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Indian Cliffs launch

indian cliffs launch.jpg

Indian Cliffs LZ

indian cliffs LZ.jpg

‭updated 12/12/23‬

‭Type:‬‭ northeast facing, eastern mountain site, near Elmira, NY, uniquely located in Elmira Class D airspace‬
‭Geography: ‬‭steep forested ridge overlooking the Chemung River and extending east to west for about 3 miles‬
‭History:‬‭ opened 1976 by FSF, flown continuously‬

‭Four wheel drive vehicle only to go up to launch. If tires spin DO NOT go in.‬
‭GPS Coordinates: ‬‭42.089599, -76.918885‬
‭Elevation:‬‭ 1650’ MSL (750 AGL)‬
‭Glide to LZ:‬‭ 4:1‬
‭Minimum Ratings & Skills:‬‭ H3/P3 (H2/P2 w/ supervision) and FL‬
‭Best Wind direction/speed:‬‭ NNE (015o), 5-12 mph (rotor/sink likely beyond 350⁰-045⁰ range). Can be‬ ‭safely flown in smooth straight-in (010⁰-020⁰) wind to 15 mph, smooth 30 degrees crossed wind to 10 mph.‬ 
Description: ‬‭in wooded park-like setting, the narrow slot launch drops off steeply to become a vertical‬ ‭face manifesting a compression zone out front, particularly in stronger conditions. The site frequently‬ ‭exhibits wonder wind conditions during late afternoon, especially in summer and early fall.‬
‭Hazards: ‬‭launch can be turbulent, especially in crosswinds; strong upward moving air due to the‬ ‭steepness of the ridge is easily underestimated; blown launches and tree landings have resulted; expect‬ ‭general aviation traffic due to ELM airport.‬
‭Access:‬‭ gravel driveway off rural road, passing neighbor’s house slow enough to avoid raising dust,‬ ‭across landowner’s lawn then via dirt/grass road, 2WD and standard car ground clearance sufficient‬ ‭except when snow covered, but 4WD is preferred by landowner‬
‭Parking:‬‭ clearing in trees behind launch and setup area, space sufficient for six to eight vehicles‬
‭Setup: ‬‭area immediately behind launch, among scattered trees, space sufficient for up to ten gliders‬
‭Control:‬‭ property is privately owned, launch is maintained by FSF, use is regulated by FSF, subject to‬ ‭terms & conditions of landowner agreement; landowner contact required beforehand.‬

Landing Zone‬
‭GPS Coordinates:‬‭ 42.100683, -76.916996‬
‭Description:‬‭ gently sloping 15-acre hayfield about ½ mile in front of launch and on the leeward side of ‭Harris Hill; bordered by a hedgerow and Route 352 on the north side, trees to the south, and adjacent‬ ‭fields east and west.‬
‭Hazards:‬‭ in the shadow of Harris Hill, LZ is subject to rotor effects, most notably wind of variable speed‬ ‭and switching direction when approaching; in stronger conditions, LZ turbulence prompts pilots with‬ ‭sufficient altitude (above ridge line) to land alternatively at the Harris Hill LZ; sink stronger than one‬ ‭would expect is encountered over shaded and moist areas just downwind of LZ; and unharvested hay is‬ ‭often too high for safely landing, other than a perfect no-stepper.‬
‭Access:‬‭ paved 2-lane public roadway bordering one side of field‬
‭Parking:‬‭ along shoulder of paved roadway next to main field, comfortably accommodating six vehicles‬ ‭on LZ side‬
‭Teardown:‬‭ area along north side of field away from main landing area, adjacent to parking‬
‭Control:‬‭ property is privately owned, LZ is maintained by owner and usually planted in hay, use is‬ ‭regulated by FSF, subject to terms & conditions of landowner agreement‬

‭Visiting pilots/new members must be accompanied by Board-designated LOCAL members for access,‬ ‭site briefing, and flight activity. Convene in teardown area of LZ next to Route 352, plant a windsock at‬ ‭upwind end of landing field, transfer equipment (carpool as convenient to minimize traffic). In order to‬ ‭fly the privately-owned site, landowner Dave Richards must be contacted beforehand, typically‬
‭accomplished by a phone call prior to any ETA commitment. If tires spin during wet or muddy‬ ‭conditions, stop vehicle and walk equipment in. Place wind indicators in the slot. Prior to the‬ ‭commencement of any flying, telephone Elmira Tower (607) 739-1971 to activate hang gliding at Indian‬ ‭Cliffs. At the conclusion of the day’s flying, telephone Elmira Tower to report the cessation of hang‬
‭gliding activity.‬

‭XC Options‬
‭XC potential is acceptable. Landing fields are not as common as elsewhere in the area but XC flights‬ ‭originate here, although not so frequent that defined route options, waypoints or LZs for landing out have‬ ‭been established.‬

‭Gliders must remain clear of parts of Elmira Class D airspace not included in Harris Hill Soaring Area,‬ ‭defined as that part Class D airspace south of a line from Wells Lane bridge through fairgrounds racetrack‬ ‭to east edge of control zone and through the intersection of Rt 352 and Winters Rd to west edge of control‬ ‭zone. FAA retains authority over operations. The site is subject to ad hoc closure for hunting from the end‬
‭of October through the beginning of December.‬

‭Safety Director:‬
‭Jim Kolymich, 435 Draht Hill Rd, Elmira, NY 14901 (607-732-0034)‬

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