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Paragliding Palomar_Smiley launch, CA

Paragliding Palomar_Smiley launch, CA

best Conditions

Wind Dir. : WSW SW SSW SSE SE ESE
Wind: Mini: 0| Maxi 25 mph Gust Max : 18 mph

Description

Palomar Upper Launch (Smiley / Twin Ponds) is a rarely used paragliding site located on private property owned by John and Kim Smiley. The site is sensitive and designated as a preserve, so minimal impact must be maintained. SDHGPA members have permission to use this land under specific guidelines, which can be found at [SDHGPA Palomar Guidelines](http://www.sdhgpa.com/palomar.html#smiley-launch). The launch is southwest-facing and set back from the west-facing ridgeline, which can cause turbulent conditions after takeoff depending on the prevailing valley flow. This site is typically used by hang gliders and occasionally by paragliders when winds are from the southeast to south. It is about 900 feet vertical above the main launch but is an unimproved site prone to snagging, making it unsuitable for instruction. The upper launch has a shallow slope and is not recommended in west winds. The ideal wind direction is south to southwest, with a minimum base wind of 7 mph for hang gliders, ideally 8-10 mph, and a maximum gust of 15 mph. Wind conditions should be checked using the Boucher Hill station. On convergence days, pure thermal days, and during evening katabatic flow, the Smiley and upper launches often experience downdrafts while the main launch remains thermally active and launchable. The upper launch can be in a wind shadow or rotor, experiencing 5-10 mph less base wind than the main launch. Hang glider pilots should only use the Smiley launch if their skills and the wind conditions are suitable for the shallow slope. For more detailed rules and guidelines, please visit the [SDHGPA website](http://www.sdhgpa.com/palomar.html#smiley-launch).
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Paragliding Palomar_Smiley launch, CA
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