We have a growing community of Paragliders up here in Fort Collins. To fly, we must drive to Boulder, Lookout, to fly a safe and “legal” site. It sucks making that drive every morning just to catch a sledder or two. We have a hill up here in Fort Collins behind Hughes Stadium bearing the letter “A” on the east face. This is a drive up site with a 5 min no-sweat hike to launch. This hill is very comparable to the Boulder site. Rumor has it that many years ago, the “A” was open as a launch for hang glider pilots. For some reason, the launch disappeared. I was up there today poking around taking some pictures. It looks as if there are a few areas to launch and an experienced pilot shouldn’t have any problems. I got home and decided to call around Larimer County and Fort Collins Open Space. It turns out that the land on the hill and at the bottom is owned by Fort Collins Open Space. While on the phone with FCOS, they were telling me that landing in a field might be kind of iffy, but they don’t see any problem with it. They told me I should check code to find specifics. I found something of interest. I was wondering if there are any loopholes we can work with. LZ is at 5160’ Launch is at 5770’
FC Municipal Code: Sec. 23-203 (d) (3) Land or launch in a recreation area, or fly lower than five hundred (500) feet above a recreation area, any type of aircraft, including hot air balloons and hang gliders, except within takeoff or landing airways of a commercial airport or in emergency situations.
I have not launched this, but would like to, and would only do it under “legal” situations. The people I spoke with today support a free flight program for paragliders or hang gliders flying in Fort Collins. If we can’t work with the code stated above, we may need to get it changed. I’m in the dark as to how to do this, but am up for donating time, money, and whatever it takes to get a FC Launch/Landing zone established.
Whatcha think? Gimme some input.