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Eagle Rock

Site Guide

Executive Summary

  • SE Launch:
    • Launch Faces 160 degrees; Overall ridge faces 150 degrees
    • Wind Direction: Ideal 90 to 180 deg, acceptable 80 to 180
    • Wind Velocity: 0 to 10 mph ideal, 15 mph max, 5 mph gusts max, all pilots
    • N: 37° 37.889', W: 079° 49.901' or 37.631483°, -79.831683°; Elevation : 2229 ft; (350 - 900 AGL)
    • Please park in the parking lot or in the woods. Do NOT park on the launch.
  • NW launch:
    • Launch Faces 325 deg; Overall ridge faces 330 deg
    • Wind Direction: Ideal 280 to 350 deg, acceptable 270 to 350 deg
    • Wind Velocity: 0 to 10 mph ideal, 15 mph max, 5 mph gusts max, all pilots
    • N: 37° 37.958', W: 079° 49.798' or 37.632633°, -79.829967° Elevation 2220 ft; (675 - 1280 AGL)
    • Please park across the gravel road from launch (at the base of the radio tower)
A common meeting place for both NW and SE sites is the SE Main LZ (aka "Frank's field"): 37.619216° -79.834685°

Coordinates for launches and LZ's for Eagle Rock are contained in this Site Coordinates GPX file which may be opened in Google Earth or other GPS apps.

This is an overview of the Site Locations (click to enlarge):

Launch and LZ Locations

This shows a detailed view of the launches and Emergency LZs.
NOTE: These have only been used by Paragliders, and are likely too small for use by a hang glider. (click to enlarge):

Launches and Emergency Paraglider LZs

Detailed View of NW LZ. Check grass height before using. A small marshy area may be present near the center of the LZ. (click to enlarge):

NW LZ Location

Detailed View of Primary SE LZ. Note that a powerline bisects the field (click to enlarge):

SE Primary LZ

Detailed View of Alternate SE Paraglider LZ (hang gliders should use the Primary SE LZ) (click to enlarge):

SE Alternate Paraglider LZ
Launch & LZ info - use Site Coordinates GPX file for location of alternate LZ's (click on image to expand)

Detailed Site Discussion

Weather Discussion

Winds in this region in the Summer months typically average less than 10 mph, with the Westerly direction dominating. Deviation from this pattern is usually associated with movement of weather systems. In colder winter months, wind velocity averages increase and show a shift towards the NW, but little flying is done then. Further discussion will center on warmer periods. There are several scenarios which are common at this Site, which will be discussed in turn.

  • Light winds, sunny days - this is a very common scenario. If winds are light enough (<5), local heating effects tend to override the prevailing direction, especially on the SE side, where early day heating initiates convection effects that can make the site flyable for much of the day, although these will often be limited to sled rides. Convection on the NW side may often be present as well, if slightly later in the day. There have been a number of such days in which there have been gliders flying both the SE and NW launches at the same time.
  • Moderate winds, splitting the ridge - this is another common scenario, and care should be taken to not to confuse it with the case above, which can easily be done. The Crawford mountain ridge is aligned SW to NE, so winds in the range from S to W (very common here) will end up splitting and flowing along both sides of the ridge. Depending on the prevailing direction, this wind can seem to be "coming in" on one or both sides of the mountain. That is because both launches are slots cut into wooded areas, and some wind has a tendency to turn and flow into these slots, thus giving the impression that it is "coming in". Local pilot knowledge is helpful for sorting this out. Other indicators that this might be happening are signs of stronger winds than you are seeing on launch (flags, smoke in the valley, birds soaring faster in one direction than the other, weather station reports). If the prevailing wind is not too strong, these conditions can generally be flown if you can find safe launch windows, but are not likely to be satisfying. There is likely to be little lift, and the most likely outcome is a short and possibly turbulent ride to the LZ.
  • Frontal Passages - Warm fronts are generally preceded by S-SE winds in this area, which could provide for some soaring conditions on the SE side of the mountain, but are also frequently accompanied by rain, so they may or may not be associated with noteworthy flying conditions. Cold fronts are another matter - these are usually followed by clearing weather and NW winds that favor the NW side of the mountain. The main concern for these is velocity, as an energetic cold front can easily produce winds that are unsafe to fly in. This situation is more common in Spring and Fall, and only Ravens can enjoy the favorable wind direction. If you can find a safe flying window (perhaps a day or two after passage, but before the direction veers to the N and NE), the unstable air can provide conditions for large altitude gains and cross-country flights. Late Spring and early Summer cold fronts often provide a nice balance of favorable, but not excessive conditions. Cold fronts should always be approached with caution, as they can offer some of the greatest rewards and greatest dangers.
  • Wonder Winds - they can and do happen at this site, either or both sides. Late afternoon and/or early evenings. Seldom predictable, you are there for them or not.

General Site Considerations

  • Access Road - the road up the mountain is gravel, fairly steep, and subject to deep ruts between grading. A 4WD vehcile is preferred for protection of both the vehicle and the road. There are private homes along the lower section of this road, and good care should be taken to avoid raising dust.
  • Communications Tower - there is a Communications tower located behind the NW launch. This is only a concern for soaring flight, as it is well above and behind both takeoff areas.
  • Landing Areas - both Main LZs provide ample room for landing, however they should be visited for familiarization before flight. The terrain is not level in all areas, and a power line crosses the main SE LZ. There may also be hay bales and/or crops in areas of any of the fields. There are periods when the site is not frequently flown, and wind indicators may be missing. You should be thoroughly familiar with your intended LZ and also consult with local pilots re current crop protocols before flight.

SE launch

This is the most commonly flown side for a number of reasons. A SE facing site is likely to have upslope convection on most sunny light wind days. The Main LZ is on the same size of the mountain as the road up, so turn around time is short. For paraglider pilots the SE Emergency LZ is a popular option, as it can allow a quick test of condition with a very short drive (or possible walk) back up to try again. The launch is wide and open, and easy for both hang and paraglider pilots.

There is a parking area behind and below the launch slope, which is sheltered from the wind. This is a good location for hang glider setup in stronger conditions. There is also a small cabin adjacent to launch which is privately owned and often used by the owners, particularly on weekends. This property should be respected and the owners treated courteously.

NW launch

The NW side is flown less often, but can be more rewarding when it is working. The LZ is several hundred feet higher above the Main LZ than the SE side, but involves substantially longer turn around time/distance, as the LZ is on the opposite side of the mountain from the access road to launch.

The NW days which favor this side of the mountain are generally associated with cold fronts, which bring clear and unstable air. This is ideal for extended soaring flights and altitude gains, but can easily increase to unsafe levels, so extra caution is advised when evaluating the conitions. The launch itself is wide open and steeper than the SE side.

Parking is somewhat tighter for the NW side, as there is only a small lot across the road from launch, at the base of the radio tower. However the parking area at the SE launch is in easy walking distance, so equipment can be dropped at the NW side with parking at the SE site.


  1. Must be current USHGA member for legal liability and site preservation reasons.
  2. Must have a current H-3/P-3 or higher USHGA rating. H-2/P-2 may fly under the supervision of an Instructor, Observer, or local Site Guide
  3. Helmets must worn.
  4. Always clear traffic and yell, "CLEAR" before taking off and entering the flight pattern.
  5. No use of motors from the launch site.
  6. Dogs must be on a leash when on the launch site and landing field when pilots are preparing to launch, packing up gliders and while launching or landing.
  7. Please post a message on the list with the total number of flights from the mountain that day.
  8. A car going UP the mountain has the right-of-way. Do NOT back down the mountain to let someone pass since this can be dangerous and hard on your brakes.


  • The landing zone just below launch is small and requires accurate landing skills
  • There are power lines in several of the farmers fields used for landing
  • Follow the rules of the ridge (see below)
  • Clear your launches and turns all around, above and below you
  • After landing, move your glider out of the middle of the field so others can safely land


  • If you have a radio, please USE it. It might save a life (yours!). The official radio frequency is 151.625 MHz. It is strongly encouraged that everyone use a radio.
  • It may be helpful to carry a cell phone for emergencies.
  • All vehicles must stay on the roads and park in parking areas.
  • Do not park on the road or block access to the tower on the top of the mountain.
  • Do not drive onto or park on the launch site. Park in one of the parking lots.
  • The site is for day use only. No overnight camping without prior permission from the landowners.
  • In case of an emergency, ask for a cell phone to call 911.
  • Please respect all landowners property. Remember that we are able to fly only with the consent of the landowners. Please treat all landowners kindly.
  • For information of how the Eagle Rock flying site came to be, see Eagle Rock Site History


  • Always clear your turns. See, Be Seen and Avoid.
  • Do not pin other pilots against the ridge. Leave enough room to turn out from the ridge.
  • In ridge soaring conditions, pass on the right but realize that not everyone will follow this rule.
  • Watch other pilot's head and eyes for clues as to the next move.
  • First pilot to enter a thermal establishes turning direction. The lower pilot has the right of way.
  • In ridge soaring conditions, the faster glider overtaking another glider, passes on the inside (ridge side).
  • Please stay in a counter clockwise rotation when ridge soaring. The glider on the right has the right of way.
  • Thermaling should be done outside the ridge soaring pattern.
(updated February 25, 2024)

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