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Just as long as everyone is bemoaning their launch sites, etc., allow me to continue the rant....

Yeah, we have very thorny stuff that grows here when and if we don't chew it down to it's nubs. The stuff grows over head-height and will TEAR you up, not to mention the wings with it's 2 - 3-inch long needle-like thorns.
If those woody 'weeds' are not kept down for a month or so, one needs a brush axe and good physical endurance to clear 'em, 'cause a mere weed eater without a steel blade will not touch them. Heck, me and my brush axe are faster than me and my bladed, farm-sized, 4-stroke Stihl weed eater when attacking these bastards.

I've been out west. Seen the stuff that (barely) grows. Ha. I know you guys have it easy. And then take a look at your thermals! Jeez! Totally envious!
Even your LZ's are (comparatively) gigantic and mostly flat (from what I've seen), and with few trees! How f'ing awesome! You guys complain too much. Come out East.....you'll gain a new appreciation for your own sites.


We have huge flat LZs out west?!?! Sure, I can think of a few, but there's PLENTY of tight ones. The closest I've come to flying out east is at the Tennessee Tree Toppers/Henson gap. If that amazing radial ramp launch and huge LZs don't make it the easiest mountain site to fly, I'd love to see what beats it.
TTT sites, especially Henson Gap, as well as LMFP, are the Disney Land and Disney World of Eastern hang gliding. Absolutely beautiful, HUMONGOUS and perfectly flat LZ's with absolutely perfect launch ramps. They're designed for the masses.

But travel a couple hundred miles north-east into NC, VA and even SC, and you will find better and possibly more rewarding challenges for the pilot who wants to escape the masses. There, a good pilot will find a much more untamed and raw environment from which to launch and land, laid-back rules, few if any paragliders, friendly, highly-skilled local hg pilots, and no launch nazies.
Though I will contend, of one of the sites we have, Big Walker Mountain site's property owner (LZ and launch) makes the rolly-polly LZ look like a well-manicured hilly golf course. A Hang Glider's country club with 100 miles of uninterrupted ridge soaring.
Mentioning BWM brings up Eagle Rock as well. Very nice, multiple, rolling LZs. The short SE launch requires a very strong sprint in the absence of a nice blow. Anything else is apt to hurt.
All our other sites have much smaller LZ's, many lined with tall trees, and they wouldn't be the quintessential mid-Appalachian LZ's without restricted, sloped, hilly, rolling, landing areas. Fun fun FUN! All good for XC practice.

Wow, that's news to me, and I've been flying 30 years. I have never heard of S. Carolina flying, only place in N. Carolina Kitty Hawk, only place in Virginia Woodstock. I LOVE flying little-known, uncrowded sites. When I lived in Bakersfield, CA, for 13 years, I had 8 primo, unregulated sites within an hour of me. More than a handful of pilots flying any of them at once was a rarity. Unfortunately, now two of those are now closed due to development, and two more are very restricted access at best. Hope that nightmare never happens to y'all.
Yeah, actually South Carlina Hang Gliding Association has a nice tidy cliff launch site. It's in Landrum, SC, just below the NC border. Really a great bunch of experienced pilots, and they're very active when it's not too hot and muggy. Not much ridge lift, but you can getchya-some on the plentiful 'house' thermals (yeah, off the big houses and rock faces below launch).

There are quite a few hidden-away sites in NC and VA, so it pays to have good local contacts.
I don't know if I'd want to go to Kitty Hawk exept to see some old friends. I lived there for 15 years, ran up and down Jockey's Ridge most every lunch-hour when toiling in the offices, and witnessed some 'interesting' :roll: instruction over there -- typical tourist bs.
Of course, they do aerotowing at the Cotton Gin up in Currituck, last I heard. Might be a little fun doing some gooning on the J-ridge, though I've never seen anyone do that there except during John's competitions that he holds once a year or so. I used to do a lot of land surveying and engineering work up and down the beach from below ocracoke, up to the VA line, and NEVER saw anyone take advantage of dunes, though I've heard some have once in a great while. However, all that's been at least five or six years ago, now.

Before I decided to fully engage in HG, I had my doubts about accessibility to cloud base in this area of the country, but the more local pilots I get to know, the more opportunities I find to fly. Rough and ready sites are all over the place, just bring your trimming gear (axes, chainsaws, 'whackers, etc.) and the obligatorily capable 4x4. Though, many aren't too rough, and some are quite nice, but never ever over-engineered. :thumbsup:

I don't believe the nightmare you speak of will be a thing to worry about here. Not many pilots, sadly. Though, most of 'em are older, experienced guys from the '70s, so we have to stoke and fuel the younger gens to help keep the sites open.


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