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Learn about mount 7 free flight

Better knowledge of mount 7 (Seven) free flight area improves the experience.

Mount Seven...

  • Regularly hosts hang gliding and paragliding competitions.
  • Its "Lookout" launch site area is also a recreation site for picnic and tourism.
  • Is visited by snowmobilers, skiers, cyclers, hikers, etc.
  • Is an appreciated location for special events, like weddings.  ? 
  • Is managed by Rec Sites and Trails BC.

( Many photos are not loaded right away to reduce download time. Bring them with a click, if needed. Thanks ! : )


December 2021  December 25: Short report of a 2nd covid year. A paraglider landed too long at Nicholson to slightly damage its canopy. A hang glider struck the hydro line guard wire at the southern edge of the field and crashed into the field. Left arm broken and bruises on the knees. As for flights, several of more than 100 km by Felix in delta and paragliding. Jon also, from the south, in a paraglider. The virus still reigns with mocking mutants. Here are my holiday wishes and overview of the year .

Juillet 2021  19 juillet: The season started slowly with the covid. Best paragliding and hang gliding flights to date are by Felix. The dry and hot weather obviously caused serious fires in the province which started to smoke us this month. High prevalence of moderate to strong southerly winds which reduce flights, mornings and evenings remaining. The Willi will take place this year, distanciation version. More detail on fb above right.

December 2020  December 11: A guy whose name escapes me put the thermals of known sites on 3D map. He used data from the 50 best paragliding flights. He included mt 7.
As a result of the covid year, no incident to report. There is still at least one French visitor who has broken his personal distance record. December 24: This year all people unite in disease while all keep their distance. Here are my holiday wishes.

June 2020  June 21: The official GEAR landing has been open since yesterday but with several restrictions (see mt7air on fb), the most important being their waiver. On the other hand, the Skyview ranch from Doug and Karen also allows them to land on their property across the street if you've signed their waiver. The landing section is updated. Other news: Toby Stier led a project to install a weather station at the Lookout. More detailed. He has a gofundme to receive donations.

April 2020  18 april: Of course, with the covid-19 restrictions, the Willi is cancelled. Worse, the regular LZ is off limit. Luckily, Doug and Karen will allow landing on their property on the other side of the road if you signed their waiver. They are easy to find on fb.

Decembre 2019  December 25: Another good year spent avoiding its worse events. It's the time to appreciate all this. Here are my holiday wishes and 2019 year revue.

September/october/november 2019  November 12: A word to mention that I flew only three days at the beginning of september. The weather was rather bad after that and I was lacking time. Snow started accumulating on the road to launch in october.It would have been possible to fly several days though. Now mid-november, the ski stations of the Rockies are beginning to open. You can get overall info on

August 2019  August 31: A pretty good month as usual. No smoke this year. A few good flights were done during the Willi, the most notable being Will Gadd that landed in Alberta. Not much incidents. One beginner paraglider treed himself strangely at the end of the month.

July 2019  July 27: The weather rather uncertain and the winds kept the site rather lonesome before this week. Rain today but the sun is supposed to come back for the next few days. Windy tomorrow sunday though risking to keep a few grounded. A few scary incidents with the wind this month but nothing serious happened. Recall that the Willi is now and HQ is at Keller's (christened Skyview ranch).

June 2019  June 22: Flying activities have really started and we report already one treeing (last weekend) and one accident (last tuesday) that required GADSAR intervention (Golden rescue).

May 2019  May 19: The trial between the owners has ended with Cathy-Anne winning the LZ. She has barred the Willi from the GEAR. Luckily, Doug and Karen Keller bought just last autumn the field on the other side of the road and offered to allow the Willi at their place. fb post by Willi organisers.

April 2019  April 7: Benjamin Jordan, bilingual, did a long bivouac flight(s) last year in the Rockies and made a film about the adventure.

Ski and mount 7 far away

January 2019  January 1: It's a time of mental rest to take stock. Here are my holiday wishes and the year 2018 review, always the worst events of the world and some of the bests.

December 2018  December 9 Cars and wings are well tucked for the winter, the snow now invites preparations for the preferred winter activity: the ski (and snowboard). In the Rockies, the choice is as huge as the mountains. See Canadian Alpine Adventures for an independant overview of the ski stations. Out of bound ski is also very popular in alpine lodges, either for ski touring, or with shuttles by caterpillar (catski) or by helicopter (heliski).

November 2018  Novembre 24 The flying season being really over, it's time for a quick overview. Always lots of good flights on good days but this year, wild fires blocked south flights at the beginning of the Willi. The smoke that was coming and going after that made distance flights rather difficult. Safety and accidents side, I suffered myself a broken ankle mai 20 (video on fb) that forbade my flights until mid-july. A few short on landing with paragliders as usual. One close call with a paraglider grazing a hang glider about to get on the ramp (video on fb). Nobody reported any treed paraglider this year.


Octobre 2018  Briefly: The month where the sun disapears really early. Surprise this year, more than seven sunny days. Thermals rather weak though, worse than september, but still nice little flights to end the season.

ramp work distance

September 2018  September 14: The air improved and a few sunny days have allowed some distance flights in the beginning of the month. Since a week the weather remains bad and rainy however and not much hope for the coming week. September 30: Few flights this month. Only a few sunny days and no good autumn weather this year. Many sled runs. Yesterday, an albertan group helped by locals put the ramp back in shape.

smokey high

August 2018  August 9: Too much good weather and here we have the fires and its smoke again. There were excellent flights tuesday before the smoke came in. The fires are south so the south wind the next days blanketed us in deep smoke. So much that the sun is a red disk. The Willi, ending sunday, was frustrated by a fire 20 km south but hundreds of km were routinely flown. The usual for mt 7. August 16: We had one good day and then the smoke generalised even more. There are so many fires in the province that it declared a state of emergency yesterday. The smoke is now so dense we can barely see the mountains.

toward lz touch and go

July 2018  July 16: A spat of nice weather since three days! Some paras and deltas are camping here. I was not there yesterday (sunday), but there was an incident with a paraglider hitting someone near the ramp. That could have been much worse for Jeff and Molly. Scratching close to ground is dangerous here.
Today, I could not resist a little very careful para flight today, monday. The left foot resisted. By the way, the shuttle Columbia Eco Track Adventures (aka mt7 up truck) rolls with two trucks where one (the black) can take hang gliders. The price doubled to $20 a ride this year. Jennifer 250-939-8514 for a ride or see at the usual spots.

evening flight

June 2018  June 2: Not many flights this year and I am myself grounded for june with a broken leg previous mai 20 (details on mt7air). Visitors came today to fly paras and hang in the evening. Local flights.

paraccident the 20 Road at 7k on may 5

May 2018  May 17: Flights started early may. Very good sunny conditions on the 13, 14 and 15 (sunday to tuesday). Road under snow at 11 km now so my launches were from the 9k (some launched before from the 5k). Two good paragliding distances for me, in spite of late launches. Both were personal paragliding records in fact, now at 65 km (Spilli). Bike trails being again full of sowned trees, we see few of them mountain bikers.

March 2018  March 8: There was a discussion initiated by Martin Henry on the old HPAC Yahoo Group about suspending of operations of the HPAC because of mismanagement and waste. He backed down a but here is his latest comment that explains part of the situation with current management, the financial part touch Martin more than me (I am rather into stopping them from abusing power): « Sadly, I'm still not satisfied that HPAC acts responsibly with its finances and the interests of the members. Truth is, I doubt it is the fault of the directors. I think it is the fault of the membership for not telling the directors what we want. Without guidance our volunteer directors do what they think is best (and do so with little thanks or recognition). My concern is inherent to ALL associations and bureaucracies. Left without guidance they will spend everything you give them. They will justify this spending will a great deal bluster and "self importance". Just being told how important something "is" does not make it important. Things like sending a HPAC representative in person to a USHPA meeting, celebrating access to the federal parks or bringing together all of our Senior instructors for face to face meetings on our ratings and instruction may sound "very important" but given the size of our organization deserve to be dealt with in a much more financially prudent manor... After all its our money. I encourage members to read my posting about the "Thing": The HPAC is a small organization that has a very small house to keep in order. Lets remember that when it tries to tell us how important it is. - Martin Henry ».
My response: Your argument is funny though. You blame the membership for not telling the BoD what they want but not the BoD for not informing and not getting informed. I informed the BoD that their actions were illegal and, at best, not legitimate and it had no effect. Nick sums it up on fb. They are bent on imposing rules on the premise that TC and the insurer is right behind their backs forcing them to. Bull! They used the same argument to try to justify my (temporary) expulsion. It is fascism. If the argument flies for my expulsion, it flies for any sort of dumb abuse they wish.

December 2017  December 25: Here are my holidays 2017 wishes with year review, now with saxophone (ouch!).

Launch at 5k

November 2017  November 12: The weather becomes too cloudy and gloomy this month. The 6, sunny day, a sled. Enough snow fallen and stayed for cross-country skiing mi-mountain. November 26: Wings and car tucked, let's see the highlights of the season. Season 2017 was exceptional for the nice weather more common, that unfortunately caused forest fires smoking the air end of august. Lots of distance flights as usual. Reports were made of fields changing ownership to less welcoming. Prefer harvested, fallow, in less good shape, or abandonned fields. A gust front the evening of july 23 fell thousands of trees in town and on the mountain, some, giants, blocking the bike trails for the remaining of the season because of the ban on machine use to reduce the chances of forest fires. Accidents side, several paragliders treed themselves or landed short in the dry marsh, without damage or injury. Two paragliders narrowly escaped problems when a gust front came july 7. A third one, cloudbase, could not avoid it and he tells his adventure (see past month news). Hang gliding, few incidents, two notably bad launches broke tubes, minor for one, major for the second, without broken bone.

Bald eagle dives Sergey tells his july adventure

October 2017  October 7: Nice first week for flying. Three good days with flights of over two hours two of the days. Scratching under inversion. — I met Sergey last saturday (30 sept) and he has sent me text, videos and track of his adventure of july 7 and 8 that I have added to the page of stories and adventures at mount 7. It's full of learnings for the friends. October 28: Very good conditions last thursday. Flight with birds where one bald eagle make a spectacular dive, captured on vidéo.

Michael does his first flights in altitude Under the clouds Smokey day

September 2017  September 11: The smoke comes and goes first part of the month, making the flying rather variable. The day before yesterday, rain cleaned everything. Yesterday, good thermals, today, strong south sinked us. See mt7air on fb for more daily details. September 25: The sky remains clear. The air is getting colder, the sun goes down early and shows up less often toward the end of the season. Conditions good enough for beginners and paragliding. Distances flights are rarer.

Willi day Fire

August 2017  August 3: Finally a clear sky but why so much wind? It stokes the fires and grounds the paragliders. Very turbulent near the mountains in distance and a challenge to land. A couple of incidents on the south launch the past few days, one paragliding and the other hang gliding. More details on fb. August 31: Monthly brief: very nice and hot, some windy days and many smokey days. Accidents: one paraglider treed on south launch (no damage), and a hang glider missed his launch south (broken downtube), then end of august, a hang glider vigorously miss a ramp launch with damages (crossbar, downtube, sail) and only some bruises.

During the Willi Fallen trees on the 23, photo on the 24 Thermal sharing

July 2017  July 6: Sun and thermals are super good this month so far with some windy days. No incident noted yet. One change, the Harrogate field is harvested by the new owner. Better avoid it until it is harvested, which is tarding. Always more daily details on fb. Btw, the shuttle Ecotrac still works this year. July 31: Excellent month of july. Enough flying days for tiredness to accumulate a little. Incidents: three paragliders were in the air during a gust front. One landed shortly, one escaped downwind and landed and one was too high and threw his reserve, self rescued and got out of the wood next day. Big gust front did strike also on the 23 falling thousands of trees on mount 7 and in town. The road, cleared the next day, and the bike trails still blocked. Willi: good start but too windy for paragliders.

June 2017  June 29: Bad weather during the first half of the month. One day of distance flight by Peter and Trevor reported though. The month ends better with sunny days and many coming during the last weekend. First distance flights for me. More details in mt7air of fb (module upper right).

May 2017  May 23: First flights of the season for me and a few others during this long weekend. Not super good but decent local flights. The road is still full of snow above 10 km, so I took off from the 9k launch. May 31: Second weekend good enough but the air became more and more inverted. The road is now open to the Lookout. — HPAC update, they have removed my expulsion but have not apologized for their idiotic decision and have not re-hired me. They have not created an ombudsman either. Quite the contrary, they try to have Omerta (law of silence) applied to the members of HPAC. The directors discuss in secret. The HPAC is currently under the influence of organised crime, like many “unions”. The president and many members (albertans notably) are probably already subjected to this “law”.

February 2017  February 2: The board of directors (BoD) of the HPAC was already "expulsive" before but in the spring of 2016, they decided they needed to expel immediately, for any reason they wanted, justified or not, with any conditions any of them would feel like requiring for reinstatement, and no appeal possible. This seems to be abusive, at odds with laws and commonsense. The question of the survey on Facebook is: What justifies an expulsion from the HPAC? Choose all that applies. Some of these answers did lead to disciplinary measures and expulsions. Fb limits the number of answers to ten, so I wrote down a fuller list in the first comment. You can say if you think some are worth an expulsion, a disciplinary measure, a bit of talk, or a pat on the back. So... What justifies an expulsion from the HPAC?

Previous news open page

weather Forecast for Golden open page Graphical forecast open page Wind at airport open page


Otto Lilienthal glides in 1895 Wilbur glides in 1901

[...] the aeroplane without propeller, is the object of the current study. What is demonstrated in the present book allow to assert:
  That in the flight of sailing birds (vultures, eagles, birds that flies without beating wings) the elevation is produced by the skillful use of the force of the wind [ie. of air movements], and the direction by skill; [...]
  Man can then with a rigid surface, well organised to able steering, repeat the ascending and steering exercises sailing birds do, and will only need to spend in fact the force necessary for steering. [...]
- Louis-Pierre Mouillard, from L'Empire de l'Air, 1881, aka The Empire Of The Air, 1893.

[...] there is a possibility that men will eventually learn to fly without motors, after the manner of the soaring birds, which sail for hours on motionless wings. In such case the flyer would be so small and simple that the original cost would be very moderate, and the fuel expense done away with entirely. Then flying will become an every-day sport for thousands [...]
- Wilbur Wright, from a short article in Scientific American, 1908 February 29.

The Wright brothers in briefPhotos source

The Rockies, Golden, mount 7, the valley of the Columbia river


Mt 7: It named itself!

Above mount 7 (PBE). Mt 7 overview.
Aerial topographic (Canada).
Recent image from town.

The mount Seven flying site is located southeast, and as close as it can possibly be to the town of Golden, BC, Canada. The flying season starts normally in May taking off from the lower (9k) launch. In June, the upper part of the road clears of snow and permits vehicle access to the Lookout area. Later in the summer, the upper launch becomes accessible for paragliders not afraid of hiking. By November, the weather and the snowed road end the season for most. Some paraglider pilots take the time to go by snowmobile or otherwise for a bit of flying in the winter.

The landing zone, a large field in Nicholson, is usually easy to reach and land. mount 7 is a great site where the conditions are very dependant on the weather. It can be a bore when the wind is light and it's overcast or a roller-coaster when the real wind is light east and the sun cooks up violent thermals. Be aware of the weather conditions and do not exceed your and your wing limitations. However, if you persist, you will be rewarded. For example, the front of an air mass sometimes happens to spill some air ahead in the valley, thereby producing a huge lift wave traveling forward. Riding this in the middle of the valley is quite a thrill. Be careful though, these gusts fronts can be dangerous, especially if caused by storms, like we experienced in the Willi 2009 . Read some free flight stories and adventures from mount 7 or a couple of praises to know better the site.

Road access to launch areas

The road, improved in 2000, now makes the two lower takeoff areas (the lower launch and the Lookout) easily accessible by two-wheels-drive cars. The mt 7 road was rechrisened Bowle-Evans drive in Peter Bowle-Evans open page honour, in 2009. Peter* made efforts to open a road for normal vehicles. This road is quite used in good weather: free flight pilots, travelers, visitors, tourists and mountain bikers in particular. Mountain bike trails are popular although less so on mount 7 since Kicking Horse resort developped its own. Be prudent in the turns and narrowings in particular.

road photos

From Golden to BE drive, in pale green.
Turn left to takeoffs and gravel pit;
straight to Nicholson LZ.
Arrow: to takeoffs; R: rodeo ground.
BE drive street sign by the gravel pit.
BE drive to BE forestry road.
Narrow right turn at the 8 km.
Right turnoff to the 9k (lower) launch.
Turnoff to upper launch (left turn).
Top of steep road, and trail to upper launch (arrow).
Aerial view of road to LZ.


Take the main road (10th avenue) in Golden direction south. About one kilometer out of town, you should see the gravel pit on your left. Take the road off the highway on your left between the gravel pit and the small bird sanctuary called "Reflection lake" (photo). Take the left again on the gravel road that goes up around the gravel pit (photo; the rodeo grounds should be to your right) and take the right fork into the mountain (photo). Follow this meandering road. Note the numbered signs on the side of the road to mark kilometers. The Lookout is at kilometer 14. At kilometer 5, a sharp left turn. There, to the right, a trail popular with mountain bikers. Continue up the road. Soon after some S-bends, the road climbs on a narrow rock cut and you can see the valley to your left. At the top of this, the road bends right into the Kicking Horse canyon and a side road or two to pass. Keep on the main upward road. Past kilometer 8, take the right upward road at the Y and drive carefully to the narrow and blind right turn (photo). Watch for traffic. After a couple of switchbacks, you should see a downward road cutting to the right (photo) and a post, at about kilometer 9.

  • Take this road down 50 meters to go to the lower or 9k launch. Park your vehicle down there and walk the trail that is somewhat along the ridge, downward for about 40 meters to get to the actual lower launch, or 9k launch.

Do not take this road to continue upward for the other launches. Simply follow the most beaten road going up. At the high point (photo), you should see the gravel area widening to the right with another road to the left at 120°.

  • Continue straight ahead for the Lookout. The open area is the place to park the vehicles when the Lookout is crowded. Here are a four toilet outhouse to the right, a shelter and an adapted outhouse without toilet paper to the left. Continue straight up and you are at the Lookout, a BC forest service recreation site and the best takeoff area of the region for foot-launched wings. Drive back down to park your vehicle, once your equipment unloaded, in order to free some space at the Lookout.
  • To go to the paragliders' upper launch take the left 120° road instead. Have a sturdy 4WD with a good ground clearance. The road follows the spine of the mountain upward. Muddy, damaged or very steep at places. At the first steep upward Y, the left leads to a muddy flat early in the season while the right steep is more damaged. Your choice. Travel along the spine and climb right up to a peak (photo), somewhat rocky, where the road makes a small loop. (There are a couple of lower dead-ends.) Stop there, you should be able to see the upper launch, away from its right backside, and maybe also a wind-sock or a flag. The trail starts on the south side downward straight along the spine toward the upper launch, and is easily followed. The walk takes about forty minutes depending on your physical shape. It is mostly a hike, but there is a short stretch requiring a quick scramble over a rocky ledge. It takes you up to an unserviced alpine launch area.

Road to the landing zone

Leave Golden on highway #95 heading south. Drive five minutes. Take the right off the highway on Nicholson frontage road, to enter Nicholson. Take Canyon Creek road on your right, cross the rail track and the bridge. Take McBeath road on your right at the fork. The landing zone will be to your right with wind-socks. Continue and take the driveway leading to the house. Park your vehicles to the right on the new graveled parking area in the corner of the field. See aerial photo in previous section. Highway 95 and landing zone highlighted in blue, the parking area, in purple. Recent photos are shown in the Landing zone section.

Mt. Seven lower launch at 9 km or 9k launch

lower launch photos

Setting up on the lower launch.
Conrad launching.
Aerial views of the lower launch.
Arrows point to the access road and to the launch.

Altitude: 5120'ASL; 1560 m ASL. Height: 2525'; 770 m.
Coordinates NAD 83: UTM 11 U 5681202 m N; 506944 m E
Coordinates WGS84: 51.28211° N; 116.90043° W
WGS84 for SAR: 51° 16.9266' N; 116° 54.0258' W

Small launch pad on the ground with not much room to spare. Can put together four hang gliders at a time. Accommodate winds west to south or light wind (any direction) with good thermals to compensate. Difficult for paragliders because the slope is short with trees on each side. Paragliders may have to land in the previously mentioned gravel pit if they can't climb. This launch is used in the spring when the pilots can't wait for the road higher up to clear of snow. Not recommended for beginners.

Mt. Seven main launch site - the Lookout

Altitude: 6370'ASL; 1942 m ASL. Height: 3780'; 1152 m.
Coordinates NAD 83: UTM 11 U 5680474.428 m N; 507967.656 m E
Coordinates WGS84: 51.27555° N; 116.88577° W
WGS84 for SAR: 51° 16.533' N; 116° 53.1462' W

[...] The time to worry is [...] before a flight. Decide then whether or not the goal is worth the risks involved. If it is, stop worrying. To worry is to add another hazard. It retards reactions, makes one unfit. [...]
- Amelia Earhart, from Last Flight by Amelia Earhart, 1937.

views of the Lookout

Aug 1994. The main launch. Close-up.
View from the north, the east and above.
Assembling wings.
Northwest side to avoid.
Correct takeoff sequence from the ramp (LB):
  ready, good wing position, solid stance;
  good run, keep wing in line;
  airborne, retracting takeoff/landing gears.
Launching at the north ground: para para hang.
Reverse launch on the south ground.

There are three launching pads at the Lookout: the north ground (N on photo), the west ramp (R on photo) and the south ground (S on photo). Accommodates takeoffs in winds coming from north, west, and south. More precisely, from north to south-southeast. Their exact orientations are in fact respectively northwest, southwest, and southeast.
The old north ramp (X on photo) does not exist anymore.

Paragliders prefer the north ground when the wind comes from between north and southwest. They sometimes succeed in more southerly winds when the thermals have the air flow wrap around to go upward the northwest side. Must be careful though, it's a little more risky.
The slope of the north ground is rather gentle hence requiring a good run in light wind.

Hang gliders prefer the west ramp in winds west to south. Rather simple to take off. Prudence still asks to take the time to choose well the takeoff run moment. In thermal conditions, we notice sometimes sudden changes in the wind force and direction. The air may go so straight up then, that it does not circulate well on the ramp.
Avoid using the northwest side of the ramp (photo), especially in light wind. The ground is a bit close at the end. Use the north ground instead. And obviously, when the wind is too cross for the ramp, it's time to take off from the ground.

The south ground launch is a bit unnerving because it is short and some trees are left standing, right in front. The trees impair the air flow, causing some turbulence. This launch also leads to an almost vertical slope. A cliff takeoff technique may apply. Fortunately, the wind is not south too often.

Tip: Try to start your takeoff in order to benefit from a stronger and more regular wind cycle. You want as much air speed as possible, quickly, to maximize control. Remember to keep your wings level and correct any improper wing attitude during takeoff, the cause of so many crashes.
Be careful on thermal days. The wind may change direction rapidly, especially if it is affected by counter forces from thermals. The heat also reduces the lift on such days. Days like this cause most accidents on launch, even amongst experts. Maintain awareness.
In any case, watch for possible turbulence or shear in the wind shadow of trees and bushes.

Beginners will find the site very suitable for them before and after the great thermal conditions of the afternoon. Typically in the summer, thermals begin at around 2:00 pm and get strong enough after 3:00 pm. Thermals usually begin to weaken at around 6:00 pm to become easily manageable during the evening. Lift may last until sunset or later. Often, mount Seven "gives" continual lift locally while Kapristo mountain, next to the south, would sink you down.

The Lookout is a recreation site enjoyed by us and mountain bikers, hikers, motorcyclists, photographs, sightseers, and other animals. The outhouse (T on photo) is not anymore. There is a big one with four seats, at the large parking. To free some space, please unload your needed equipment at the Lookout and bring your vehicle down to the large parking.


Mount Seven upper launch site

upper launch photos

Aerial photo of the upper launch (arrow).
Trail head; trail; rocky ledge.
Animated takeoff sequence:

Altitude: 7577'ASL; 2310 m ASL. Height: 4987'; 1520 m.
Coordinates NAD 83: UTM 11 U 5678403.927 m N; 509777.847 m E
Coordinates WGS84: 51.25751° N; 116.8614° W
WGS84 for SAR: 51° 15.4146' N; 116° 51.5928' W

The wide-open launch is suited in northwest to south wind. Watch your lines on the sharp scree that covers the launch area, this is no place to cut a line. You can also launch from the saddle just behind the main launch, but be wary of rotor as you move out in front through the gap.
Note the strong thermals produced close to that launch in the cliffs below. This means that the anabatic wind picks up earlier than at the Lookout and get much stronger, fast. Consequently, when the air is sufficiently unstable in the summer, the wind becomes too strong for paragliders to take off, as early as noon to as late as 8:00 pm sometimes, while it's marvelous at the Lookout.

The landing zones

The designated landing zones, if you don't fly cross country or if you do an out-and-return, are in Nicholson. One is the large field directly north of the big Y of roads in Nicholson, west of the Columbia river (LZ/ATT on photo). The parking is on gravel at the south-west corner. Do not park on McBeath road. The second, Skyview Ranch, is the field south of McBeath road. See infos below right.


Altitude: 2590'ASL; 790 m ASL. Height: 0'; 0 m.
Coordinates NAD 83: UTM 11 U 5676926.592 m N; 505619.991 m E
Coordinates WGS84: 51.24368° N; 116.91949° W
WGS84 for SAR: 51° 14.6208' N; 116° 55.1694' W

GEAR management changed in 2018 and 2021
The Ranch

Since October 2003, the large property in Nicholson that includes the landing zone was owned by Columbia View Homes Ltd. This company was itself controlled by John McIsaac and Cathy-Anne David, whom have paragliding skills. These developers are integrating a flight park, named Muller flight park (MFP), with other adventures. The official ribbon cutting opening was 2005 July 2nd. The whole is dubbed N.E.A.R. for Nicholson eco-adventure ranch, or is it G.E.A.R. for Golden? Meh, in 2021 the property is in the hands of Cathy-Anne and has been renamed The Ranch. Visit their The Ranch website for many more details and to get a copy of their waivers.

John, Cathy-Anne and family expressed their pride in securing the landing zone for future generations, making mount 7 a tried and true destination. Since 2019, the Willi moved to the Skyview ranch. New rules apply since 2020:

  1. Must be an ACVL member and have signed the annual Ranch waivers.
  2. No alcohol, cigarette, cannabis, vaping.
  3. No more than 25 people at the landing for covid reasons. 2 m distancing. Subject to change depending on the pandemic.

Skyview ranch

Since 2019, a second official landing zone has open. This is the property of Karen and Doug Keller, long time part of the flying community both being pioneers in Canada.

They also have their own waiver to fill and print and a looser set of rules.

Skyview Ranch Rules
No permission to enter Skyview Ranch, 841 Canyon Creek Rd, Nicholson, BC will be allowed unless all of the below conditions are fulfilled and agreed to prior to the use of the property for any activities including, but not limited to the landing of hang gliders and paragliders.

  1. Sign the Waiver Before Flying. Pilots will only be allowed to enter or land at the Skyview Ranch if a signed waiver and proof of current HPAC liability insurance is received and acknowledged by the landowners, Doug and Karen.
  2. Enter at your own risk. No warranty is made or implied as to the safety of this area for aviation landing, hiking, cross country skiing or any other purpose. This is unimproved agricultural land and there are many safety hazards known and unknown including but not limited to trees and vegetation, domestic and wild animals, insects, uneven ground including animal burrows, residential buildings and fences, water wells, power lines and wind indicators. By entering this property you are accepting and assuming all risks.
  3. Cows can inadvertantly break side mirrors and such. Avoid leaving your vehicle in the property if cows are present. And the street is forbidden parking and a policeman lives nearby.
  4. Respect the Neighbors. When entering and exiting the property drive slowly over the cattle guard. Please use respect for our neighbors.
  5. Do Not Speed. Please observe and do not exceed the speed limit while on the property or within the community of Nicholson.
  6. Avoid the Residence. Respect privacy. Unless invited or in the case of an emergency, do not approach their residence.
  7. Don't Drive on the Fields. Keep vehicles on the roadway within the property or in the designated parking area at all times. Parking is permitted only along the east side (left side as you enter) of the driveway (see details in photos).
  8. No camping or overnight parking.
  9. No littering. This includes beverage containers, cigarette butts and all other trash. This land is used for grazing cattle and the any kind of trash can be hazardous. Take your trash with you or dispose of it in provided containers.
  10. No fires or open flames.
  11. Smoking only permitted in the designated smoking area. Any smoking materials must be disposed of in a fireproof container provided in the designated area.
  12. Dogs must be leashed while on the property. This is to comply with the cattle lease. Dogs can cause the cattle to be injured on the barbed wire fences. This is also a private residence and bird and wildlife area that we do not want disturbed.
  13. Commercial tandem flights are by permission only.

Things to watch for during the approach and on landing:

  • Electric cables run along the road and on the west side of the LZ to the house (GEAR).
  • Sinking air near the river. Particularly early in season, when the glacial water is flooding the marshes.
  • The trees are high and produce turbulence as far as half the field length when windy.
  • On a thermally afternoon, the wind becomes very variable in strength and direction in the LZ. Watch the wind-socks closely. Avoid a downwind landing, crosswind is better. Keep the speed up, correct rolls especially in finale.
  • Ground squirrels (scientific name Spermophilus Columbianus, english name Columbian ground squirrel is a native species, a rocky mountain variety) have reproduced a bit much and their holes may pose a risk when running. Be careful, some areas have more and bigger holes.
  • Early and late in the year, ie. from october to june, horses are grazing in the landing zone. They are kept by a small electric line placed along the edge of the nice turf. Watch for the line that is not very visible. It's okay to land inside the enclosure if you avoid the horses.

Neighbours and visitors enjoy the sight of hang gliders and paragliders landings. Have a good one but keep good humor if you miss. Moreover, they may save you in case of a crash. See advices how to land with a hang glider.

Nicholson, the Landing Zone and alternates

GEAR landing zone; from closer (blued).
Skyview Ranch in Nicholson; details.
Golden and alternate landings; from closer.
Landing in the gravel pit, easy without wind.
Owners of MFP flanked by Vincene Muller.
G.E.A.R. office. The late Peter, with Rob.
G.E.A.R. office.
MFP ample parking and grassy folding area.

At a 4:1 glide from the Lookout, the Nicholson landing zones (LZ) are easily accessible most of the time. As a rule of thumb, when you are at the height of the west butte, you should head toward Nicholson. However, flying is not always so easy. Paragliders fly much slower than hang gliders, consequently come short of the LZ most often. It happens every year. The lack of penetration in an increasing head wind is the principal reason, bad judgment comes second. However, in moderate (or stronger) south wind, paragliders simply must land elsewhere. Also, after taking off from the lower launch or when scratching low at the kilometer 5 cliffs, the landing of choice becomes the gravel pit. Hang gliders: avoid the alternates LZ unless you're in serious trouble (thunderstorm, for example). They are small; a crash would be too likely. Although, a good drag parachute could possibly help.

The Nicholson LZ are the best. Keep in mind to have enough altitude in reserve to glide to it. Otherwise, if need be, the higher you are, better is the choice of alternatives.

These alternatives are:

  • The gravel pit (G on photo)
    Coordinates NAD 83: UTM 11 U 5681753.413 m N; 503734.829 m E
    Coordinates WGS84: 51.28709° N; 116.94648° W
    WGS84 for SAR: 51° 17.2254' N; 116° 56.7888' W

    Used all the time for the aforementioned reasons or simply for convenience. Good in light or south winds. Airplane traffic will fly right above it during their landing circuit, so fly with an aircraft radio and/or make a low (relative to airplanes) approach from the mountain side. Watch also for wind shear. In stronger northerly wind, prefer the next option.
  • The CPR ditch grass strip
    Small grass strip between the CPR yard and Highway #95 (between arrows in the close-up views), on the other side of the road from the south end of Reflection lake. It has a big wind-sock on the west side and barely any obstacles to the northerly air flow. Preferred in strong winds from the north when the Nicholson LZ is too far. (Although normally, the Nicholson LZ is really easy to reach in north wind!) Watch for the lampposts and the electric wire line. Your approach must be perfect.
  • The soccer field
    On the plateau just north of the gravel pit. Grassy but many obstacles around, avoid landing in the adjacent baseball fields: full of fences. Watch for wind shears and turbulences, even when not so windy. Probably worse than the gravel pit for it.
  • The swampy area just north of the LZ (M in LZ photo)
    Can save you from damage and injuries. If you seriously doubt crossing the tree patch, land before it. The trees are high and hurt. Flooded in the spring, the swamp becomes almost dry by the end of July in the vicinity of the trees and the walk through the woods is relatively easy.

Other small places are not recommended for visitors. Do not risk your bones for a longer flight. You can always go back up for another. However, if your wing collapsed, closed, or other (rather paragliding catastrophe), nobody thoughtful will annoy you for the emergency landing you chose...


[...] From all I can gather, the general opinion is that the Wright starting rail is the best. It can be laid almost anywhere in a few minutes and occupies hardly any space in width and not much in length.
Starting on wheels, on the contrary necessitates an almost perfectly level tract of ground, and a very long one, from 500 to 1000 yards, it is variously estimated. This difficulty seems almost insurmountable in many places, where it would be quite easy to use the starting rail [...]
- Correspondent, from Wright starting rail favored in Dayton Herald, 1909 feb.

[...] The size of the field required now is approximatively fifteen times what it was in 1910. [...] The fast machines are perfectly safe when flown over specially prepared fields, but there are only a small number of such fields in the entire country. It is this uneasiness about safe landings that has spoiled flying as a sport. [...] If enough landing places were available, present types of airplanes would be practicable both for sport and for commerce. But on account of the great cost involved we can hardly hope for them in the near future. It, therefore, seems more feasible to modify the machines, so that they can be landed on almost any ordinary field that one would encounter in the course of an extended cross-country flight.
- Orville Wright, from Sporting future of the airplane - Reduced landing speeds an essential factor in U.S. Air Service magazine, Vol. I, No. 1, 1919 feb.

Golden zone

Golden MF zone: shaded circle (2010 map)

Any free flight pilot living near a big center knows how much airports and their airspaces can restrict, if not forbid, our flights. They have big buffer zones to insure the safety of the air travelling public. This is mainly due to the IFR traffic, very fast, heavy, and blind.
Local airports are the least restrictive. They require only radio contact and permission in the smallest open airspace. However, an airport implies a higher density of traffic in its vicinity. Consequently, keep your eyes and ears open in particular near the usual routes taken by the traffic.

Golden airport (CYGE) ↗

Coord. WGS84: 51.299167° N; 116.982221° O

Uncontrolled, managed by Golden. MF (mandatory frequency) 122,8 MHz in the airport traffic frequency (ATF, see CAR 602.97) zone of 5 NM (nautical miles, makes 9,3 km) radius up to 5600'ASL (1707 m above sea level). Although it is class G airspace, avoid flying close to the runway. Do not land at the airport unless you have permission and radio contact. The traffic, mainly helicopters and small planes, may exceed 30 takeoffs/landings on a good day and is fast and hard to see. Its location is indicated by "A--port" on the photo of Golden, previous section.

The surroundings are mostly class G airspace where aircrafts use the en route frequency 126,7 MHz. We use the very light aircrafts frequency 123,4 MHz. Class G airspace also means that there is no restrictions on VFR flights (us included) other than VFR (visual flight rules). Few restricted areas for blasting indicated on the aeronautical map. All details published by Transport Canada.

Invermere airport (CAA8)

Coord. WGS84: 50.521° N; 116.0056° O

Uncontrolled, managed by Babin Air. A (advisory) 123,2 MHz in the ATF zone of 5 NM (9,3 km) radius up to 5800'ASL (1770 m ASL). This airport is private; do not land there without permission nor without radio contact. Regular operations: Babin Air Ltd open page, Bighorn Helicopters, Invermere Soaring Centre open page. Traffic denser than Golden's and includes student pilots, small airplanes, sailplanes. On good days, the sailplane traffic could be organized on the very light aircraft frequency (123,4 MHz).


[...] I began to feel that my long-range flying was becoming pretty sissy. The ease and casualness were further accentuated by the marvellous help given by radio. [...]
- Amelia Earhart, from Last Flight by Amelia Earhart, 1937.

Radios are strongly recommended even if you fly only locally. The mountain is big, a crash could go unnoticed and locating a victim could take too long. See details in Emergencies. You should have the appropriate radiotelephone operator certificate (ROC), either aeronautical or radio amateur. The aeronautical ROC is the simplest and most appropriate. Contact Industry Canada open page for details.
Read the radio communications information circulars RIC-21 (aeronautical)open page or RIC-2 and RIC-3 (radio amateurs) published on their website (do a search with RIC-21 as keyword if the above link is broken). A direct link is also found in the Contacts & links table.

Aircraft radio frequencies
Very light aircrafts frequency* (includes us): 123,4 MHz
Golden airport ATF, unicom: 122,8 MHz
En route frequency: 126,7 MHz
Chatting frequency**: 122,75 MHz
Invermere airport ATF, tfc: 123,2 MHz
Distress (Mayday): 121,5 MHz
*Air-air and air-ground. For Hang gliders, paragliders, sailplanes, ultralights and balloons, in Canada.
**Air-air. 123,45 is used in the arctic. USA suggest a different one (123,025) for helicopters.

Aircraft radio frequencies
(Restricted Operator Certificate-Aeronautical (ROC-A)open page)

Aircraft radios themselves do not require a licence nor registration when operated in the context of flight or soaring, only the operator.

Sailplanes from Invermere may use the Invermere airport ATF frequency 123,2 MHz or the soaring frequency 123,4 MHz in the Invermere ATF zone and use 123,4 when flying cross country. They may switch to 122,8 MHz in the Golden ATF, near our site. Be aware, they are silent and also hunt for thermals.

Emergencies: do not switch frequency if you are already in contact with someone that can help. However, know that the universal distress frequency is the most monitored on earth. In addition of the terrestrial stations, airliners and some satellites are listening to it.

Amateur radio frequency (ROC needed)

  • Please use: 173,64 MHz - on the VHF band of mobile service. Hence not subjected to the restrictions imposed on amateur band. It is a private commercial band for tracking operations on a shared non-interference basis with Royal Canadian Golf and Ski Patrols. The HPAC obtained permission supposedly for us to use this frequency more than 20 years ago.
  • Or use: 146,46 MHz - in the amateur band. Please be aware that anyone using this frequency will need to have received their official amateur radio authorization, else use of this frequency is illegal, no matter what the use of it is for. If anyone causes interference in any way, Industry Canada will know, and will contact us.
  • Since 2005, the radio itself does not need a licence anymore.
  • Should be limited to ground-ground communications (illegal to emit in altitude). Not recommended in aircrafts communications, but is better than nothing.
FRS and GMRS Frequencies (MHz)
462,550015 - GMRS467,550GMRS**
462,56251 - FRS/GMRS467,56258 - FRS
462,575016 - GMRS467,5750GMRS**
462,58752 - FRS/GMRS467,58759 - FRS
462,600017 - GMRS467,6000GMRS**
462,61253 - FRS/GMRS467,612510 - FRS
462,625018 - GMRS467,6250GMRS**
462,63754 - FRS/GMRS467,637511 - FRS
462,650019 - GMRS467,6500GMRS**
462,66255 - FRS/GMRS467,662512 - FRS
462,675020 - GMRS467,6750GMRS**
462,68756 - FRS/GMRS467,687513 - FRS
462,700021 - GMRS467,7000GMRS**
462,71257 - FRS/GMRS467,712514 - FRS
462,725022 - GMRS467,7250GMRS**
*Example, as channel numbers may differ with models and makes.
**Reserved for possible future use as repeater input channels and are not available for simplex communications.


  • These newer families of FM frequencies were created to fullfill the great need for good handheld 2-way radios by the public. Family radio service (FRS) was created first with low ranges, by restricting power to 0,5 watts.
  • Soon after, the need for more range made governments add a more potent frequencies service called general mobile radio service (GMRS), restricted at 5 or 2 watts.
  • Note that GMRS radios can emit in FRS as well. The power is restricted on the frequencies, not the radios. GMRS frequencies will have repeater access. See table.
  • These radios are free to use and do not require any permit.
  • Make sure you're on the same frequency with a friend.


  • Mobile telephone service now covers practically all the valley and is improving.
  • There is also a wireless internet system developing in the valley.

Flying mount 7

Gibson style caricature of Katharine.

Image source

[...] we have both a strong and intoxicating impression of speed, to be absolutely master of our machine, to be able to have it follow the most capricious curves, and, moreover, we have this sensation of well being, of lightness, this magnificient view [...]
- Paul Tissandier, from Les premiers élèves de l'homme-oiseau in La vie au grand air, 1909 march 13.

[...] The first sensation on leaving the ground is that which you feel when a particularly speedy elevator starts up with you from the ground floor. But the movement is smoother; it always reminds me of a gliding dream. Then when you get higher and the ground begins to look like an inverted saucer and the folks below like flies crawling about its bottom, and when the aero begins to soar in magnificent reaches — ah! I tell you, that's great! [...]
- Katharine Wright, from Miss Wright goes flying; meets kings in The Boston American, 1909 april 12.

[...] A man's nerves must be steady to fly, and it is possible that he lost his head through some trivial incident. We warned the lieutenant [Galderara] not to venture many feet up until he was thoroughly familiar with every idiosyncrasy of his machine. [...]
- Orville Wright, from Air navigators home — Wright brothers return to teach american soldiers how to fly., in Record-Herald, 1909 may 12.

[...] I was tremendously impressed with the wonderful power of that strange invention, which seemed so flimsily flung together, and yet, under the guidance of Mr. Wilbur Wright, acted like some tamed wild thing, answering to his touch and sensible to his control. [...]
- Mrs Belleville, from Impressions gained in aeroplane flight — What one woman experienced in a voyage with Wilbur Wright, in Toledo Blade, 1909 june 28.

[...] Those that have once tasted this kind of fare will not forget it ever. Not so, my friends? It is not a question of living dangerously. That formula is too arrogant, too presumptuous. I don't care much for bull-fighters. It's not the danger I love. I know what I love. It is life itself. [...]
- Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, in Wind, Sand, and Stars, 1939. (Translation by Lewis Galantière, of Terre des hommes, 1938.).

[...] I think it is a pity to lose the romantic side of flying and simply to accept it as a common means of transport, although that end is what we have all ostensibly been striving to attain. [...]
- Amy Johnson, in Sky Roads of the World, 1939.

finally, a break in the clouds

Flying in the Rockies is not flying in the plains. It can be easier and more challenging at the same time. The wind may stir the air in altitude, or cause a venturi in the valleys. Local effects of many kinds may please or scare.

In high mountains like the Rockies, the meteo wind has a tendancy to circulate above the highest peaks. Mountains are obstacles. In summer, when the sun shine, mountains slopes warm and constantly produce thermals. Mountains will hence create an ascending wind continuously with air coming from the valleys. This air circulation up is called anabatic. According to the well known saying of Lavoisier, nothing is lost, nothing is created, all is transformed. The valleys bottoms must fill with air and there is no other place than up to take it, elsewhere. The valleys center, shaded slopes and mountains lee-sides allow this descending circulation. This is called a catabatic wind. Moreover, after sunset, the air circulation reverses, often in less than 15 minutes. Hence, generally, the valley wind will be different from the takeoff wind and the wind in flight. Obviously there is a correlation between meteo wind and local winds but it is not direct. We can imagine how the air will circulate according to conditions and locations but it is not always easy nor obvious. These are the main differences between flying in the mountains compared to flying in the plains.

[...] It only takes five years to go from rumor to standard operating procedure. [...]
- Dick Markgraf, in source not found yet.

In addition to the tips and warnings in previous sections, here are, in this section and the next, reminders of some specificities of flying mount Seven, in the Rockies.

  • On most days, the area of the antenna (under the A of the photo of Golden), just northwest of the lookout, generates strong and regular thermals. Less true in south winds.
  • Be extra careful on windy days (15 km/h or less does not count as windy!). Winds aloft and in the valley may be higher and of different directions. Consider postponing or cancelling your flight. Observe the weather conditions. Evaluate the performances of your glider, your experience, your skills and the risks you are willing to assume.
  • On certain very good days, thermals can hit brutally and flip you like a pancake. Keep the speed up and accelerate further when entering the thermals. This should prevent stalling and help maintain control. Paragliders: follow the recommendations of the manufacturer or the advance manoeuvres instructor regarding your wing.
  • Always fly high and far enough above ground to clear it in case of stall, sinking air or nudging by thermals or turbulence. This is very true above rocky terrain and on the lee side of mountains. Paragliders: "Scratch" the mountains at an altitude sufficient to recover from a full collapse and more! A few tree themselves every year. Try to avoid being one of these. Here, in the (relatively) high mountains, thermals do not lick the ground much but the sinks do! And please, fly with a radio if you cherish your life! See next two recommendations.
  • Trees are tall in the west! Think ahead and carry a rope long enough - at least 30 m (100') - to come down a tree yourself. A rescue crew may take a while to arrive even if they are alerted. More about this topic in the Emergencies section.
  • Flying with a radio is advised for many reasons including safety. Please limit your transmissions to useful statements. We recommend the aircraft band radios which have proven reliable over very long distances, let you talk to other aircraft, have emergency frequency, etc.

Please read the pilot's etiquette section.



shirt mt7 02, back. $30.
shirt girly sizes. Also in red, army, blue. $15.
shirt natural, ash, also steel. $15.
long sleeves steel, sand. $20.
Limited quantities. Sizes adults except girly. Child sizes possible. Simple black design can be added to your own shirt for $5.

A third party liability Insurance is suggested but not mandatory and more so since the HPAC do not respect basic corporation and life rules. .

Maintenance fund

Profits from sale of shirts go to the site fund. I am particularly thinking about improvements of the north ground. I have a couple of designed shirts for sale. Contact me (Serge) at to order or buy in person. These items could also possibly be found at the landing zone's office/store. Plain donations are also gratefully accepted, of course. You can donate right now, online, with Paypal:

Cross country flights

1912. Aerial photograph of the countryside near Huffman Prairie taken from the seat of a Wright Model B Flyer in flight.

Photo source

[...] men have never ceased to envy the birds and long for the day when they too might rise above the dust or mud of the highways and fly through the clean air of the heavens. Once above the treetops, the narrow roads no longer arbitrarily fix the course. The earth is spread out before the eye with a richness of color and beauty of pattern never imagined by those who have gazed at the landscape edgewise only. The view of the ordinary traveler is as inadequate as that of an ant crawling over a magnificent rug. The rich brown of freshly-turned earth, the lighter shades of dry ground, the still lighter browns and yellows of ripening crops, the almost innumerable shades of green produced by grasses and forests, together present a sight whose beauty [...]
- Wilbur Wright, from a short article in Scientific American, 1908 February 29.

[...] I was so struck by the beauty of the scenery that I experienced a yearning to strike right out towards the lofty Pyrénées and fly right over them. [...]
- Wilbur Wright, from Mr. Wright's aerodrome - Flights on the new ground at Pau in Dayton Herald, 1909 February 3.

[...] It is, of course, a hot country, with broad stretches of arid desert land, hemmed by regions rough and mountainous. And all beautiful. For from the air, the broad views, of whatever country, ever changing, ever shifting in coloring, light and shadow hold beauty which only the willfully blind could ignore. [...]
- Amelia Earhart, from Last Flight by Amelia Earhart, 1937.

Cross country photos

Satellite view (Photos source: Canada).
Aeronautical map from Golden to Canal Flats .
Cliffs near Pagliaro rd (arrow).
At Tower peak, near Parson.
Approaching Harrogate.
Mountain range split at Spillimacheen.
Above the front range near Brisco.
Edgewater and the problematic fields, in red.
Southeasterly view of the two fields south of Edgewater.
Radium, Invermere, Windermere lake.
Windermere lake and Canal Flats past next lake.

Be nice to yourself and pass the test HAGAR from Transport Canada open page. Some instructors offer courses to prepare and three study guides are available to help you: one by Transport Canada and two by fellows free flight pilots. See the HAGAR page of the HPAC open page. It can only help you understand the aerial traffic and our place in it. The HAGAR annotation is required to fly in airspaces of classes B, C, D and E. The classes B, C et D airspaces require in addition usage of an aircraft radio; B, C require authorization from the control tower, hence rarely flown in free flight. These restricted airspaces are found especially near the international airport of Cranbrook (CYXC) open page, far enough from the mountains. Several class E airspaces are found along our route in distances. The V304 and V317 airways cross our path around Spillimacheen and Radium creating wide class E areas with floor at 2200 ft AGL and of class B above 12 500 ft ASL or above the MEA (minimum enroute altitude), if higher. More to the south, Cranbrook airport and several airways affect the airspace from Fairmont and even more near Canal Flats until Jaffray. It's then class G until Whitefish, in the United States, but there we are far enough to claim the record of the site! Peter Spear superposed all the canadian airspaces on Google map open page, it is worth a look.

Also, once again, fly with a radio, preferably in the aircraft band. Provide help to others. Ask for help if needed, do not let a bad situation deteriorate.

After a cross country flight, register your flight in the BC cross country league. Since 2004, cross country flights done in British Columbia are eligible for money prizes thanks to private donations from pilots managed by the provincial association. It's a good way to encourage cross country flights and see their evolution. Enter and details on this page hosted by the WCSC. open page

Will Gadd wrote a three part série of popular blogs on thermal flights. Here are the links to them
Thermals: Collectors, Wicks and Triggers open page
Clouds: Part Two of the Thermal Serie open page
Thermalling: Part Three of the thermal series. open page

Here are more recommendations:

  • For a good start, try to get high above the mount Seven peak to cross the gap to the next mountain, mount Kapristo. This way you will fly above the venturi in the Horse creek gap and the probable sink around mount Kapristo's west cliffs (near Pagliaro rd).
  • Do not allow yourself to drift behind any peak in a thermal unless you are at safe height, say 500' (150 m) or more above it, and the angle (say 45°) will let you glide out easily to the valley. The venturi of the peaks and the sinks of the lee sides are to be avoided. A crash or just a forced landing over there could become a catastrophe for the pilot. Walking out could take more than a day.
  • In general, if you are getting lower than the peaks, think about heading to the valley. Keep an eye to at least one suitable landing area you can be sure to glide to. It is always preferable to land near the highway. Otherwise, you may have to walk for hours.
  • The valley bottom climbs slowly (70 m) from 2590'ASL (790 m ASL) at the Nicholson LZ to 2820'ASL (860 m ASL) at the Invermere airport, 100 km away. The elevation difference of the river is only 50' (15 m) for the same distance.
  • Continually monitor the wind directions as indicated by water areas on the ground, and clouds and thermal drifts in altitude. Usually, the winds switch from west to south down the range near Harrogate. Sudden changes in force and direction are common when fronts are closing in or thunderstorms are present. Check with the cloud type. Some huge thunderstorms located east of Field have sucked the air so strongly in the valley that they turned a north wind into a strong south wind in Nicholson. Also, air masses may spill ahead of the fronts inside the valleys. The spill thereby creates a wave travelling along the valley, sometimes accompanied by gusts of excessive strength. An advice that seems to work if you get caught flying in this, is to head downwind in the hope to land ahead of the "gust front" and have time to secure yourself and fold your wing.
  • Maybe more than the wind direction, verify the slope of the chosen field to land. Landing up slope is recommended in the large majority of the cases. If the wind contradict the slope direction, it could be wise to land with a cross-wind component and up slope.
  • Avoid landings on peak tops unless it's a case of emergency or you are well prepared for the adventure (camping gear, repair kit, etc.) and have radio contact with someone you trust. If you are unable to relaunch, walking down could take the night and the helicopter retrieval would cost you.
  • There are plenty of fields on the way to Windermere except between Brisco and Edgewater. This stretch is also more difficult to pass because the mountain range split at Spillimacheen (see photo) into smaller ones, valley side.
  • Be aware that wires cross some fields. Watch for poles on each side. Some may be hidden in the trees. Paragliders may prefer to land on road edges instead of crop fields. Make an approach that leaves options, an alternate field for example...
    Talking electric lines, a field not much used because small for starter now has two electric fences running through. It's the field at Horse Creek. Photo in the May 2007 news. To avoid, Naturally. Horse creek flows between mount 7 and Kapristo into the Columbia river.
  • The owners in general and at Brisco particularly do not like to see us land in grown fields. Try to choose your landing accordingly. For example, if possible, land and fold your wing in fields or spots that are not maintained or grow poorly for some reason. Sometimes, the owner may appreciate you offer to pay for damages, if any ($5-$10). Please do so only if the owner comes to you and there is actual damage (very rare). This is more of a problem in June, before the first harvests. Note: some fields are rented.
    Regarding this, one owner came talk to me about a few pilots, paragliders and hang gliders, that landed in a field of his while grown, in the middle of it or even in the corn patch. His field has a large watering pipe and is located about 24 km from takeoff. He's okay with landing after the harvests (two per year), in the bad corners, or on his other field, a narrow one by the river.
    Coord. WGS84: 51.09075° N; 116.68000° W
    WGS84 for SAR: 51° 05.445' N; 116° 40.800' W
  • Between Spillimacheen and Radium, fly the back range only if you are sure you can glide to the front range in case of headwind and sink. That is something like a 1:1 glide. Once again you are the best judge of the situation. You should know your wing and yourself more than anybody else. Sink of over 5 m/s (1000 ft/min.) is common along the ridge, and landings are practically non-existent between these ridges and rare in the valley in this area. Always keep a safety margin.
  • Take note: the two large fields not far south of Edgewater are restricted areas: about 86 km from takeoff, both sides of the highway. There is a bizarre problem with these owners. Don't land there (see photo). They span about 0,6 km2 and are approximately located at:
    Coord. NAD 83: UTM 11 U 5613875 m N; 563125 m E
    Coord. WGS84: 50.67607° N; 116.10351° W
    WGS84 for SAR: 50° 40.5642' N; 116° 06.2106' W
  • Landing in the first long field on the west side of the highway immediately north of Edgewater is fine (see photo, marked in blue). The new owner is quite friendly. The field is now equiped with an artificial pond. Always stay nice with people where you land. However, a couple of places are not recommended in Edgewater as they are unfriendly. But they're unlikely to be used because of their location or their bad quality. One is the golf course. The other is just north of the mill on the east side and of angled and rolling terrain.
  • If you do not have a retrieval team, take note: after sunset the traffic on highways 95 and 93 becomes very sparse, especially on weekdays. Hitchhiking may get so bad you would have to spend the night there. There is a regular bus doing a late route from Cranbrook to Golden. It stops in Radium. The driver may stop for you if you clearly show your intention to be a paying client and there is space to pull the bus on the side of the road without blocking the traffic. The price is around $20 from Radium. Inquire to the bus company for the schedule and the price. It usually passes before sunset in July.
    Week days, a community bus service serves the valley and Golden. Two routes come back through Parson at around 18:00 (6 pm). A bit early for good flights, but useful nonetheless. Cost is $2,50 and have the correct change with you.
  • Repeat: Flying with a radio is advised for many reasons including safety. Please limit your transmissions to useful statements. We recommend the aircraft band radios which have proven reliable over very long distances, let you talk to other aircrafts, have emergency frequency, etc. Radios on the GMRS frequencies are also recommended for their ease, reliability, range, free usage and low cost.

Please read the pilot's etiquette section.


First fatal plane accident, sept 1908. Orville Wright recovers, not the passenger.

Source photo

[...] The man who wishes to keep at the problem long enough to really learn anything, positively must not take dangerous risks. Carelessness and overconfidence are usually more dangerous than deliberately accepted risks. I am constructing my machine to sustain about five times my weight and am testing every piece. I think there is no possible chance of its breaking while in the air. If it is broken it will be by awkward landing. [...]
- Wilbur Wright, from a letter to his father, from kitty Hawks, 1900 September 23.

[...] The sport will not be without some element of danger, but with a good machine this danger need not be excessive [...]
- Wilbur Wright, 1908.

[...] "It is superhuman how you can remain on the machine for over two hours. I was only up for four minutes and already I am almost frozen. And what a sense of security there is; absolute security." [said Barthou, French minister of Public Works, after the flight.]
"Yes," replied Wilbur Wright. "You are safer on my aeroplane than on your railroads."* [...]
- Reporter, from How Wilbur Wright won the Michelin prize in The Automobile, 1909 jan 14.

[...] Among the regular visitors to the aerodrome is a Russian who is engaged in what he calls a calculation of probabilities. He is convinced that in a given number of ascents, fatal or serious accident must occur, and never misses Mr. Wright's ascents, which he appears to have followed likewise at Auvours for several weeks.
One Frenchman, who is under the impression that he will succeed in getting Mr. Wright to take him up in his aeroplane for payment, has had a special leather rubber-lined air-tight suit made, which on being inflated by a bicycle pump, gives the wearer the appearance of an animated balloon. The would-be passenger's idea is that, if he should meet with an accident and fall out of the aeroplane, his novel suit would deaden the shock of the fall and save his limbs. [...]
- Special correspondent, from Mr. Wright's admirers. — Amateur's "pneumatic suit" for aeroplanists. in Daily Mail, 1909 feb 12.

[...] We have reached the conclusion, that one of the wires supporting the rudder broke loose and became entangled in the propeller. I don't see that anything else could have happened. [...]
- Katharine Wright, from The American Girl Whom All Europe Is Watching in The World Magazine, 1909 April 11.

[...] There is very little danger for any cool-headed man who has mastered the management of the machine. My accident was an extraordinary one, which could never happen again. Even as it was, if we had had another thirty or forty feet we should have come down all right. [...]
- Orville Wright, from Brothers Wright in London in Standard, 1909 May 3.

[...] A strong wind was blowing. Calderara made the flight only because three of his uncles came from Verona purposely to see him fly. He had promised to take up a companion, but on reaching the field he found the wind so strong he decided he would ascend alone.
He got away well. The aeroplane rose ninety feet and seemed to be under perfect control while it made two circuits of the field, the machine seemed to halt a moment, then it lunged forward and downward, and descending in a great curve, struck. [...]
The wreck of the aeroplane reminded one of a huge wounded bird; the motor was still going and its throbbings seemed like the last gasps of a dying creature. [...]
"I do not think I am very badly injured, and I hope for the day when I can make another flight."** [...]
- Reporter, from Wright's pupil and aeroplane fall — Lieut. Calderara, of Italian army, and flying machine drop 45 feet near Rome. in New York World, 1909 May 7.

[...] Instead of leaving the fair passenger the perfect freedom of movement she desired, he very carefully strapped her to the machine so that she became as powerless as a trussed bird. She not only could not fall out, but it was impossible for her to upset the equilibrium of the machine by any sudden movement. [...]
- Reporter, from Wilbur Wright and the Ladies in Toronto Light, 1909 may 15.

[...] At this time it would be almost impossible for them to become insured at a reasonable rate, as an aviator would be classed as one of the most hazardous of risks by any insurance company. [...]
- Reporter, from Secret societies shunned by boys; Father is hostile. in Dayton Herald, 1909 june 16.

[...] The danger from “ stalling ” comes in the operator attempting to check the machine's downward plunge by turning the main bearing surfaces to still larger angles of incidence, instead of pointing the machine downward, at a smaller angle of incidence, so that the speed can be recovered more quickly. [...]
- Orville Wright, from Stability of Aëroplanes, a lecture to a meeting of The Franklin Institute, 1914 May 20.

[...] Trouble in the air is very rare, it's hitting the ground that causes it. [...]
- Amelia Earhart, from 20 Hrs 40 Mins: Our flight in the friendship, 1928.

* Orville, Katharine and Wilbur were caught in two separate derailments/collisions causing dozens of death that year.
** Calderara sustained internal injuries, the right side of his face was severly cut and bruised and his right shoulder was dislocated.

Phone 911 and ask for the Golden RCMP (also at 250-344-2221) - it is manned 24 hours a day - they will coordinate all search & rescue (SAR) operations.

Ambulance service: 250-344-6226 but phone 911 in case of emergency.
Helicopter rescues are operated by Alpine Helicopters. By phone: 250-344-7444. On aircraft frequency: 122,8 MHz.


  • You'd think SAR could easily handle coordinates of every formats. Well, apparently not. SAR services and Alpine helicopters use GPS coordinates of the format degrees minutes.decimal minutes such as 50 54.520 being 50° 54.520 minutes. Please set your GPS to this format for rescues, to avoid misunderstandings and save time.
  • To simplify further a rescue, it is good to have your GPS mesure the distance to a precise point, during the flight. Hence, you can say: "I am at 40 km from takeoff", for example.
  • The aircraft radios emergency frequency connects with SAR services
  • The new digital radiobeacons for public usage are practical and affordable. They have useful functions even without emergency, such as automatically displaying its GPS position online. See Spot open page for example.
  • CB radio emergency channel 9 (is there someone still using CB?)
  • An EVAC box is located at the Lookout and another one is at the upper launch. Buy a key for $25. All regulars should have one. They contain ropes, bandages, stretcher, spine board... and a mobile phone.
Emergencies photos

Small helicopter at the lookout (PBE).
A rescue crew with rescued HG pilot (KK/RD).
Hospital position in Golden.

  • Golden hospital: 250-344-5271, 835 9th avenue South (photo).
    Directions: take 9th street south westward at the crossing with 10th avenue south (the main road) at the light. Then, take the right at the next street (9th avenue south, notice the police station to your left), the hospital will be to your left.

If necessary, a helicopter can land at the Lookout and at the upper launch. If this happens, remember to shelter the wings, attach them to trees or take off.

Again, seriously consider flying with a radio. Also, nothing can help locate a downed pilot better than a GPS receiver. And carrying a long rope to climb down a tree is also a good idea. Some do fly with a complete rescue kit.
If a pilot is still stuck in a tree and needs outside help, some individuals can make tree rescues .

Our contingency fund

Since the RCMP was sued for a story of ignored SOS in the snow that resulted in one death, they are now very enclined to trigger heli-rescues. The contingency fund is not really useful any more. Her anyway how it worked: In case of a rescue where the costs (or some costs) are not covered neither by the government, health insurance, travel insurance, nor by any other way (very rare), we have a contingency fund. This fund insures the subscribers that a retrieval by any mean (including helicopter) will be available for them and that they will not go broke because of it. Perhaps most importantly, it means that a helicopter can proceed without any of the delays than can ensue from having to first acquire hard payment before taking off. When possible, a pilot requiring the fund should subsequently replenish it.
All, subscribers included, must contact the RCMP first if they sustain or suspect bodily injury after a crash.
The cost of the subscription is $25. Persons that paid once already are considered covered. List of subscribers open page.

Events calendar

Amelia Earhart in 1928 (about 31 years old).

[...] But some of the performances of the big buzzards on the hills about camp have been really instructive as well as interesting. They have shown us that the secret of soaring lies in getting higher in the air, where the winds must have much more rise, for we find they are not able to glide or soar on some of the slopes over which we can glide with the greatest ease. [...]
- Orville Wright, from Kitty Hawk in a letter to his sister Katharine, 1902 sept 29.

[...] After a quarter of an hour it became monotonous, for these triangles in the air were performed with so much regularity that one ceased to wonder, and it needed an effort to recall that this man was doing with the utmost naturalness what centuries had dreamed of but never dared to hope for. [...]
- Reporter, from How Wilbur Wright won the Michelin prize in The Automobile, 1909 jan 14.

[...] It seems that Tissandier won every event but one at Vichy, and in that case he lost simply by overconfidence in the other fellows not being able to do anything at all. [...]
- Orville Wright, from Hotel Esplanade, Berlin, in a letter to his brother Wilbur, 1909 aug 19.

[...] All the Wright family seemed out for fun, and each member worked hard to get it. Even Bishop Wright at the age of 82 wants his share, and when Orville took his venerable father for a ride aloft, he had to mount to many hundreds of feet in compliance with his passenger's requests to go up higher. This enthusiasm also struck others, for the lighthouse keeper at Kitty Hawk said he had never seen men work so hard for fun before. [...]
- Griffith Brewer (Royal Aero Club), from his article in Flight titled With the Wrights in America, 1910 sept 3.

[...] Hooray for the last adventure! I wish I had won, but it was worthwhile anyway, you know that. [...]
- Amelia Earhart, in a letter to her dad, 1928 may 20. — Photo source

Undetermined date → Muller Windsports cross-country clinic
Instructors are teaching thermalling up to competition strategy.
July 24 to Aug 1 → 25th Willi cross country challenge - improbable
At Karen and Doug Keller field.
Must use a SPOT with live tracking or the equivalent.
Registration and info
Past results
August 7 → 45th Lakeside event
Actually not in Golden but in Invermere. An annual target landing competition in water.
Organized by Max Fanderl.
Lakeside web page
Lakeside facebook page

Contacts and useful links

Golden flying site (mt 7)
Nicholson landing zone #1 The Ranch (GEAR previously).
Their waivers are posted online
Golden Eco-Adventure Ranch, 872 Mcbeath Rd, Golden, BC, V0A 1H2
Tel: 250-344-6825, 1-866-645-0469
The Ranch website
Mt 7 website (this), maintenance, mt7 funds, info Serge Lamarche, advanced hang glider, paraglider, webmaster
Business website
Personal website
Fly Golden website Garth Henderson, paraglider and webmaster
There was a young fellow named Wright — Who studied the birds in their flight. — “If these sparrows can fly, — Why in thunder can’t I?” — Quoth he, and he proved he was right.

[...] In addition to the work with the machine we also made many observations on the flight of soaring birds, which were very abundant in the vicinity of our camp. Bald eagles, ospreys, hawks and buzzards gave us daily exhibitions of their powers. The buzzards were the most numerous and were the most persistent soarers. They apparently never flapped except when it was absolutely necessary, while the eagles and hawks usually soared only when they were at leisure. Two methods of soaring were employed. When the weather was cold and damp and the wind strong, the buzzards would be soaring back and forth along the hills or at the edge of a clump of trees. They were evidently taking advantage of the current of air flowing upward over these obstructions. On such days they were often utterly unable to soar except in these special places. But on warm clear days when the wind was light they would be seen high in the air soaring in great circles. Usually however it seemed to be necessary to reach a height of several hundred feet by flapping before this style of soaring became possible. Frequently a great number of them would begin circling in one spot, rising together higher and higher till finally they would disperse, each gliding off in whatever direction it wished to go. At such times other buzzards only a short distance away found it necessary to flap fequently in order to maintain themselves. But when they reached a point beneath the circling flock they too began to rise on motionless wings. This seemed to indicate that rising columns of air do not exist everywhere, but that the birds must find them. They evidently watch each other and when one finds a rising current the others quickly make their way to it. One day when scarce a breath of wind was stirring on the ground, we noticed two bald eagles sailing in circling sweeps at a height of probably 500 feet [150 m]. After a time our attention was attracted to the flashing of some object considerably lower down. Examination with a field glass proved it to be a feather which one of the birds had evidently cast. As it seemed apparent that it would come to earth only a short distance away some of our party started to get it. But in a little while it was noticed that the feather was no longer falling but on the contrary was rising rapidly. It finally went out of sight upward. It apparently was drawn into the same rising current in which the eagles were soaring, and was carried up like the birds. [...]
- Wilbur Wright, from Experiments and Observations in Soaring Flight, in Journal of the Western Society of Engineers, Vol III, No. 4, 1903 august.

Flying Blogs
Current: Nicole - Years ago: Jason Rob

[...] Though the physical exertion required was small, my arms ached. It is evident I shall require many lessons before I can even learn to keep an aeroplane straight, much less turn or manœuvre. [...]
- Paul Tissandier, from Learning to fly. — How Mr. Wilbur Wright teaches a novice., in Daily Mail, 1909 feb 7.

[...] When I came to France, I had not had more than four hours' experience in handling an aeroplane, and neither of my pupils, Compte de Lambert and M. Tissandier, had more than six lessons of about twenty minutes each when they were able to fly alone. [...]
- Wilbur Wright, from Aviator in two hours. — Mr. Wright on management of aeroplanes., in New York Herald, 1909 mar 24.

[...] the absence of dust and police traps must popularise flying as a form of locomotion. (Laughter.) [...]
- Hon. C. S. Rolls, from The attainment of flight., in London Daily Graphic, 1909 may 5.

[...] Women will make as successful flyers as men. Six women have been taken up in our machines, beside our sister. [...] Women are not so nervous as men. It may be that they do not recognize the danger in the air. [...] When Miss Wright was asked regarding her sensations while riding through space at thirty miles or more an hour [50 km/h] she laughed: It was fun. I had confidence in my brother, and was not afraid. I knew he would not have taken me up if there was any great peril. [...]
- Orville and Katharine Wright, from Air navigators home — Wright brothers return to teach american soldiers how to fly., in Record-Herald, 1909 may 12.

[...] I believe that at Pau it will not take me very many days to know the machine thoroughly. There will be a chance of remaining in the air for a long time together, and this is what is really wanted in order to get a good knowledge of the steering and control.
At Le Mans we never got more than a few minutes at a time, and sometimes there were long intervals between the flights. In any case I have had enough experience of the machine to convince me that it is not difficult to learn, and that practice is alone required. Mr. Wright provides a machine capable of being learned, and that is the principal thing.
- Comte de Lambert (first pupil), from Mr. W. Wilbur's Pupil Goes to Pau., in New York Herald, 1909 june 12.

[...] They were very studious boys, as their examination papers always showed. No matter when a test was held, their papers invariably received an almost perfect mark. [...]
- Esther Widner (principal of the Seventh District school), from Teacher tells of "boys;" they caused no trouble., in Dayton Herald, 1909 june 16.

[...] One of the first things to learn, of course, is that the air isn't the simple homogeneous medium it seems to be. It boils and shifts and swirls as current fights tide, and the aeroplane is sailing, not across the stream, but through it. [...]
- Arthur Ruhl, from Up in the Air with Orville — A Flight in a Wright Machine and a description of its Workings, in Collier's, 1910 july 02.

[...] I dare say the day will come when many women will own and run their own aeroplanes, agreed Mr. Wright. [...]
But is an aeroplane difficult for a woman to operate?, I questioned.
Not at all, denied Mr. Wright. There is nothing heavy to handle. It is not as hard to learn to run an aeroplane as it is to learn to ride a bicycle. As far as the danger goes, there is less danger in flying even now than there is in motoring in the way the average chauffeur runs his car.
And you are going to remain wedded to your art? I asked, reverting to my first question.
It is just as easy not to get married as it is to run an aeroplane, replied Mr. Wilbur Wright* [...].
- Wilbur Wright by Ethel Lloyd Patterson, from Woman's too much like Airship — So Wilbur Wright remains single, in The Evening World, 1911 friday may 13.

[...] There's no such thing as a natural-born pilot. Whatever my aptitudes or talents, becoming a proficient pilot was hard work, really a lifetime's learning experience. For the best pilots, flying is an obsession, the one thing in life they must do continually. The best pilots fly more than the others; that's why they're the best. Experience is everything. [...]
- Chuck Yeager, in source not yet found, 19--.

* More tongue in cheek responses in the original article. Note that women were flying since 1908.

Learn free flight
A flight school is near Calgary, Muller Windsports. Course overseen by the university of Calgary. Online registration is possible. It is an introductory course.
To fly without an instructor's supervision, you have to obtain the Novice rating from the HPAC, which means you have to also take the intermediate course (looks like a misnomer). In addition, they provide a mountain flight course in Golden to address mountain air difficulties and finalize the Novice rating for some.

Introductory free flight courses at the U of C

Muller Windsports

Flight school not too far in the Okanagan (Lumby)
Hang gliding lessons farther in Alberta (Red Deer), based on aerotowing. Infinity Hang Gliding School & Flight Park
If you live in another area, refer to the HPAC list of instructors in Canada (link below).
HPAC / ACVL (canadian association, more or less bilingual)
Currently under mob rules. Misinformation, lies, abuses under a regulation facade.
BCHPA (British Columbian association)
MHGA (Manitoban & Nunavut association)
SOGA (southwestern Ontario association, aerotowing)
AQVL (Québécoise association, french)
HPAAC (Atlantic Canada association)
US Hawks (hang gliding USA association)
This association was born from problems with USHPA. US Hawks wants to be more open and transparent. Free membership. They solve the insurance strangulation with « Recreational Use Statutes » that are spreading in the USA. (note: in Canada, the liability insurance is not required in free flight. The only requirement is to pass the HAGAR exam, or the equivalent, to be authorised to fly distance. It is an exam on canadian aeronautical laws.)
Numerous flying groups can be found on FB: HPAC, Saskatchewan, etc.
Cross-country flights
Flights and tracklogs registered at the international XContest
Also now, canadians can participate to the canadian contest: XCanada
hang-gliding, current paragliding, current
hang-gliding 2020 paragliding 2020
hang-gliding 2019 paragliding 2019
hang-gliding 2018 paragliding 2018
hang-gliding 2017 paragliding 2017
hang-gliding 2016 paragliding 2016
hang-gliding 2015 paragliding 2015
hang-gliding 2014 paragliding 2014
hang-gliding 2013 paragliding 2013
hang-gliding 2012 paragliding 2012
hang-gliding 2011 paragliding 2011
Flights and tracklogs registered on Leonardo Flights from mount 7 plus
British Columbia cross country league page
hosted on the WCSC website
Rules and infos
Current standings
Automatic superposition of the canadian airspaces on Google map (by Peter Spear). Useful to verify if your flight went in class E or B airspaces in particular (airways). Canadian airspaces
Orville Wright and Amelia Earhart standing.

Photo source

[...] The common impression is that the atmosphere runs in comparatively regular currents which we call winds. No one who has not been thrown about on a gliding aeroplane—rising or falling ten, twenty, or even thirty feet in a few seconds—can understand how utterly wrong this idea is. The air along the surface of the earth, as a matter of fact, is continually churning. It is thrown upward from every irregularity, like sea breakers on a coast line; every hill and tree and building sends up a wave or slanting current. And it moves not directly back and forth upon its coast line, like the sea, but in whirling rotary masses. Some of these rise up hundreds of yards. In a fairly strong wind the air near the earth is more disturbed than the whirlpools of Niagara. [...]
- Wilbur and Orville Wright, from Two brothers' efforts to master the air in The New York Times, 1908 sunday may 17.

[...] No bird can soar on a level breeze. When we see them soaring, drifting in circles, they're supported by a rising helix or corkscrew of air, gradually falling through it, but rising with respect to the ground. [...]
- Wilbur Wright, from Air flights as safe as autos in Dayton Journal, 1909 feb 16.

[...] I have found the weather very bad since the first of the month. The wind, excepting last evening, has been usually above 15 miles an hour [24 km/h]. The first flight was made in a wind of 18 miles [29 km/h]; But it is the gustiness [sic] of the wind that is the most troublesome. [...]
- Orville Wright, from Hotel Esplanade, Berlin, in a letter to his brother Lorin, 1909 sept 9.

[...] I have never passed through so many and such severe whirl winds as in the flights here. But they were usually in certain parts of the field and I could keep out of the worst of them if I chose. [...]
- Orville Wright, from Hotel Esplanade, Berlin, in a letter to his brother Wilbur, 1909 sept 23.

[...] Mabel was left to quaff the Champagne by herself. "Sometimes," Mabel later confided [...] , "I suspect that Calbraith thinks showing affection to a woman would be unfaithful to his machine." The aviator was, in this instance, out of sorts for displays of affection — either to his wife or his colleagues. He complained of bad weather ("You'd think that rain wouldn't be allowed during a cross-country air race") and bad luck and reproached train officials for their inability to maintain a proper pace. Engineer McAllister, a veteran who had been "pulling the plug" for twenty-five years, accepted the criticism as a personal challenge and vowed to work on his locomotive all night long if necessary. "When I hit the track tomorrow," he told reporters, "I'll do a little flying myself." It rained heavily through the night. Rain also prevented another start [...]
- Mabel (wife), Calbraith (aviator), McAllister (engineer), on the way to the first transcontinental flight, 1911. In Flight of the Vin Fiz, E. P. Stein - 1985.

[...] In fact, I was so astonished that I did not think at the time of any reason for the phenomenon. But it is evident the machine was in a whirlwind of usual diameter, in which the air was rising as fast as the machine could descend. [...]
- Orville Wright, from Possibilities of Soaring Flight in U.S. Air Service magazine, 1922 dec.

[...] The French have two ships stationed in the south Atlantic, which give weather conditions, and their information they shared with me. Incidentally, I believe that a similar arrangement will be - at least should be - worked out in connection with the north Atlantic flying services. In due time we may well see a couple of vessels anchored at appropriate positions to serve as gatherers of weather data, as radio guideposts and emergency aids. [...] The weather was exactly as predicted by the efficient Air France meteorologist. Nearly all the way head winds prevailed. [...]
- Amelia Earhart, from Last Flight by Amelia Earhart, 1937.

Environment Canada
and direct link to the forecast for Golden
Aeronautical Nav Canada online weather information
NOAA weather satellite view (USA) GOES-west
Weather codes in use by Nav Canada Simple list and Study guide
Official list of canadian aeronautical abbreviations MANAB MANAIR
Nav Canada Weather Manuals regarding British Columbia destined to pilots. Complete document and each chapter available separately in pdf format. There are documents for every region. The Weather of British Columbia (pdf)
Chapter 1 - Basics of Meteorology (pdf)
Chapter 2 - Aviation Weather Hazards (pdf)
Chapter 3 - Weather Patterns of British Columbia (pdf)
Chapter 4 - Seasonal Weather and Local Effects (pdf)
Chapter 5 - Airport Climatology (pdf)
Canada-wide english FIC* number 866-wxBrief
Kamloops FIC 866-541-4101

[...] There is still another aspect of long-distance flight that should be given immediate attention—its dependence upon the adaptation of terrestrial cartography to its needs. The mariner has his charts, the motorist his road-maps, while the airman—well, he must travel “by guess and by God,” and rely on his homing-instinct to get him back again. [...]
- Henry A. Wise Wood, from Continuous Flight in Aircraft magazine, Vol. 2, No. 1, 1911 mar.

Aeronautical VFR navigation charts (VNC) and more At Nav Canada
Notices to active pilots. Aerodrome of Golden is CYGE. NOTAM

[...] Missouri Legislature wanted to make it a felony to fly higher than 1,000 feet [300 m]. [...]
- Editor, from Important and Unique Aeroplane Incidents of 1911, in New York American, 1911 june 04.

Transport Canada - Civil aviation
Transport Canada Aeronautical Information Manual (TC AIM)
The AIM is available online:
Transport Canada - Civil aviation
Canadian Aviation Regulations (CARs)
The Canadian Aviation Regulations page.
Part VI - General Operating and Flight Rules
Subpart 2 - Operating and Flight Rules
Item 602.29 regards directly hang gliding & paragliding (quick link 602.29)
Item 602.97 regards flights in a MF (mandatory frequency) area at uncontrolled airports (quick link 602.97)

Item 606.02(1) precise that the liability insurance is only required for registered aircrafts. Hence, not required for us.

Study guide of TC Air Law and Procedures (HAGAR)
Industry Canada
Study guide for the aeronautical radiotelephone certificate
* Nav Canada did create a centralized network of Flight Information Centres (FIC) and Pilot Information Kiosks (PIK). Some are operational since 2003. The flight service stations (FSS) will be reassigned to local (airport) services. See for details.


[...] - No, said Wilbur Wright slowly, no, I won't forget the hangar of camp d'Auvours, nor les Manceaux, nor the membres of the Sarthe's Aéro Club.
And, his eagle glance softened, Wilbur Wright whispered:
- How charming they were ! [...]
- Wilbur Wright by François Peyrey, from Ce que dit Orville Wright in L'Auto, 1909 january 13.

[...] it has often been said that the English people were a slow and cold-blooded people—(laughter)— lacking enthusiasm, and inhospitable. Of course, when I met a few of the people in our own country I found those reports were false as far as they were concerned. [...]
- Orville Wright, from The attainment of flight., in London Daily Graphic, 1909 may 5.

[...] When the interviewers pressed too hard upon the brothers their sister, Miss Katharine, went to their rescue. [...] It is part of my work to look after the boys and keep them from being talked to death. You know they are such chatterboxes, she added, with a glint of sarcasm. I had to rescue them several times in London last week, and pulled Wilbur out of some conversational mires in Paris. [...]
- Katharine Wright, from Fresh from the hommage of kings, Wright brothers are welcomed home., in New York Herald, 1909 may 12.

[...] her fidelity to these worthy brothers, her words of encouragement and acts of constancy, during all the weary days of trial, experiment and uncertainty, her ministrations during the hours of suffering and pain [...] Katharine, by these kindly acts you have won the profound admiration of all your friends, and your name will be cherished [...]
- A. L. Shearer, from The sister is not forgotten., in Dayton News, 1909 may 13.

[...] yes, to the honor of Dayton herself, it can be truthfully said that while they have always been brimming full of life and pleasure, they have been absolutely clean and free of the vices which tend to ruin so many bright young men. [...]
On the fifth day of October, 1905, I saw the flight of 24 miles [38 km] made by Wilbur Wright. [...] After Mr. Wright descended, he cooly asked me if I still thought he was crazy. Of course, I promptly acknowledged that the shoe was on the other foot. There are many things that would interest the public at this time, that my personal relations with the Wright family will not allow me to discuss.
- Edgar W. Ellis, from Ed. Ellis tells of the boys' characteristics., in Dayton Herald, 1909 june 16.

[...] No kind action ever stops with itself. One kind action leads to another. Good example is followed. A single act of kindness throws out roots in all directions, and the roots spring up and make new trees. The greatest work that kindness does to others is that it makes them kind themselves. [...]
- Amelia Earhart, in source not yet found, 19--.

[...] Five men [...] left a cosy station and a warm fire to go to work in the icy, biting wind and help two eccentric Yankees drag a 600-pound [270 kg] contraption across the frozen sand. [...] There ought to be a monument to them somewhere in Kitty Hawk to remind us that there is no such thing as an unimportant act of kindness. [...]
- Unspecified, in, ca 1999.

[...] She was like really nice to all these girls and all of a sudden I was like "why was I mean?" you know what, what is that! I just realized that I was stupid and I... Since then, like, my attitude's totally changed. [...]
- Roxanna Brock, in A day in the life: 5 women who climb, 2005.

To keep at our happiest some rules should be followed:

  • Know the Visual Flight Rules (VFR) and hang gliding & paragliding flying rules. Examples: Highest priority to the pilot at the lower altitude. Priority goes to the pilot in the slower aircraft. Priority goes to the pilot that has the side of the mountain on its right. Avoid an imminent collision by making a right turn. Use your judgement in any manner that increases the safety including breaking the rules if necessary.
  • Match your turn direction to the one(s) already in the thermal or the one(s) out climbing you.
  • Land in fields of cut crop or pasture. And if you do not cause any damage and no one comes to you, there is no point to try to contact the owner.
  • Do not land in grown crop fields. If you do have to, offer to pay for crop damage, if any (say $5 - $10). Stay calm, polite, and be understanding of their position if they are upset or irate. Remember, a landing is not an act of trespass if all you do after the landing is pick up your equipment and leave the field. Be open, listen, explain, we like their fields, we need them for landing, we want them on our side as much as possible.
    You can limit or avoid damages by touching down where the crop does not grow well. For example, near the entrance, where the machinery compact the soil.
  • Do not step on fence wires, it pulls out the staples hence annoying the farmers. Pass under or through them.
  • Do not drive into any field. Stay on the roads.
  • Close any gate that you used as it was.
  • Pick up your own garbage.
  • Offer rides and help those in need. Exchange rides to reduce the number of vehicles. On the other side, it is the custom to offer $10 for a ride (gas, wear & tear) but this should be a gift as the ride is. Flying is difficult, have some inherent risks, so we recommend to maintain a mutual helpful attitude.

Brief recapitulation. To fly mount 7:

[...] Saturday afternoon however, I got caught by one that raised me 8 or ten inches [20-25 cm] off the seat. [...] I am going to tie myself on the seat with string. Latham always straps himself on his seat. [...]
- Orville Wright, from Hotel Esplanade, Berlin, in a letter to his brother Wilbur, 1909 sept 23.

[...] Preparation, I have often said, is rightly two-thirds of any venture. [...]
- Amelia Earhart, written ca 1936, for Last Flight by Amelia Earhart, 1937.

What Is Mandatory

  • Sign the waiver of the landing zone's owners.
  • Do I have to mention complete and properly maintained flying gear?

Highly Recommended

  • water
  • radio-telephone
    (two-way comm.)
  • GPS / map
  • first aid kit
  • long rope


  • mobile phone
  • camera
  • food
  • key of rescue/first aid box
  • donation/purchase for the maintenance fund

Finally, free flying can be anything from dangerous, just frustrating, to exhilarating. I found the best fun/pain ratio at mount Seven so far...
- Serge.

Wright glider with double rudder, 1902

[...] Considered as a sport, flying possesses attractions which will appeal to many persons with a force beyond that exercised by any of the similar sports, such as boating, cycling, or automobiling. There is a sense of exhilaration in flying through the free air, an intensity of enjoyment, which possibly may be due to the satisfaction of an inborn longing transmitted to us from the days when our early ancestors gazed wonderingly at the free flight of birds and contrasted it with their own slow and toilsome progress through the unbroken wilderness. [...]
- Wilbur Wright, in his Scientific American article, 1908 February 29.

The Wright brothers in briefPhoto source

This web page was formerly designed by Max Fanderl. His site is at
It is, since 2000, overhauled and augmented by SL (Serge) with contributions from PBE (Peter) and the HPAC.
Photos SL except some by David Koehn, Nicole McLearn, Stewart Midwinter, PBE (Peter Bowle-Evans), LB (Louise Bouchard), JC (Jeff Cristol) and KK/RD (Karen Keller or Ron Dougherty).
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