June 16, 2024

Requirements to Fly

(Updated May 22, 2024)

Telluride Air Force (TAF) is authorized to regulate paragliding, hang gliding and other forms of foot-launched free flight from launches on the Telluride Ski Resort (TelSki) (e.g. Gold Hill, Milk Run, Lookout, Bushwacker) and landing on property owned by the Town of Telluride (ToT) (e.g. Town Park, Pearl Property, Valley Floor).  We have a formal agreement with Telluride Ski and Golf (TSG), the owner and operator of TelSki, and we are designated by the ToT as the regulatory authority for Town-owned landing zones in Chapter 10, Article 9 of the Telluride Municipal Code.  We purchase and maintain very expensive insurance coverage required by TSG, ToT, and other landowners that covers our flying activities and the use of our club vehicles to access our TelSki launches.  Launching from TelSki or landing on ToT-owned property without approval from TAF is strictly prohibited, jeopardizes our flying site, and can be punishable with fines and jail time. Don’t be that person.

Please follow the steps below and connect with us before you fly.

If you are planning to hike and fly from a launch location on federal land (e.g. USFS, BLM) and to also land on federal land, we still encourage you to reach out and talk to us about our local flying conditions.  However, TAF has no formal authority over such flights that don’t involve TelSki or ToT land for either launch or landing.

Steps to Fly Telluride:

(If you are only a tandem passenger and not a pilot, you only need to complete and sign the Telluride Ski and Golf (TSG) Waiver and can skip the remaining steps below; you can enter “10000” as your USHPA #.  Pilots must complete all the steps below.)

  1. You must be an active (not expired) member of USHPA in good standing as shown in the USHPA member directory.
  2. Join the Telluride Air Force as a member.  If you live within 70 road miles of Telluride for at least 60 days per year, you are considered “local” and must join as a full member.  If you do not live within 70 road miles of Telluride for at least 60 days per year, you are considered a “visitor” and must join as a visiting member.  Full local memberships are $700/year for our membership year which runs from March 1 – February 28 (this is dictated by our insurance and we unfortunately cannot offer pro-rated dues for partial years, i.e. if you join part way through the membership year, you still must pay the full $700 to join).  Visiting memberships are $150 for a 30-day membership (the 30 days begin on the day of your first flight, even if you join/pay earlier).  Visitors may purchase multiple 3o-day memberships in the same year.  Our insurance does not allow us to be flexible with these membership criteria.  For example, we cannot charge less for less frequent flying or more for more frequent flying, as doing so would classify us as a commercial flight park instead of a non-commercial recreational flying site. (Our friends at Telluride Paragliding run a commercial tandem business under separate insurance and all of their pilots are members of TAF and authorized to fly as required by the ToT Municipal Code.).  To join TAF, you must:
  3. Purchase a Colorado Outdoor Recreation Search and Rescue (CORSAR) card.  (NOTE: This is required by ToT Municipal Code.)
  4. (If you plan to fly during our Winter Access Period) You must have a valid TelSki lift ticket or season pass to use our permitted TelSki launches.
  5. You must have modern equipment in good condition, including a reserve parachute, a radio capable of receiving and transmitting at 151.925, and a cell phone.  A satellite communication/SOS device (e.g. InReach, Spot, Zoleo) is highly recommended if you will be launching from Gold Hill.
  6. You must be qualified to fly our high-altitude, complex, mountain flying environment safely.  This generally means:
    • You’ve reviewed our site guide and risk assessment worksheet
    • You hold a P3 rating or higher
    • You have HA and TUR skill designations, or equivalent experience as determined by your TAF guide pilot
    • If you have questions about your readiness, you should join our Telegram group and ask our local pilots for advice and guidance
    • The only exceptions to the above that will be considered are for local pilots well-known to our guides and/or visitors with whom at least one of our guides has flown extensively at another site
  7. Join our Telegram group, introduce yourself, and let’s get to know one another!  We love visitors and are very welcoming and encouraging as long as you respect the requirements listed here.
  8. At least 12 hours in advance of your intended flight, you must connect with a TAF guide pilot (ask in our Telegram group) who will review your paperwork, membership payment, qualifications (see above), and proposed flight before agreeing to meet you at launch for your flight.  The only exception to this requirement is for pilots who have been approved by at least 3 guides to “self-guide” our “front/north” face launches (Milk Run, Lookout, Bushwacker) and/or our Town Park LZ (for more details, please read the introduction on our guide pilots page).

That’s it!  We appreciate you taking the time to go through these steps, which are essential to keeping our healthy relationships with TSG, ToT and other stakeholders and our flying site open, safe, and insured.