice on smaller slopes before throwing my airplane of this one.

I asked at Superior Sand and Gravel about flying there. They didn’t seem to mind. I must say that there is a certain element of danger with that high cliff.

Also, there is a site near Eagle Harbor which looks good for thermal flying. It is waste basalt sand from a former copper mining operation. It may be reached by driving south past the Eagle Harbor cemetery and continuing more or less south for 2.5 miles. The site is privately owned but there are no “no trespassing” signs. There is a cable across the road but it may be just lifted off the post. The site is pretty much flat and is maybe 800 by 800 ft. (~ 16 acres). Unfortunately, it is also sometimes  a playground for people with two, three or four wheel bikes. A dozen or so of them came by when I was trying to fly, and I was quite concerned about them running over my airplane or tangling my high start.

Chuck Young

Massachusetts Slope Site in the Berkshires

Here’s a great slope site in Mass, The Mohawk Trail. 800 vertical feet high at least. West facing slope and the wind is always west here.

Here’s a panoramic shot.

The spot is the western most summit of the Mohawk Trail,  Heading out of North Adams follow RT.2  East – after a short drive up the mountain you will come to the Deadman’s curve “almost a 360 degree turn, then up another long ascent. At the very top of that first summit is a gift shop, directly across the street on that corner is a small dirt road. Down the dirt road 50 yards park next to the large antenna and radio shack, follow the trail in back of the shack to the launching site. 800 vertical feet below you, always a strong west wind. Tough landing EPP slopers  recommended.

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