Guidelines, Waiver & Site Guide

Monday, July 12, 2021.


All Visiting Pilots must be accompanied to launch by a TAF Guide Pilot.

The Telluride Air Force (TAF) is the local hang gliding, paragliding, and speed flying club in Telluride, Colorado. The primary launch is Gold Hill, this is a high altitude launch 3735m ASL, (12,250ft), located on Telluride Ski Resort property.

Landing zones managed by the TAF and Town of Telluride Ordinance No. 1491 are the Pearl Wetland, the Valley Floor, the Telluride Town Park. View the document here.

Visiting pilots must contact and coordinate flights with a TAF Guide Pilot.

Gold Hill Meet Up Location

Approaching town on Hwy 145 enter the traffic circle, take first exit onto Mahoney Drive, continue straight 1/4 mile over river then turn into the “Shandoka Parking Area“. Pilots meet at the NE corner.

SITE RULES AND SITE GUIDE

The Telluride Air Force (TAF) is the local hang gliding, paragliding, and speed flying club in Telluride, Colorado. The primary launch is Gold Hill, this is a high altitude launch 3735m ASL, (12,250ft), located on Telluride Ski Resort property.

Landing zones managed by the TAF under Town of Telluride Ordinance No. 1491 are the Pearl Wetland, the Valley Floor and the Telluride Town Park.  You must be a TAF member to land here.

Visiting pilots must contact and coordinate flights with a TAF Guide Pilot.

A TAF “Guide Pilot” is not an instructor or guide.  It is a rating given to a full time club member that is qualified to give site briefings to visiting pilots as determined by the club.  Each pilot is responsible for their own decisions and flight if permitted to fly!  TAF Guide Pilots are able to ground pilots from flying if they deem such action is appropriate.

Flying Requirements for Telluride

  • TAF Membership paid and waiver completed
  • Pilots use TAF club vehicle to access Gold Hill. No private vehicles allowed.
  • Telluride is a high altitude alpine mountain site, encounters with strong turbulence is common and to be expected.
  • Light and variable westerly winds are optimal for foot launched aviation from Gold Hill.
  • USHPA membership minimum ratings P4 or H4 with Restricted Landing Field, High Altitude, and Turbulence check-offs.
  • P3 and H3 flyers with multiple launches, landings, and soaring experience may be permitted to fly from TAF sites in stable or mild soaring conditions only with a daily, on-site briefing from a TAF guide pilot familiar with the pilot’s ability.
  • Join the Club: $200/year or for non-voting members $100/month or $50/week.
  • Print, and sign the flight waiver:  DOWNLOAD WAIVER HERE.
  • TAF guide pilot physical present for guest pilot flight activity required unless pilot has had a club vote of approval for that pilot to perform solo flights.
  • Reserve parachute.
  • Radio that transmits 151.925 & cell phone.
  • Colorado Search and Rescue card. Purchase online  or in town at Paragon Sports, Telluride Outside, Telluride Sports, and Jagged Edge Sports.
  • All Pilots must have radio, cell phone, CO search and rescue card, valid TAF/Telski waiver, TAF/USHPA membership and reserve parachute. InReach or Spot recommended.
  • Landings within the ski resort boundary are STRICTLY PROHIBITED and incur and automatic suspension from the club.
  • When upper level winds are out of the North (300o through 60o), even when light, landing in the valley can be extremely turbulent and treacherous, especially with evening flights.  These days should only be flown if planning to land before 10am in the valley or by experienced XC pilots looking to fly XC.
  • Landings in the valley not recommended 12pm-5pm May-August
  • Only Gondola or TAF owned vehicles to Ski area based Launches
  • No Commercial Flights unless pilots show proof of insurance and proof of site owner permission for Commercial flights to TAF (currently only Telluride Paragliding).
  • Speed and mini-wing (MW) flights have same requirements as paragliders and hang gliders and pilot must have a minimum M-1 rating.
  • All landings made at the below detailed LZ’s require TAF membership and adherence to TAF rules irrespective of the Launch being made from a designated launch site or not (USFS).
  • International Pilots Special Information.

 

No Fly Zones

All Ski Lifts, Ski resort structures and the Gondola Line have a No Fly Zone that extends 175ft horizontally and 300ft above any such structure.  Under no circumstances shall a pilot fly into this no-fly zone.  In the event that a pilot needs to fly over any such structure or line and is able to do so with at least 300ft clearance, they must take the shortest route across this zone without turning/thermaling until they are clear of the zone. The penalty for violating the Lifts No Fly Zone is a 3 month suspension of flying privileges for local pilots, or one year for visiting pilots.

Milk Run Launch, Telluride Ski Area     CLOSED

  • P3/H3 with Guide Pilot or TAF Vote for Solo Launch
  • P2/H2 with instructor on radio (not under TAF but under PASA certified school Telluride Paragliding)
  • Morning Launch, suitable for HG, PG or MW
  • Mini-Wings May be flown provided pilot holds minimum M1 Rating, in addition to P3 rating
  • Danger of EXTREMELY TURBULENT (NOT LAUNCHABLE) west wind rotor mid-morning through remainder of day. The time that this comes in changes throughout the season but generally between 10am and 11am.
  • Required Glide to Designated LZ: 2.5.
  • Recommended Use Parameters:
    • Wind Direction 75-105 degrees (thermal cycles)
    • Wind Strength (MPH)
      • HG          0 min, 10 max gust, 8 ideal
      • PG/MW  0 min, 10 max gust, 5 ideal

Gold Hill East (morning) Launch, Telluride Ski Area       CLOSED

  • P3/H3 with Guide Pilot or TAF Vote for Solo Launch.
  • P2/H2 with instructor on radio (not under TAF but under PASA certified school Telluride Paragliding).
  • Morning Launch, suitable for HG, PG or MW.
  • Mini-Wings May be flown provided pilot holds minimum M1 Rating, in addition to P3 rating.
  • Steep, intimidating launch. Cycles are usually light and require a forward launch or aggressive reverse launch.
  • As morning progresses can switch between E and W cycles and see dusties come down the ridge.
  • Required Glide to Designated LZ: 3.5.
  • Recommended Use Parameters:
    • Wind Direction 45-90 degrees
    • Upper level winds: Below 15 at 12000ft Below 20 at 18,000ft
    • Wind Strength (MPH)
      • HG           0 min, 15 max gust, 10 ideal
      • PG/MW   0 min, 12 max gust, 5 ideal

Gold Hill West Launch, Telluride Ski Area   CLOSED

  • P3/H3 with Guide Pilot or TAF Vote for Solo Launch.
  • Typically afternoon/evening Launch, suitable for HG, PG or MW. Occasionally flown as a midday/morning site by experienced (P4) XC pilots.
  • No Mini-Wings due to glide required to permitted LZ.
  • Unable to see designated LZ’s from launch, basic soaring and or thermalling skills required to clear ridge separating launch and LZ.
  • Friendly/smooth grassy launch.
  • Evening cycles are usually quite strong until almost dusk, strong reverse launch skills usually required.
  • Required Glide to Designated LZ: 7.5 (to clear gondola station).
  • Recommended Use Parameters:
    • Wind Direction 45-90 degrees
    • Upper level winds: Below 15 at 12000ft Below 20 at 18,000ft
    • Wind Strength (MPH)
      • HG            5 min, 25 max gust, 15 ideal
      • PG             5 min, 18 max gust, 10 ideal

Pearl Landing, Town of Telluride

  • Primary LZ for PG pilots.
  • North wind may create landing site rotors, avoid landing in the Pearl on N days.
  • Can be turbulent over condos/homes, best to set up up wind (west) over the valley in the afternoon and do aircraft approach.
  • Wet areas may be hidden by tall grass shown in orange.
  • Old fencing may be present along western boundary.
  • Recommended Use Parameters:
    • 0-15 mph, typically 0-10 mph variable morning wind and 0 -15 mph west evening wind.

 Valley Floor Landing, Town of Telluride

  • Primary LZ for HG pilots.
  • North wind may create landing site rotors, avoid landing in the Valley on N days.
  • If forced to land in the valley and its turbulent, the Valley Floor is by far the safest option with wide open spaces. The further west (Eider Creek) the less turbulent it should be.
  • Old fencing may be present
  • Multiple powerlines, poles present
  • Careful of prairie dog holes near the shell station
  • Valley Floor Landing areas are large with possible rotors from trees and power line hazards
  • Recommended Use Parameters:
    • 0-20 mph, typically 0-10 mph can be variable and very switchy mid-day.
    • 0 -15 mph west evening wind.

Town Park Landing, Town of Telluride

 

  • Primary LZ for Tandem PG.
  • Restricted LZ.
  • Multiple fixed and changing hazards of pedestrians, events, fencing, equipment, trees and buildings and pond.
  • Check park same day before landing in case of festival or other sports – All other activities have right of way.
  • Wind can be variable and very switchy after 10am with strong turbulence from trees and buildings.
  • North wind may create landing site rotors.
  • North wind may create landing site rotors, avoid landing in the Valley on N days.
  • Until 10am-11am typically landing into katabatic valley flow out of Bear Creek
  • Usually very light-nill wind landing at high altitude. Only recommended for competent spot landing pilots.
  • Recommended Use Parameters:
    • 0-7 mph before westerly valley flow turns on.
    • If westerly valley flow has turned on best to avoid town park and land at the Pearl or Valley floor LZ’s.

TAF site rules and USHPA Risk Assessment of TAF site (2Mb): HERE.

TAF wishes you a happy landing.

Telluride Air Force  P.O. Box 3781,  Telluride, CO 81435 TAF authorized emailinfo@tellurideairforce.org

Monday, July 12, 2021.


All Visiting Pilots must be accompanied to launch by a TAF Guide Pilot.

The Telluride Air Force (TAF) is the local hang gliding, paragliding, and speed flying club in Telluride, Colorado. The primary launch is Gold Hill, this is a high altitude launch 3735m ASL, (12,250ft), located on Telluride Ski Resort property.

Landing zones managed by the TAF and Town of Telluride Ordinance No. 1491 are the Pearl Wetland, the Valley Floor, the Telluride Town Park. View the document here.

Visiting pilots must contact and coordinate flights with a TAF Guide Pilot.

Gold Hill Meet Up Location

Approaching town on Hwy 145 enter the traffic circle, take first exit onto Mahoney Drive, continue straight 1/4 mile over river then turn into the “Shandoka Parking Area“. Pilots meet at the NE corner.

SITE RULES AND SITE GUIDE

The Telluride Air Force (TAF) is the local hang gliding, paragliding, and speed flying club in Telluride, Colorado. The primary launch is Gold Hill, this is a high altitude launch 3735m ASL, (12,250ft), located on Telluride Ski Resort property.

Landing zones managed by the TAF under Town of Telluride Ordinance No. 1491 are the Pearl Wetland, the Valley Floor and the Telluride Town Park.  You must be a TAF member to land here.

Visiting pilots must contact and coordinate flights with a TAF Guide Pilot.

A TAF “Guide Pilot” is not an instructor or guide.  It is a rating given to a full time club member that is qualified to give site briefings to visiting pilots as determined by the club.  Each pilot is responsible for their own decisions and flight if permitted to fly!  TAF Guide Pilots are able to ground pilots from flying if they deem such action is appropriate.

Flying Requirements for Telluride

  • Pilots use TAF club vehicle to access Gold Hill. No private vehicles allowed.
  • Telluride is a high altitude alpine mountain site, encounters with strong turbulence is common and to be expected.
  • Light and variable westerly winds are optimal for foot launched aviation from Gold Hill.
  • USHPA membership minimum ratings P4 or H4 with Restricted Landing Field, High Altitude, and Turbulence check-offs.
  • P3 and H3 flyers with multiple launches, landings, and soaring experience may be permitted to fly from TAF sites in stable or mild soaring conditions only with a daily, on-site briefing from a TAF guide pilot familiar with the pilot’s ability.
  • Join the Club: $150/Year or $50/month. JOIN HERE fill out form and email to info@tellurideairforce.org
  • Print, and sign the flight waiver:  DOWNLOAD WAIVER HERE.
  • TAF guide pilot physical present for guest pilot flight activity required unless pilot has had a club vote of approval for that pilot to perform solo flights.
  • Reserve parachute.
  • Radio that transmits 151.925 & cell phone.
  • Colorado Search and Rescue card. Purchase online  or in town at Paragon Sports, Telluride Outside, Telluride Sports, and Jagged Edge Sports.
  • All Pilots must have radio, cell phone, CO search and rescue card, valid TAF/Telski waiver, TAF/USHPA membership and reserve parachute. InReach or Spot recommended.
  • Landings within the ski resort boundary are STRICTLY PROHIBITED and incur and automatic suspension from the club.
  • When upper level winds are out of the North (300o through 60o), even when light, landing in the valley can be extremely turbulent and treacherous, especially with evening flights.  These days should only be flown if planning to land before 10am in the valley or by experienced XC pilots looking to fly XC.
  • Landings in the valley not recommended 12pm-5pm May-August
  • Only Gondola or TAF owned vehicles to Ski area based Launches
  • No Commercial Flights unless pilots show proof of insurance and proof of site owner permission for Commercial flights to TAF (currently only Telluride Paragliding).
  • Speed and mini-wing (MW) flights have same requirements as paragliders and hang gliders and pilot must have a minimum M-1 rating.
  • All landings made at the below detailed LZ’s require TAF membership and adherence to TAF rules irrespective of the Launch being made from a designated launch site or not (USFS).
  • International Pilots Special Information.

 

No Fly Zones

All Ski Lifts, Ski resort structures and the Gondola Line have a No Fly Zone that extends 175ft horizontally and 300ft above any such structure.  Under no circumstances shall a pilot fly into this no-fly zone.  In the event that a pilot needs to fly over any such structure or line and is able to do so with at least 300ft clearance, they must take the shortest route across this zone without turning/thermaling until they are clear of the zone. The penalty for violating the Lifts No Fly Zone is a 3 month suspension of flying privileges for local pilots, or one year for visiting pilots.

Milk Run Launch, Telluride Ski Area     CLOSED

  • Minimum P3/H3 with Guide Pilot or TAF Vote for Solo Launch
  • Morning Launch, suitable for HG, PG or MW
  • Mini-Wings May be flown provided pilot holds minimum M1 Rating, in addition to P3 rating
  • Danger of EXTREMELY TURBULENT (NOT LAUNCHABLE) west wind rotor mid-morning through remainder of day. The time that this comes in changes throughout the season but generally between 10am and 11am.
  • Required Glide to Designated LZ: 2.5.
  • Recommended Use Parameters:
    • Wind Direction 75-105 degrees (thermal cycles)
    • Wind Strength (MPH)
      • HG          0 min, 10 max gust, 8 ideal
      • PG/MW  0 min, 10 max gust, 5 ideal

Gold Hill East (morning) Launch, Telluride Ski Area

  • P3/H3 with Guide Pilot or TAF Vote for Solo Launch.
  • P2/H2 with instructor on radio (not under TAF but under PASA certified school Telluride Paragliding).
  • Morning Launch, suitable for HG, PG or MW.
  • Mini-Wings May be flown provided pilot holds minimum M1 Rating, in addition to P3 rating.
  • Steep, intimidating launch. Cycles are usually light and require a forward launch or aggressive reverse launch.
  • As morning progresses can switch between E and W cycles and see dusties come down the ridge.
  • Required Glide to Designated LZ: 3.5.
  • Recommended Use Parameters:
    • Wind Direction 45-90 degrees
    • Upper level winds: Below 15 at 12000ft Below 20 at 18,000ft
    • Wind Strength (MPH)
      • HG           0 min, 15 max gust, 10 ideal
      • PG/MW   0 min, 12 max gust, 5 ideal

Gold Hill West Launch, Telluride Ski Area

  • Minimum P3/H3 with Guide Pilot or TAF Vote for Solo Launch.
  • Typically afternoon/evening Launch, suitable for HG, PG or MW. Occasionally flown as a midday/morning site by experienced (P4) XC pilots.
  • No Mini-Wings due to glide required to permitted LZ.
  • Unable to see designated LZ’s from launch, basic soaring and or thermalling skills required to clear ridge separating launch and LZ.
  • Friendly/smooth grassy launch.
  • Evening cycles are usually quite strong until almost dusk, strong reverse launch skills usually required.
  • Required Glide to Designated LZ: 7.5 (to clear gondola station).
  • Recommended Use Parameters:
    • Wind Direction 45-90 degrees
    • Upper level winds: Below 15 at 12000ft Below 20 at 18,000ft
    • Wind Strength (MPH)
      • HG            5 min, 25 max gust, 15 ideal
      • PG             5 min, 18 max gust, 10 ideal

Pearl Landing, Town of Telluride

  • Primary LZ for PG pilots.
  • North wind may create landing site rotors, avoid landing in the Pearl on N days.
  • Can be turbulent over condos/homes, best to set up up wind (west) over the valley in the afternoon and do aircraft approach.
  • Wet areas may be hidden by tall grass shown in orange.
  • Old fencing may be present along western boundary.
  • Recommended Use Parameters:
    • 0-15 mph, typically 0-10 mph variable morning wind and 0 -15 mph west evening wind.

 Valley Floor Landing, Town of Telluride

  • Primary LZ for HG pilots.
  • North wind may create landing site rotors, avoid landing in the Valley on N days.
  • If forced to land in the valley and its turbulent, the Valley Floor is by far the safest option with wide open spaces. The further west (Eider Creek) the less turbulent it should be.
  • Old fencing may be present
  • Multiple powerlines, poles present
  • Careful of prairie dog holes near the shell station
  • Valley Floor Landing areas are large with possible rotors from trees and power line hazards
  • Recommended Use Parameters:
    • 0-20 mph, typically 0-10 mph can be variable and very switchy mid-day.
    • 0 -15 mph west evening wind.

Town Park Landing, Town of Telluride

 

  • Primary LZ for Tandem PG.
  • Restricted LZ.
  • Multiple fixed and changing hazards of pedestrians, events, fencing, equipment, trees and buildings and pond.
  • Check park same day before landing in case of festival or other sports – All other activities have right of way.
  • Wind can be variable and very switchy after 10am with strong turbulence from trees and buildings.
  • North wind may create landing site rotors.
  • North wind may create landing site rotors, avoid landing in the Valley on N days.
  • Until 10am-11am typically landing into katabatic valley flow out of Bear Creek
  • Usually very light-nill wind landing at high altitude. Only recommended for competent spot landing pilots.
  • Recommended Use Parameters:
    • 0-7 mph before westerly valley flow turns on.
    • If westerly valley flow has turned on best to avoid town park and land at the Pearl or Valley floor LZ’s.

TAF site rules and USHPA Risk Assessment of TAF site (2Mb): HERE.

TAF wishes you a happy landing.

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