Pidgeon Mountain – Site Guide

North America – USA – Georgia

Pidgeon Mountain is a popular hang gliding site located in the northwest corner of Georgia, near Chattanooga, Tennessee. It offers spectacular views of the Tennessee River valley and the surrounding mountains. The site is suitable for intermediate and advanced pilots who can handle a sheer cliff launch and variable winds.

Site Information

The launch point is at an elevation of 2,150 feet above sea level and faces east. The launch is a 90-degree rock face that drops about 30 feet to the tree tops below, then drops sharply after that. Wind is required to launch here and good launch technique is essential. The site is ridge soarable in east winds of about 7 mph or more.

The primary landing zone (LZ) is a large field about 1,150 feet above sea level and about 2 miles from the launch. There are many power lines in the area and some fields are off-limits for landing. Pilots should talk to local pilots or call Lookout Mountain Flight Park for updated information on LZs before flying.

The latitude and longitude of the launch point are 34.6522° N, 85.3727° W. The latitude and longitude of the primary LZ are 34.6497° N, 85.3498° W.

The launch is on public land and there are many attractions in the area, such as caving, rock-climbing and camping.

Flying Conditions and Restrictions

Pidgeon Mountain is a site that requires good judgment and skill from the pilots. The launch is challenging and the landing options are limited. The site is not recommended for beginners or low-airtime pilots. Pilots should have at least a USHPA H2 or H3 rating and a USHPA membership to fly here.

The site is regulated by the Georgia Department of Natural Resources and the US Forest Service. Pilots should follow the rules and regulations of these agencies and respect the landowners and the environment. Some of the rules and restrictions are:

  • No camping or fires around the launch area
  • No littering or vandalism
  • No flying over or landing in restricted areas
  • No flying in bad weather or low visibility
  • No flying without a helmet, harness, parachute and radio
  • No flying without notifying Lookout Mountain Flight Park or a local pilot

Pilots should also be aware of the potential hazards and risks of flying at Pidgeon Mountain, such as:

  • Turbulence and rotor near the launch and the ridge
  • Power lines and fences in the LZs
  • Trees and rocks near the launch and the LZs
  • Traffic and animals on the roads
  • Other pilots and spectators in the air and on the ground

Pilots should always fly within their limits and use common sense and courtesy when flying at Pidgeon Mountain.

Best Times to Fly and Visit

Pidgeon Mountain is a seasonal site that is best flown in the spring and fall when the east winds are more frequent and consistent. The site can also be flown in the summer and winter, but the conditions are more variable and less reliable. The site is usually flyable in the mornings and evenings when the winds are lighter and smoother.

The best time to visit Pidgeon Mountain is during the annual Pigeon Mountain Hang Gliding Festival, which is held in October. This is a fun event that attracts many pilots and spectators from all over the region. The festival features competitions, demonstrations, music, food and camping. It is a great opportunity to meet other hang gliding enthusiasts and enjoy the beauty of Pidgeon Mountain.

There are no record flights from Pidgeon Mountain, but some pilots have reported flying over 50 miles from the site. The longest flight was by Jeff Nibler, who flew 57 miles to Trenton, Georgia in 2010.

More Information

If you want to learn more about Pidgeon Mountain and hang gliding in Georgia, here are some useful links and contacts:

  • Lookout Mountain Flight Park: This is the largest and most experienced hang gliding school and resort in the country. They offer training, tandem flights, equipment rental and sales, lodging and camping. They are located about 20 miles from Pidgeon Mountain and they can provide you with updated information on the site conditions and LZs. Their phone number is (706) 398-3541.
  • Hang Gliding Wiki: This is a collaborative online resource for hang gliding information. It has a detailed page on Pidgeon Mountain with maps, photos, directions and tips.
  • Georgia Hang Gliding Association: This is a non-profit organization that promotes hang gliding in Georgia. They organize events, meetings, newsletters and advocacy for the sport. You can join them or contact them at [email protected].
  • Pigeon Mountain Hang Gliding Festival: This is the official website of the annual event that celebrates hang gliding at Pidgeon Mountain. You can find out more about the festival, register online, see the schedule and sponsors, and contact the organizers.

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