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#163970
I live in Knoxville and as much as I like LMFP I was looking for something a little closer to home. I had my glider out two days ago cleaning it and doing a few checks when a visiting member of my neighbors family came up to me and asked about it, basically that lead to him asking me where I fly and when I told him LMFP he asked why I didn't just go off Clinch Mountain.

Apparently as a boy, every Sunday he and his father would go up there and watch the pilots launch. Since this is only 20 minutes from my house (and has two launches close together, a SE and NW) I was very intrigued. The only downside is that he was a boy in the late 70's and I can't seem to find much info on the site, other than one post on the Tennessee Tree Toppers website, which I've posted below. I located the site on the topo map and want to go up to have a look sometime in the near future but does anyone have any information on it??? According to the document it is the longest continuous ridge in the US so it is DEFINITELY worth looking into! I also read somewhere that a sailplane made it to Canada off that ridge! Well here is the document from the TTT website:

Clinch Mountain, Knoxville TN, longest contiguous ridge in the US.

By Jeff Laughery

The new owners of Clinch Mountain have made indications that we will be able to Fly Clinch Mountain again in the near future. The point is that Bruce Hawk (Hawk Airsports), owner of the Clinch Southeast Landing field, is selling the LZ. He needs to re-capitalize his WINDSOK business and get it rolling again.

I can see that it would be a major loss for the sport of hang gliding if we let this LZ (and launch site) disappear from the face of the earth. Bruce has listed the LZ property (12.26 acres) for sale a several weeks ago for $60,000. The first real estate contract has expired. He is willing to accept possibly $50,000 minimum if a deal is put together without a realtor. He has another realtor lined up that says he can sell it for $55 to $60.

I am personally willing to buy in 20% ownership ($10,000) if we can put a deal together!!!

Clinch Mountain has not been flown with any of the state of the art equipment that we currently have. The last time I flew it I had a "New" K2, others were flying HPII, Axis, Sensor, MK IV, Sport, Formula, etc. The record potential here is awesome!!! Anyone care to try for a new East Coast record??? I personally flew 98 miles (K2) with Tip Rogers (HPII) from Clinch NW Launch to Bakersville NC in/around 1991. This was one of my absolute very early cross country flights (like number 10), and it was an awesome experience!!!

Where is Clinch Mountain:

I have included a link from TOPOZONE that will show you exactly where the

Clinch Mountain site is (Joppa, TN):

Interstate 40, East of Knoxville TN, Exit 392, Northeast on Rutledge

Pike/US 11W, go 22 miles to Mountain Road, Left (just past Joppa School), one quarter mile to first tar/chip road on right.

http://www.topozone.com/map.asp?z=17&n= ... =25&size=l

The Southeast LZ (for sale) is located on the map below the word "Valley"

in "Poor Valley" where the red cross "+" is located, on initial load of the

map. The field is oriented in a SW to NE direction, and the road/driveway

bisects thru the Northeast 1/3 portion of the field.

Both the SE and NW Launches are located on the map between the word

"Clinch" and "Mountain" at the highest point on the topo.

The Northwest LZ is located in the valley next to the road that crosses the ridge, almost exactly due West of the Launch Point on the map. It is on the East side of the road next to the Red House Dot, across from the other red house dot. This is not owned but a friendly farmer/neighbor.

Change the scale to 1:100,000 to see a bigger picture, and scroll to the

Northeast to see ridge. It truly is awesome!

note: there is actually a potential West/Southwest launch site as well, just a couple hundred yards to the Southwest.





Launch Ownership:

Clinch Mountain was owned by a mining company (Sand mining) while it was opened in the 80’s/early 90’s. It was purchased by a guy that timbered the mountain around 1992. At this point it was closed to flying. After it was timbered a person that buys land and/or timbers it, purchased it. He lives in Chicago, his brother Harry Bacon lives in Knoxville. Harry Bacon seeked out Bruce Hawk and asked if we would like to start flying there again. We will need to place a gate at the bottom of the road and agree to the maintenance of the road again.



Access to the Launch:

Access to the top of Clinch Mountain is a 2 mile 4 wheel drive road. In the past, the Tennessee Valley Hang Gliding Association was responsible for maintaining the road. This was done via a $100 annual dues that went toward the Bulldozer clean up that occurred each year or two. The club had about 30 members with about a dozen or so very active members. The bulldozer work was provided by a neighbor to the LZ (Melvin) that has a bulldozer and charges a reasonable rate for his time.



Current Situation:

I have 3 interested parties (including myself) that together will make up half of the money to purchase. Another person that has some funds has yet to commit to the project. We are seeking written permission to use the road and the launch. We would like to consider purchasing a small plot on top, but do not think the owner will sell any of the property. This is to be discussed further with the owner. We will also need to get Melvin on the road to do some dozer work.



If anyone is at all interested in helping "Save Clinch Mountain" please drop me a note or give me a call as soon as possible.



Additional info and photos can soon be viewed at www.treetoppers.org or http://www.treetoppers.org/ I also have digital photos available to be e-mailed…



Thank You very much for any help you can give, or suggestions you may have,



Jeff Laughrey

PO Box 790

Soddy Daisy, TN 37384-0790

423-432-5391 mobile - anytime

jeff.laughrey@img-a.com or jeff_laughrey@img-a.com (same place)

USHGA # 47058
User avatar
By Windlord
#163971
Not familiar with the area, but does sound like a project worth looking at.
Good luck and keep us posted. :thumbsup:
By mwhitmire
#163974
Yes I would consider a launch site on the longest ridge in North America within twenty minutes of my house :shock: a good project! I'll keep you posted. Hopefully I'll find something out soon! If I drive up I'll take some pics and post them.
User avatar
By pjwings
#163979
Did you call Jeff? His phone number is listed right there.

I live midway between Knoxville and Chattanooga but I work in Knoxville and I would love to see that site opened up!
By mwhitmire
#163995
PJwings: I hadn't called him yet, I wasn't even sure that would be a working number since its from 2002!

Michaelb51: Thanks for Tip's info, I had been given his name before but lost it! Since he resides in Knoxville he might have some useful info!
User avatar
By HangDog
#163998
mwhitmire wrote:PJwings: I hadn't called him yet, I wasn't even sure that would be a working number since its from 2002!

Michaelb51: Thanks for Tip's info, I had been given his name before but lost it! Since he resides in Knoxville he might have some useful info!
Don't loose a battle you haven't fought yet! :thumbsup: give it a call, it just might be one of your most important calls ever.

Keep us posted on the site.
User avatar
By DanTuck
#164006
mwhitmire wrote:PJwings: I hadn't called him yet, I wasn't even sure that would be a working number since its from 2002!
Ya never know, man, with the amount of people using cell phones exclusively these days. My phone number hasn't changed since 1999 and I've moved nine times in 3 different states.

Good luck, hope it works out! I'm planning on taking a trip to Lookout / Henson's Gap this spring / summer and it would be great to hit a new-old site also.
User avatar
By JR
#164012
The sites on Clinch Mtn have been closed for years, but Tip would be the guy to contact as he's been the most active Knoxville pilot for as long as I can remember.

JR
By mwhitmire
#164021
Well I didn't even notice it right off but there is an email for Jeff...duh...anyway I emailed him and Tip and now am just waiting to hear back. I tried calling Jeff but it just went straight to voicemail...so later I'll try again. Anyway that is all I have for now!
User avatar
By ChattaroyMan
#164029
Is this the ridge you guys are chatting about? If so, it sure looks like there are a few places to launch (at least looking at it via Google Earth). See my placemark attached..... I couldn't find a spot called Clinch Mtn on GE so I took my best stab at an area on the ridge that had a major road nearby. I added (at least I thought I did) a placemark via the Add Attachment button. Haven't done this before so I don't know if I've done it successfully.
User avatar
By SkyPilot
#164056
Hey Mark, sounds exciting and it's only 20 minutes from where you live :thumbsup: Hopefully you will find the perfect HG site - I guess then I'll have to come visit you there :lol: Brian
User avatar
By flyinbryan
#164071
Good to see some more Knoxville pilots on here! I have heard many great stories of 'the old days', when there were over a hundred pilots in Knoxville and 9 sites within a two hour drive. Clinch Mt. was the jewel of them all. Unfortunately, the landing fields have all been developed and pilots moved on. There are still a few good 'private' sites that are flown in the area.
The site that Tip and I fly is Brushy Mt. over near Wartburg, TN. It is a nice slope launch that is top landable. The lz is a long glide, but great soaring potential on a SW day.
I think the main problem with Clinch is the road to launch is in horrible condition and a new road would have to be cleared. I am not sure about the landing area. I will direct Tip to post on here as he can give you more details.
By mwhitmire
#164078
flyinbryan wrote:Good to see some more Knoxville pilots on here! I have heard many great stories of 'the old days', when there were over a hundred pilots in Knoxville and 9 sites within a two hour drive. Clinch Mt. was the jewel of them all. Unfortunately, the landing fields have all been developed and pilots moved on. There are still a few good 'private' sites that are flown in the area.
The site that Tip and I fly is Brushy Mt. over near Wartburg, TN. It is a nice slope launch that is top landable. The lz is a long glide, but great soaring potential on a SW day.
I think the main problem with Clinch is the road to launch is in horrible condition and a new road would have to be cleared. I am not sure about the landing area. I will direct Tip to post on here as he can give you more details.
Awesome I think I know the place at Brushy Mt near Wartburg...I have an account in that area and every time I drive by I stare at the ridge and look for possible launch sites. There is also a long ridge in Harriman right off the interstate. It would be a cliff launch and it def has some altitude...finding an LZ would only be the hard part. I heard of a place called Buzzard's Bluff that is supposed to be in Harriman and I think it may be on that ridge...but you have to have a 4x4 to get up there. I will definitely have to meet up with you guys and check out some of the local places soon...I still just can't let Clinch Mt go though...that ridge is sooooo long! There has to be a way to fly there...maybe no LZ in the vicinity will just encourage me to look for lift that much harder :mosh:

Thanks for the info though man and I hope to get in touch with Tip...I emailed him but haven't heard back yet. Are you the only other pilot in Knox?
By mwhitmire
#164079
SkyPilot wrote:Hey Mark, sounds exciting and it's only 20 minutes from where you live :thumbsup: Hopefully you will find the perfect HG site - I guess then I'll have to come visit you there :lol: Brian
Hell yeah man! Come on up! It'll be cheaper than staying at LMFP I have an extra room that I will give you for the price of driving for me a little bit :mrgreen:

ChattaroyMan: Did you mean to attach the google earth thing on here? Or can I go on Google Earth and find the attachment? The launch for Clinch Mt is right off Hwy 11W...about 15 miles NW of I-640 if that helps you locate it...I'll see if I can find it on there...
User avatar
By ChattaroyMan
#164141
mwhitmire wrote:ChattaroyMan: Did you mean to attach the google earth thing on here? Or can I go on Google Earth and find the attachment? The launch for Clinch Mt is right off Hwy 11W...about 15 miles NW of I-640 if that helps you locate it...I'll see if I can find it on there...
Think I found it. Is it in the Lea Lake area (this lake is SE of the ridge spine) or have I gone to far NW?
User avatar
By DanTuck
#164145
Wow. It's a roughly 1,500' AGL, 60 mile rige heading into Virginia, then a 10 mile dog leg and a gap. Then if you can make it over the gap and around a part of the ridge that juts out, which I'm sure is no easy task, there's another 30 miles. On a solid NNW day, even I could run that ridge for 60 miles.
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User avatar
By pjwings
#164159
DanTuck wrote:Wow. It's a roughly 1,500' AGL, 60 mile rige heading into Virginia, then a 10 mile dog leg and a gap. Then if you can make it over the gap and around a part of the ridge that juts out, which I'm sure is no easy task, there's another 30 miles. On a solid NNW day, even I could run that ridge for 60 miles.

Man... this is something we have to do!
By mwhitmire
#164172
Yeah definitely! Now you can see why I wonder why the site is not functional and why we must find a way to launch from Clinch Mt again!
User avatar
By SkyPilot
#164177
WOW :thumbsup: :thumbsup: You boys up there in TN (I still can't spell it :( ) have a great project to work on. 60+ mile soaring ridge (!!) - that sounds awesome dudes!! Good luck.

Mark, since you started the topic - how does this sound for the potential launch site: Whitmire's Launch - I kinda' like the sound of that :thumbsup:

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