Please read the following information carefully. This information reflects over 36-years experience of recreational flying at the site.
Hat Creek Rim is located in the Lassen National Forest in Northern California. This 1000 foot volcanic ridge produces consistent ridge and thermal soaring conditions during the summer months (June, July, August and September). During this time, strong afternoon south and southwest winds routinely occur in the Hat Creek Valley. The flying conditions during the day can range from light soaring conditions in the morning to strong thermals and ridge soaring by mid-day. In the evening (~6pm), the site mellows and the glass-off begins. The glass-off will often lasts until sunset.
RULES & REGULATIONS: Compliance with local, state and federal laws is important for all pilots who use the Hat Creek Rim flying site. We are fortunate to have such a beautiful area of the Lassen National Forest designated and developed for our recreational pleasure. Please do your part to keep Hat Creek Rim open and our welcome standing in the community intact.
USHPA MEMBERSHIP and SITE STICKER: All pilots flying Hat Creek Rim should be current full members of the United States Hang Gliding and Paragliding Association. The 'Friend of the Rim' sticker, used as a tool for fundraising since 1998, is optional. In recent years, operating costs have averaged around $700.00 per year. User donations enable us to meet those costs. (~$400.00 toilet pumping. $250.00 site insurance. $30.00 Use Permit). These are the baseline costs.
PILOT PROFICIENCY: Pilots flying Hat Creek Rim should have at least a United States Hang Gliding and Paragliding Association foot launched H3/P3 (intermediate) Rating and be proficient in; Restricted Landing Field (RLF), Turbulence (TUR), and Assisted Windy Cliff Launch (AWCL). Pilots launching the South Launch must have an ADVANCED rating with RLF, TUR and AWCL special skills. Pilots should wear a helmet and carry a reserve chute while flying Hat Creek Rim.
PILOT MENTORING PROGRAM: H2/P2 pilots should have their designated mentor physically present, assisting and observing every aspect of each sponsored flight at Hat Creek Rim. This is critical. Hat Creek Rim can and has
FLYING CONDITIONS: High wind with strong thermal and surface turbulence are the norm during the day. Due to these summertime conditions, many pilots opt to fly the late-afternoon or evening glass-off conditions. If you use the site during the mellow morning conditions you should be aware that the transition from mellow to blustery and unstable often occurs in a very short period of time. A high pressure weather system over northern California will result in strong north winds and the flying will be trashy and marginal at best.
ALTITUDE DENSITY AND WIND GRADIENT/SHADOW: These are important factors to keep in mind when flying Hat Creek Rim. Altitude density is the actual density of the air you are launching, flying and landing in. On a hot summer day, the altitude density in the landing areas (ranging in altitude from 3,485' to 3,865') can routinely exceed 6,000 feet and above! REMEMBER, ground speed will increase in thinner air! Wind gradient and wind shadow, while different, require similar input from the pilot; close attention to what your wing is doing and ample airspeed during landing setup and final approach. Pilots should be skilled and prepared for these elements when landing at HCR.
LAUNCH AREAS: Pilots must use the designated launch areas. Hat Creek Rim has two launch areas, The Main Launch is located along the access road (22) and the South Launch is located 2 miles south along the Rim, adjacent an old Forest Service Lookout. The Main Launch is a graveled sloped launch, the South Launch has a short earth ramp with a vertical drop at the end. There is a portable toilet located and maintained at the Main Launch. Please keep all roads clear and remove all litter.
LANDING AREAS: Use ONLY the designated landing areas. Hat Creek Rim has three designated landing areas. The #1 & #2 LZ are below and easily visible from the Main Launch. The Buttonhook LZ is out in front of the South Launch but is not visible from launch due to a lower ridge blocking the view (see a topo view of this). It is mandatory that all pilots inspect the landing areas before flying. Windsocks have disappeared, cattle can be present and standing water can accumulate. Landings can be challenging at Hat Creek Rim! A sturdy set of wheels can be beneficial. Afternoon landing conditions can include high wind with strong thermal and surface turbulence. Late evening glass-off conditions are usually much mellower but are frequently light wind landings. Landing anytime when the altitude density is in excess of 6,000 feet, which is common at this site in the summer, requires good landing skills. There is no ‘top landing’ allowed at Hat Creek Rim.
FLYING SOUTH ALONG THE RIDGE: Flying south is an excellent way to experience all that the Rim has to offer. There is a gap in the ridge that must be crossed to fly south. Pilots who do so should use good judgment when crossing this area. While it's fairly straightforward for an experienced pilot to fly south along the ridge and return to Main Launch area, risking a low return to the Main Launch area is not necessary. If you find yourself low on the South Ridge, use the Buttonhook LZ, that’s what it was constructed for.
CROSS-COUNTRY FLYING: All cross-country flying should be done in an easterly direction (downwind of the ridge) or out and return along the ridge. The entire Hat Creek Valley is private property and it has no designated landing areas. Please respect the wishes of the private landowners by not landing on private property. We are very fortunate at Hat Creek to have the full support and respect of the local residents and landowners. We can maintain this respect and support by supporting and respecting them and their wishes.
PILOT BULLETIN BOARD: Located at the Fireside Village store is the Pilot Bulletin Board. The bulletin board should be checked for site particulars, Forest Service notices and other important information before you fly.
TRAVEL ON LOCAL ROADS Please drive carefully and moderate your speed. The main dirt road leading to launch (22) is well traveled, as are the roads (freeways really) in and out of the landing areas. Watch for oncoming traffic. The roads in and out of the landing areas have been improved for your convenience, please avoid wet/soft conditions that can cause damage to the roads.
CAMPFIRES: If you plan on camping away from a developed campground, you must comply with all fire regulations and/or restrictions. Your free REQUIRED campfire permit is available at the following places; The USFS center on Hwy 89 (just south of Fireside), the Old Station Visitor Center and CDF in Johnson Park. NOTE: Campfires in the LZs (and outside all established campgrounds) are usually banned by the end of June due to fire danger.
HAT CREEK RIM IS A BIWINGUAL SITE: Both hang gliders and paragliders use this site on a regular basis.
COMMERCIAL ACTIVITY IS EXPRESSLY PROHIBITED: Any activity resulting in a monetary compensation, whether directly or indirectly, is prohibited on Forest Service land. A special permit is required.
FOREST FIRE AIR TRAFFIC: If there is any fire bomber traffic in the area, DON'T FLY, or if you're already in the air, GO LAND IMMEDIATELY! DON'T TAKE CHANCES!
EMERGENCIES: Dial 911 or use your radio if possible. 147.030+ is the local repeater. Mayers Memorial Hospital is 530 336-6511
ENFORCEMENT OF RULES: THE USDA FOREST SERVICE HAS FINAL AUTHORITY OVER THE FLYING SITE AT HAT CREEK RIM. Any violation as determined by the USDA Forest Service can result in disciplinary action, fines or suspension from the flying site.
SPECIAL THANKS: Special thanks to the United States Forest Service and the Shasta Sky Sailors for their continued commitment to the site and flying facilities. Improved launch and landing areas, parking lots, creature comforts, roads, site maintenance, etc., are a direct result of their hard work. Also, special thanks to everyone who, over the last 30+ years, has used the site responsibly and safely!
REMEMBER, YOU ARE THE PILOT IN COMMAND AND SOLELY RESPONSIBLE FOR YOUR OWN SAFETY. IF YOU ARE NOT SURE OF YOUR ABILITY AND HAVEN'T THOROUGHLY FAMILIARIZED YOURSELF WITH THE SITE BEFORE FLYING...DON'T FLY.
YOU FLY AT YOUR OWN RISK.