Site Information

 A decision to launch is always that of the individual pilot. When deciding whether or not to fly, a pilot may wish to take into account the descriptions in this site guide but must also consider numerous other factors including the pilot's training and experience, familiarity with the site, equipment, physical and mental condition and the specific weather conditions in existence at the time of the decision along with what the conditions may change to.

Always ​fly within the USHPA recommended operating limitations for your rating as specified in the USHPA Pilot Proficiency System. Pilots of relatively little experience or who are new to the site are urged to consult with other local pilots at the site in order to obtain their assessment of the conditions. ​Always get a site briefing from a local pilot. Do not fly sites alone or without a local pilot present. If locals are not flying, there is likely a reason.

Site Guides Disclaimer:

You are the pilot in command. Your safety is your responsibility. These safety guides are developed by non-professional volunteers to the best of their abilities and they could be wrong. These guides do not relieve you of the ultimate responsibility to learn how to access flying conditions and determine for yourself if conditions are safe for you to fly. If you need help developing site assessment skills, seek the assistance of professional guides and instructors

The descriptions of typical flying conditions listed in this site guide reflect the experience of the authors of the guide. The conditions that you encounter at the site may differ, sometimes substantially, from those encountered by the authors. The descriptions of their experiences may not be relevant to the likely experience of any other pilot, particularly one who is relatively inexperienced or new to the site.

If you have questions beyond what is on this website you can contact the Bozeman Airforce at flybozeman@gmail.com or on our whatsapp.

Radio frequency 151.505. This is a  preferred freq. please check with other pilots on site before launch.

A current USHPA membership and minimum P2 / H2 certification is STRONGLY recommended at all sites, unless under USHPA instruction.

These site guidelines are a work in progress. Please contact us if you find any errors or omissions.

Beginning Sites:

Sled runs, Thermalling:

Ridge Soaring and Thermalling:

Beginning Sites 

THE PILOT PARAMETERS 

Our parameters follow USHPA recommendations  for P2 pilots, those with higher skills or ratings should consider the following as a baseline.

Pilot Rating: minimum P2, M2 unless under instruction.

ACCEPTABLE WIND DIRECTIONS

Launch 5500 FT :  (ideal is 250° - 265° to  240° - 285° ) 

 ACCEPTABLE WIND SPEEDS

0-10 mph with gusts up to 12mph, gust rate of 5mph per second, wind speed-gust differential of 10mph.

MINIMUM GLIDE RATIO: 

 10.2

LZ Elevation 

5240

Radio frequency 151.505

Last updated 12/16/21

Bear Canyon 

   JAN. 2021,  Access has changed! it's not at Bear Canyon Rd anymore. Don't park and hike from there (see new access directions below). New landowners are requesting no trespassing. Do not cross the creek from Bear Canyon, you will be trespassing

Please, support the Gallatin Valley Land Trust (the new owners) and encourage  them to make the decision to reopen access.

Bear Canyon is currently the best beginner site close to town.  Access, however, is complicated and changing rapidly so please ensure you are up to date by checking in with the Bozeman Airforce.  Keep in mind that some neighboring landowners object to public access at Bear, so please give the locals and the land the utmost respect.  Contact us with questions (flybozeman@gmail.com) or local pilots on What's App.

Fly, land and return to the summit only on the state land, avoiding the nearby houses and farms.  

The launch and LZ are on state trust land. You must have State of Montana recreation permit to hike, fly on State lands.

Even though this is a training hill,  ridge soaring and thermal hops out and over MT. Ellis are not unheard of.

Access: (New, Jan 2021)

Park at MT Ellis trailhead on MT Ellis LN, Bozeman. Hike is aprox.  2 miles. There is no marked trail be sure to avoid crossing private property. Red line on map is approximate line to hike.

Weather:

Hazards:

THE PILOT PARAMETERS

Our parameters follow USHPA recommendations  for P2 pilots, those with higher skills or ratings should consider the following as a baseline.


Pilot Rating

Training & mid launch, P2 unless under instruction. 

Upper launch, P3

ACCEPTABLE WIND DIRECTIONS

Upper Launch 6090 FT :  P3 recommended (ideal is 180° - 220° to  180° - 270° ) 

Mid Launch  5750 FT: (ideal is 220° - 280° to  200° - 300° ) 

Train Hill Launch 5600 FT: (ideal is 240° - 280° to  210° - 290° ) 

 ACCEPTABLE WIND SPEEDS

0-10 mph with gusts up to 12mph, gust rate of 5mph per second, wind speed-gust differential of 10mph. Upper winds should be in the low single digits when attempting cross country.

MINIMUM GLIDE RATIO: 

 Upper Launch 5.1

Mid Launch 2.9

Train Hill Launch 3.2

LZ Elevation 

5300

Radio frequency 151.505

PASS CK WEATHER 

Last updated 12/16/21

Pass Creek

https://www.weatherlink.com/embeddablePage/show/7bc275cb9b384d08a1b08e51fae5248e/wide

 This link will take you to a comprehensive guide.. 

This site is visible from the road, & game wardens check this area, You must have State of Montana recreation permit to hike, fly on State lands.

Pass Creek is a Launch/Landing on Montana State Land, along Rocky Mountain Road. 4-5 cars can park on the west side of the road at a bend in the road, 1 mile past Morgan Rd. Don't block the wire gate. There is an American flag in the cemetery on the northeast side that can be used as a wind indicator.  This site has cell service and In-reach/Sat-phone service.

 Hike

From the parking area, follow the road back south to the first large bush on the east side of the road where the fence is lower and easy to cross. Follow the fence line till  your on the south side of the 1st drainage, then head up the drainage to the Training Hill Launch or the Midway Launch. 

 Launches

The Training Hill Launch is a flat area on the hillside visible from the parking area with room to set up and kite before launching. The main LZ is  300 ft. below across the road. 

Midway Launch is above and north of the Training Hill Launch, it is launchable in west to southwest winds. This launch uses the same landing zones as the Training Hill Launch  and has an area behind launch with some potential for kiting. 

 Upper Knob Launch (P3 recommended) can be reached by hiking south east, above the Midway Launch until reaching a deep ravine (here you’ll be able to see the Upper Knob Launch), then turn to hike up.  The primary launch direction here is south, but  can also be launched west to fly over the Training Hill Launch and back to the parking area. From the southern aspect, the Cemetery landing zone (on public land) can be seen by imagining a line directly from launch to the intersection of Morgan Lane and Rocky Mountain Road, then another line 90 degree due east from this intersection. 

Northeast of Upper Knob Launch is a large clearing with a slight slope for kiting in south winds. There are some boulders and bushes scattered across this area.

 Landing Zones

All LZ's are unimproved, not flat and have large growths of sagebrush. Pilots are advised to walk the LZ 's before flight.  The main landing zone has the largest gaps of open ground between sagebrush  growth. Located on the west side of the road, south of parking. 

 The north LZ  is across the road from the parking area. With good spot landing skills, it allows for landing  across from the parking area in west winds.

The cemetery landing zone is southeast of Morgan Cemetery. This LZ is intended for sledders and sinking out from the Upper Knob Launch. The LZ is mostly sage brush covered, and it may be difficult to land here without getting lines tangled in the sage. Notably, there is private land adjacent to this LZ without a visible indicator of the property line. The property line follows an imaginary line from the center of the Upper Knob Launch down to the intersection of Morgan Lane and Rocky Mountain Road.

HAZARDS

Last updated 12/16/21

Story Hills

Story is closed indefinitely to all activities. 

Quick Flights, Sled Runs

THE PILOT PARAMETERS

Our parameters follow USHPA recommendations  for P2 pilots, those with higher skills or ratings should consider the following as a baseline.

Pilot Rating: minimum P2, M2 unless under instruction.

ACCEPTABLE WIND DIRECTIONS

Upper Launch 5900 FT :  (ideal is 220° - 240° to  210° - 260° ) 

3/4 Launch 5580 FT :  (ideal is 220° - 240° to  210° - 260° ) 

ACCEPTABLE WIND SPEEDS

0-10 mph with gusts up to 12mph, gust rate of 5mph per second, wind speed-gust differential of 10mph.

MINIMUM GLIDE RATIO: 

2.8

LZ Elevation  

4950  

Radio frequency 151.505

Last updated 12/16/21

The "M"

Access: 

The "M" is the quickest way to get a flight in from Downtown Bozeman. It is also one of the most popular hiking spots in Gallatin County. Due to the high number of hikers, please avoid flying near any designated trail. What feels safe to you may not feel safe to the hiker on the ground.    If new to the site, before hiking up, walk west from the parking lot to inspect the LZ marked by a windsock.     From the popular "M" trailhead hike up the "steep" trail to either the lower (3/4 of the way to the M) or the upper launch.  The 3/4 launch can be identified as a primitive trail that breaks from the main trail just after the main trail leaves the ridge towards the "M".  The upper launch is just above the M.    Launch is on Forest Service land the LZ is on FWP land.

Due to the density of hikers we ask that all proximity flying is done well away from established trails and seating benches. 

If launching from 3/4, be on the look out for pilots that may have launched above you at the upper M. 

After landing immediately move to the packing area between the wind sock and parking area.

Weather:

S-SW winds are ideal.  

Westerly winds will result in cross conditions at launch.  

Hazards:


Ridge Soaring

THE PILOT PARAMETERS

Our parameters follow USHPA recommendations  for P2 pilots, those with higher skills or ratings should consider the following as a baseline.

Pilot Rating: minimum P2, H2, M2 unless under instruction.

ACCEPTABLE WIND DIRECTIONS

North Launch 5200 FT :  (ideal is 340° - 20° to  320° - 40° ) 

South Launch: (ideal is 160° - 220° to  140° - 240° ) 

 ACCEPTABLE WIND SPEEDS

0-10 mph with gusts up to 12mph, gust rate of 5mph per second, and wind speed-gust differential of 10mph.

MINIMUM GLIDE RATIO: 

 6.3

LZ Elevation 

4770

Radio frequency 151.505

Last updated 12/16/21

The Hogback 

Access: 

Hogback parking, launch and LZ  are on private land. We are thankful to the family that allows us access to fly here. And thanks to the small group of hang glider pilots that have been responsible for this site over the years for sharing the ridge with us. 

 To reduce our impact, carpool whenever possible. There is livestock on this land, so ensure you close gates behind  you. The  two dogs at large (Daisy & Boaz), live here and are part of our scene. One will roll rocks to you, the other will closely monitor your launch. 

Don't jeopardize our access by flying  this site without a site intro or supervision for new pilots, this is not a beginner site.  The LZ  can't be seen from launch,  there are many overhead wires around the LZ, and the ridge can be crowded.  Pilots who are not familiar with sharing launch, LZ & the air with hang gliders should obtain that knowledge before flying Hogback.

Hogback is located in Paradise valley, south of Livingston off Divide RD.  near the Music Ranch.  Hang-gliders interested in this site should contact Dan  at (406) 223-1561 for a site briefing and access to the hang-glider parking area. 

There is a two track access through a locked gate for hang-glider's  drive up to launch. All others park at road. Before hiking up, look south & pass through the wire gate, take a walk through the LZ,  you’ll  see the windsock there.  Take note of the irrigation canal and overhead wires in the area. 

HIKE:

Begin your hike up to launch by passing through the small  spacing  between the fence posts (you’ll need to pass your gear over the fence, it won't fit through on your back.)  Follow the well defined trail across the canal up to  launch.  You’ll  know you’ve reached launch when you see a picnic bench on your left and the weather station a bit beyond on the right.  

LAUNCH:

It is possible to soar both the south and north sides of the hogsback depending on the wind. South is rarely flown.

Standing at  launch facing north you can't see the LZ.  There are large open areas below launch that can be used as a "bailout" but should not be used as a primary LZ.  The wind patterns on the pond below can help you time wind or thermal cycles. Typically,  ripples on more then half of the downwind side of the pond  are an indicator of winds too strong for a paraglider. You can also see a wind sock at the east bailout LZ to the right across the road (northeast). South side launches are unimproved in rough terrain.

Weather:

Hazards:


THE PILOT PARAMETERS

Our parameters follow USHPA recommendations  for P2 pilots, those with higher skills or ratings should consider the following as a baseline.

Pilot Rating: recommended P3, unless under instruction.

ACCEPTABLE WIND DIRECTIONS

Launch 7240 FT :  (ideal is 240° - 280° to  230° - 300° ) 

ACCEPTABLE WIND SPEEDS

0-10 mph with gusts up to 12mph, gust rate of 5mph per second, and wind speed-gust differential of 10mph. Upper winds should be in the low single digits when considering cross country.

MINIMUM GLIDE RATIO: 

 4.5

LZ Elevation 

5350

Radio frequency 151.505

Last updated 12/16/21

Mt. Ellis / Little Ellis

Access:

Drive to MT. Ellis Lane in Bozeman. Park off the road near the MT Ellis Trailhead. Please, do not block any ranch gates or driveways. Enter the trailhead onto State land at the gate. As you are hiking towards the timber you are in the large,  down sloping LZ.  Plan on landing in the field, west of the trail, across the line of bushes and away from the houses to the north. Do not fly or land near horses on the trail or near the houses. Landowners are concerned about a spooked horse causing injury. 

At end of day LZ often has early light katabatic winds, no windsocks are on site. Pilots should consider placing their own temporary wind socks while hiking through the LZ to launch.

 The trail to launch is approximately a 1.5 hour hike and not marked, it's advisable to be guided on your first hike.

 Because, launch is narrow with a steep drop off, the LZ is not visible from launch, thermal lift where peak climb rates exceed 200 fpm may exist. P3 rating is recommended with strong forward and reverse launching skills. 

P2 pilots should exceed recommended limitations only after thoroughly mastering all required tasks, and after acquiring a full understanding of the potential problems and dangers involved in exceeding these limitations. 

You must have State of Montana recreation permit to hike, fly on State lands. 

Weather:

Hazards: