We ask that anyone flying Hat Creek Rim be a current and full USHPA member and to read the site guide below. For safety reasons only intermediate pilots and above should fly the site. Novice pilots wishing to fly the site should be under the direct supervision of an experienced Rim pilot/mentor at all times.

Site Guide

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Site Guide - Important site information - click 'More Info' to read.

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!



Tips on Flying South on the Ridge

Paragliding site guides here: Airtime of SF

Site Protocol

In an effort to keep the USHPA, and more importantly our insurance carrier happy, we are asking all pilots flying Hat Creek Rim to be current and full USHPA members and follow site protocol.

The .pdf forms below can be emailed to: flyingbrian17@hotmail.com (subject; Hat Creek Rim)

Adobe Reader required to view and print applications - Adobe Reader is free.

H3/P3 pilots go here (PDF file) H2/P2 pilots go here (opens PDF file)

H2/P2 pilots should have a mentor - see list below

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Registered Mentor List and Mentor Application click 'more info'

Below is a list of registered pilots and instructors willing to offer their time, effort and experience to assist H2/P2 pilots. Remember, mentors are volunteers willing to help others. Hat Creek Rim is a remote site in Northern California - it is helpful if you arrange your schedule around the time they plan on being at the site.

Note: replace the 'at' with @ and the 'dot' with a period in the email addresses


Jason Shapiro jason at airaddict dot com (530.306.1082)
Jeff Greenbaum gofly at sftandem dot com (415.310.7411)

hang gliding

Brian Bokkin - flyingbrian17 at hotmail dot com (530 355-2081)
Phil Sergent - bigbird at vrf dot net (916.838.1064)
Scott Seebass - scott at xinet dot com (510.845.0555)
Justine Yang - justyang at gmail dot com (510.847.6373)



Want to be a mentor and help others at Hat Creek Rim?

In order to be listed as a mentor, you pilot must meet and follow the following criteria.
Be a current USHPA full member with at least a USHPA H3/P3 rating, including AWCL, RLF and TUR Special Skills.
Only H2/P2 pilots who are current USHPA full members should be mentored.
Have at least 15 hours of soaring time at Hat Creek Rim over the last 36 months and or at least a decade of flying experience at the site.
Familiarize the sponsored pilot(s) with the site and all potential and intended landing areas.
Be physically present, assist and observe the pilot throughout all aspects of each sponsored flights
Ensure that the launch, flight and landing conditions for each sponsored flight are within the skill range of the sponsored pilot(s).
Sign, date, and return the application and agree to the terms and conditions of the mentoring program. A mentor is in good standing for as long as they meet the qualifications and abide by the terms and conditions.



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Why provide your USHPA information? Click on 'More Info'

Below is what Rich wrote in an email to our chapter. We are trying to do the best we can with what we have to work with. Thanks to everyone who supports Hat Creek Rim. Below Rich's letter you will see a letter from the Forest Service, it's worth reading too.

"I understand the awkward position your chapter is in, being required to have site insurance by the FS but not having any authority to enforce the conditions your chapter has agreed to enforce as a condition of securing site insurance. As a precondition to granting site insurance, USHPA's insurance carrier REQUIRES chapters to enforce two rules: USHPA membership and helmets. USHPA understands the Forest Service cannot and will not grant your chapter police powers. This shouldn't stop your chapter from posting the USHPA membership and helmet rules as REQUIREMENTS. So long as your chapter is making a good faith effort to enforce these requirements through education and peer pressure, you shouldn't run afoul of USHPA or our insurance carrier.
If peer pressure and education aren't working, your chapter should consider asking the FS for support. The FS needs to understand that your chapter's ability to secure site insurance is dependent on requiring all pilots to be USHPA members and wear helmets. The FS can help by writing to offending pilots, when asked by your chapter, advising them of these two requirements. By doing so, the FS can help your chapter and USHPA keep the USHPA insurance program operable. It is in the FS's interest to do so, as the USHPA insurance coverage only applies to USHPA members."

As Rich mentions above, our chapter is obligated to do our best as a condition of securing and maintaining the required site insurance at Hat Creek Rim.

Please follow the simple site protocol when flying Hat Creek Rim.

The US Forest Service letter below illustrates the importance of having the Use Permit at Hat Creek Rim and the Forest Service's appreciation for implementing best practices at the site.. Without the permit and insurance, access, amenities, and maintenance of the site would be at risk - more risk than we are willing to take. Hat Creek Rim has been around since 1975; its our goal to see it around for decades to come...