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Harris hill launch

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Harris hill LZ

updated 3/16/2023

Type: northwest facing, eastern mountain site, near Elmira, NY, uniquely located in Elmira Class D airspace
Geography: three-mile wooded ridge with a flat Chemung River valley in front of it
History: opened 1974 by FSF, flown continuously; sharing ridge with glider port where sailplanes first flown in US

GPS Coordinates: 42.112324, -76.915889
Elevation: 1650’ MSL (750 AGL)
Glide to LZ: 4:1
Minimum Ratings & Skills: H2/P2 (new H2/P2 w/ supervision) and FL
Best Wind direction/speed: NW (315o), 5-15 mph (rotor/sink likely beyond 290⁰-330⁰ range). Can be safely flown in smooth straight-in (300o-325⁰) wind to 15-20 mph with gusts to 25 mph, smooth 30 degrees crossed wind to 10 mph.
Description: well maintained, moderately sloped, fairly open, grassy slot on west side of wooded ridge
Hazards: in a west cross, expect turbulence due to rotor from Steege Hill upwind of launch; in soarable conditions, expect increased ridge traffic from fast-moving sailplanes with whom we share the ELM-designated Soaring Area; expect general aviation traffic due to proximity of Elmira-Corning Regional airport (ELM)
Access: gated dirt and gravel right-of-way off Harris Hill Road, passable by 2WD vehicles with good ground clearance but impassable when snow creates drifts behind crest of ridge line
Parking: the 5-acre field behind launch can accommodate many vehicles
Setup: the 5-acre field behind launch can accommodate many gliders
Control: excluding the privately owned access path, property is Club owned, launch is maintained by FSF, and use is regulated by FSF; Elmira Tower retains authority over flight operations in its control zone

Landing Zone
GPS Coordinates: 42.117743, -76.923353
Description: at distance ½ mile from launch, primary LZ is flat but narrow rectangular field used as a bailout for sailplanes flying harris Hill and consequently kept in good condition; it is bordered by Rt 352 at its west end, a tree-lined creek at its east end , and flanked by fields of crops on both sides
Hazards: in a west cross, expect turbulence due to rotor from Steege Hill opposite the west end of the LZ; narrowness of field and tall crops may restrict landing direction and favor using a nearby fallow field as an alternate; powerline along Rt 352 west of landing field, teardown and parking areas
Access: 100-yard dirt/gravel path from Rt 352 into sailplane bailout field, suitable for 2WD vehicles
Parking: at the extreme western end of the bailout field, accommodating four to six vehicles
Teardown: upon landing, immediately move glider to area at the extreme western end of the bailout field, next to parking
Control: property is privately owned, LZ is maintained by the county for the benefit of Harris Hill Soaring Society, Club use is regulated by FSF, subject to terms & conditions of landowner agreement

Visiting pilots/new members must be accompanied by Board-designated LOCAL member for access, site briefing, and flight activity. Convene in teardown area of LZ off Route 352, plant a windsock at upwind end of landing field, transfer equipment (carpool as convenient to minimize traffic). Lead vehicle opens
gate to access right-of-way, positions gate to side. Place wind indicators in the slot. Prior to the commencement of any flying, telephone Elmira Tower (607) 739-1971 to activate hang gliding at Harris Hill. At the conclusion of the day’s flying, telephone Elmira Tower to report the cessation of hang gliding
activity. Last vehicle retrieved insures access gate is closed and chain-latched.

XC Options
XC potential is very good and the site is productive; pilots leaving Harris Hill downwind must overfly the city of Elmira. Beyond which landing fields are abundant; reaching Chemung, route options are heading south down the Susquehanna River valley or east up the valley toward Binghamton; waypoints or LZs for
landing out have not 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. Elmira Tower may restrict flight operations due to unusual airport traffic. Whenever there is any sailplane activity, remain clear of glider port traffic pattern and avoid flying in front of runway ends, maintaining a minimum crossing/overflight altitude of 1000’ AGL.

President: Jim Kolynich, 435 Draht Hill Rd, Elmira, NY 14901 (607-732-0034)


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