Bellyache Ridge

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Description
Bellyache Ridge is the most consistent of the Vail sites. It is a morning site that faces northeast to southeast and is usually flyable from 7:00 am to noon. This site offers perfect conditions for the beginner to advanced pilot. Early morning offers calm, smooth conditions for pilots just getting started to mid-day conditions and high altitude gains of 1,000 to 4,000 feet. This site is located 20 minutes west of Vail, and provides easy access with a paved road. Bellyache is an east facing site and is flying capable most mornings. Prevailing wind is from the southwest to northwest. The morning katabatic flow from the Rocky Mountain Divide facilitates and easterly wind flow in the morning. Sun and light thermals also enhance this dynamic, and usually we have a 4 to 6 hour morning window to fly. Winds average 8 to 12 mph early with lighter conditions mid-morning. Late morning before the wind switch moderate thermals can develop with winds increasing from 5 to 15 mph in the stronger cycles. This usually happens late morning. By 12 noon the prevailing mixes down and flying is done for the day. This site lends itself to very consistent conditions and you can almost set you watch daily to the weather dynamics. The wind direction can be from the southeast to north to fly this site. There is a wind open window as launch is completely clear to the airflow. All other directions are not favorable.
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Bellyache Ridge is the most consistent of the Vail sites. It is a morning site that faces northeast to southeast and is usually flyable from 7:00 am to noon. This site offers perfect conditions for the beginner to advanced pilot. Early morning offers calm, smooth conditions for pilots just getting started to mid-day conditions and high altitude gains of 1,000 to 4,000 feet. This site is located 20 minutes west of Vail, and provides easy access with a paved road.

Primarily flown in the mornings before the winds shift and come 'over the back'. Watch out for the wind shift.

Radio Frequency

151.955 MHz

Directions

Follow Interstate 70 to Edwards exit 163 from either direction (east-west). Turn south from exit ramp, (right if east bound, left if west bound). Follow Edwards Access Road to the four corners of Edwards (street light). Take right (west) on highway 6 and 24. Follow highway 6 to trailer parks that split road approximately 0.6 miles. Take next right after trailer park onto Hillcrest Drive. Drive 200 yards to railroad tracks. Take immediate left after railroad tracks onto Red Canyon Estates Road. Follow road until it turns to dirt, follow dirt road until end (100 yards). This is the landing zone meeting area.

Both landing and launch are paved drive to locations. Bellyache is a P2 rated site and registered by the RMHPA. Visiting pilots and tandem passengers are urged to contact David Champaign at: www.VailValleyParagliding.com or Greg Kelley at www.aircrossusa.com

Overview: Bellyache Ridge is managed by Bureau of Land Management and private land owners. Vail Valley Paragliding has a special use permit from BLM for the launch area. We have exclusive permission by the land owners for the landing area. All instructors and students either meet at the landing zone or at launch. County roads access both areas and are maintained by the county. The parking areas are more than 500 feet front the launch and landing area. Bellyache has been used by Vail Valley Paragliding for 20 years. There have been multiple upgrades to the launch and landing area to make it clear of any obstacles natural and man-made. Launch is a dirt and grass open area where three gliders can be laid out span wise and two deep. There is a path that leads to the launch area with designated signs indicating the pilot’s only area. There is a spectator area that is off to the side with a sign and path showing the access. There is a wooden bench where spectators can watch from behind launch. We have had no problem with spectators following the sign protocol. There have been no insurance claims or accidents in the previous 3 years from tandem or solo instruction, therefore, no claims. Student Requirements: All students must fill out an application, waiver, and health assessment document. If there are any physical or mental limitations, instructors are notified. Instructors are then required to monitor the individual as to their basic needs. Each student is briefed on proper clothing, footwear, sun protection, water, and any other items appropriate for their personal needs. As mentioned we have first aid kits in each instructor’s vehicle and at both the launch and landing areas. For tandem, instructors are required to prepare the student including pre-flight layout, harness application and buckles, helmet, glider hook in, condition assessment, and launch and landing protocol. Solo students must always have a helmet on when using, or working with the paraglider. Harness check is done multiple times by student and a partner and by the instructor. There is only one student in the air at a time as radios are used for instruction. Reserve parachutes are used when deployment high is achieved. There is an instructor or apprentice instructor at launch, and an instructor on landing for flight guidance to the student. Weather and Flying: Bellyache is an east facing site and is flying capable most mornings. Prevailing wind is from the southwest to northwest. The morning katabatic flow from the Rocky Mountain Divide facilitates and easterly wind flow in the morning. Sun and light thermals also enhance this dynamic, and usually we have a 4 to 6 hour morning window to fly. Winds average 8 to 12 mph early with lighter conditions mid-morning. Late morning before the wind switch moderate thermals can develop with winds increasing from 5 to 15 mph in the stronger cycles. This usually happens late morning. By 12 noon the prevailing mixes down and flying is done for the day. This site lends itself to very consistent conditions and you can almost set you watch daily to the weather dynamics. The wind direction can be from the southeast to north to fly this site. There is a wind open window as launch is completely clear to the airflow. All other directions are not favorable. Obstacles: There is regular maintenance done to both the launch and the landing. In the landing zone the grass is mowed bi-weekly and cleared of all large weeds and rocks. Launch is raked and mowed bi-weekly as well and free and clear of any obstacles. There is a line of shrubs on the left side that does not come into play. It is easy to abort a launch if pilots inflate incorrectly. Launch is wide with at least 3 wings able to be laid out span wise. Launch does drop off quickly with the left side more appropriate for solo new pilots. The left side is more convex and there is a gradual steeping of the launch run without a large drop off. The right side is more gradual with an abrupt drop off and is only used by more experienced pilots. Parking: Vehicle parking is at least 500-1000 feet away from the launching and landing area and plays no role in safety issues.