LZ: 300’ MSL
Horizontal: 1.3 miles (4.3 Glide)
Baldy is a favorite local site for many reasons: it is one of the few
sites that requires less than 10-minutes hiking from the parking area
and it provides great thermal flying, soaring, or simple flights. Most
of the low brush has been cleared over the years in the launch area
providing a grassy, mellow knoll where several wings can lay out at
a time. Good thermal days will often put cloud base at 6500’ or
higher and cross-country potential north to Palmer, South to Flattop,
or east to the visitor’s center (12 mi).
The Arctic Air Walkers (AAW) have worked hard to acquire and maintain an established LZ @ the Harry McDonald Memorial Center. The AAW have a dedicated landing zone of better than 5 acres that is landable in any direction. There is even a new Kiosk that is dedicated to our activities. An annual pass is required to utilize this site.
Works Best When:
Spring and early summer provide the best thermal conditions and XC flights
in nearly all directions have originated here. Look for North-northwest
light winds up to 12 mph. Call the windtalker before heading up (694-3017).
Afternoon thermals can be strong and expect over-development if cumulus
clouds form before noon. If you enjoy a nice hike, continue past the
first bench up
Baldy (3038’ MSL) itself and launch in just about any wind direction except
east (be prepared for a rocky/tundra terrain).
P3 Rating or better.
Flat slope launch experience and a site orientation are strongly recommended.
There are areas of sink that must be avoided and there are only trees
between launch and LZ. A modern wing with good glide is a must; not
to mention good judgment on when NOT to launch!
The Arctic Air Walkers pays annual fees to insure this site through USHGA. Contact
an Arctic Air Walkers member for information on how to join the club.
- Launch is a fairly shallow slope so if you run long you
may be pulling your wing from the alders.
- The area between launch and
landing is a hot traffic zone for light aircraft heading in and out
- To the pilot’s left (south) along the ridge about
halfway down is a very large home sitting by itself. The owner has
strongly asked us to stay
500’ away from his place; unfortunately it often happens the best lift
is there. Imagine a 500’ diameter dome over his place and stay away from
it. The house is roughly 700’ below launch.
- Everything opposite the
highway from launch is military airspace (Don’t
- A large radio antenna is
positioned right by the launch. Stay clear of it and attempt a top
landing only if you’re quite experienced.
Contact a local
pilot for a briefing before flying this site.
site description is by no means meant to be complete. Contact
a local pilot for a briefing before flying any site and fly within
your USHGA rating limits.