Pilot Guidelines & Waiver

The Telluride Air Force, (TAF), is the local hang gliding and paragliding club in Telluride, Colorado USA. The primary launch, Gold Hill, is near the top of the Telluride Ski Area. This high altitude launch is 3735m ASL, (12,250ft).

Located at 2667m ASL, (8750ft), the commonly used landing zones are a wetland known as the Pearl, and a long sporadically forested valley floor.  Within town limits is the Telluride Town Park landing zone.

Visiting pilots contact the TAF prior to arrival, coordinate with a guide pilot: Guide Pilot Link

Requirements to fly in Telluride

  • USHPA membership minimum ratings P4 or H4 with Restricted Landing Field, High Altitude, and Turbulence check-offs. A P3 or H3 pilot with multiple launch, landings, and airtime at USHPA insured flying sites in soaring conditions, accompanied by a sponsoring  TAF Guide Pilot familiar with the pilots’ experience may be allowed to launch Gold Hill in stable atmosphere or possibly mild soaring conditions only with direct supervision and approval of the sponsoring TAF Guide Pilot.
  • TAF membership: Local Voting Membership is $150/yr. Guest pilot is $10/day. All pilots pay $10 per ride up to Gold Hill.
  • Print, and sign the flight waiver:  DOWNLOAD WAIVER HERE.
  • TAF guide pilot presence is required for all visiting pilot flight activity.
  • Reserve parachute.
  • Radio that transmits 151.xxx & cell phone.
  • Purchase online Colorado Outdoor Search and Rescue card, required, very low cost also available in town at Paragon Sports, Telluride Outside, Telluride Sports, and Jagged Edge.
  • Important, visiting international pilot informationwww.ushpa.org/page/international-pilot-information.

Getting to Gold Hill

Approach Telluride on Hwy 145. At towns western edge enter the traffic circle, (roundabout), take first exit onto Mahoney Drive continue straight 1/4 mile over a small river then turn into the “Shandoka” parking area. Pilots meet at the NE corner.

  • Pilots must use the TAF club truck to access Gold Hill. No private vehicles allowed.
  • Telluride is a high alpine site. Encounters with strong turbulent conditions are not uncommon and are to be expected.
  • Light and variable westerly winds are optimal for foot launched aviation from Gold Hill.
  • Early morning light easterly winds often rise from the very steep Bear Creek.
  • TAF 4×4 vehicle access is nominally available June – October, weather and road conditions permitting.

Gold Hill Launch

  • Gold Hill West wide and grassy
  • Westerly winds 250-300° optimal
  • Cycles gusting greater than 18mph not recommended
  • Gold Hill East, (Bear Creek), is a very steep grassy slope which quickly erodes into cliff.
  • Light easterly winds flow up from Bear Creek Canyon in morning hours.
  • Expect light wind cycles.
  • Converging winds gather at and above the ridge-top. Be Aware of windy rotor activity.
  • Paraglider note: A light wind reverse may be preferable over forward facing launch.

Winter Flights

  • Gold Hill West
  • Launch a minimum of 50 feet, (16 meter), from the gold hill electronic wind station
  • Ski season launch access is available using Telluride Ski Resort lifts regular hours of operation. Fees may apply.
  • Pilots must use skis or snowboard on non-detachable lifts
  • FORBIDDEN to top land Gold Hill or anywhere on the Ski Resort

Landing Zones

Telluride Valley Floor Landing Zones

Pilots are encouraged to land onto the valley floor. This massive landing zone has many strategically place wind socks, wind streamers, it offers long straight final glides with few obstructions. 37°56’51.64″N latitude, 107°50’50.85″W longitude.

The Pearl LZ is a wetland, water and mud is not visible from the air under the tall grass.

Telluride Town Park LZ

  • When landing in town park hazards may be an issue
  • Zero to gusty winds from variable directions
  • Year-round human sporting activities
  • Metal fences, bleachers, kids, dogs, and persons who do not see you on final approach
  • Crowds can exceed thousands

Town Park LZ not recommended when numerous humans are visible from above. Pearl Property and Valley floor are preferred landing sites.

TAF site rules and USHPA Risk Assessment of TAF site (12Mb): Here.

The TAF wishes you many happy landings.

Telluride Air Force  P.O. Box 3113,  Telluride, CO 81435  email: info@tellurideairforce.org

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