Flying Sites in the Southwest
Read the introduction to the sites in this region. The Rio Grande Soaring Association can, on an informal basis, provide limited help for pilots who wish to visit these sites. There are plenty of places to stay and eat along Interstate 10, particularly around Exit 11. Camping can be done easily west of town in New Mexico on BLM land.
Launching from the steep slopes and cliffs in the desert mountains requires good kiting skills. It is hazardous to inflate and then immediately turn before stabilizing your glider overhead for a few seconds or more. Many pilots have damaged their equipment and been banged-up attempting to launch in the often turbulent air that characterizes the air we fly in. Pilots must have the skills to kite a glider overhead under control before attempting a launch, especially in strong air. In addition, all pilots should master inflating their gliders with the A's in one hand and the C's or D's in the other. You may have to de-power your glider at any moment and this is the only way you can safely do it while attempting a launch. Pulling deep on the brakes does NOT de-power your glider! In addition, you will not have time to go searching for the correct risers if things start to go wrong and you do not have the correct ones in your hands. Jamming the brakes will only make things worse. If you need training on how to do this, we can get help
Steve Crye follows a cloud street in Dona Ana County, NM. Photo by Steve. It does not get any better than this.
* = USHPA insured site. All pilots using our insured sites MUST be current members of USHPA. Use of Mini Wings at Rio Grande Soaring Association, Inc. managed and insured sites is not permitted.
*Agave Hill Franklin Mountains State Park, El Paso, TX (HG/PG)
Anapra Mesa Anapra, NM (HG/PG only)
Doña Ana County Airport Santa Teresa, NM (PPG only)
*Dry Canyon Alamogordo, NM (HG/PG only)
Elephant Butte Lake State Park Truth or Consequences, NM (HG/PG w tow/PPG)
Evergreen Turf Farms Santa Teresa, NM (HG/PG w tow & PPG)
Guadalupe Ridge Otero County, NM (HG/PG/PPG)
Kilbourne Hole maar Doña Ana County, NM (HG/PG & PPG)
La Luz Alamogordo, NM (HG only)
Lee's Lookout Franklin Mountains State Park, El Paso, TX (HG/PG)
Mag Rim, southern NM
*Nelson's Launch Franklin Mountains State Park, El Paso, TX (HG/PG)
North Mt. Franklin Franklin Mountains State Park, El Paso, TX (HG/PG)
Sod Farms – see Evergreen Turf Sod Farms above
Transmountain Pass Franklin Mountains State Park, El Paso, TX (HG/PG)
Valle de Bravo Mexico (HG/PG only)
Windy Point Alto, NM