Bellyache Ridge

Revision: Fep-2021

Primarily a morning site, 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. 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 an 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 in the morning tend to range from 3 to 10 mph. Each pilot needs to individually determine safe flying conditions.


Launch is a dirt and grass open area where three gliders can be laid out span wise and two deep. 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.

Wind direction to launch works from SE to NNW. General trend is SE early morning to NE-NNW late morning. It is a thermic site however it is possible to ridge soar early morning before 8 am with the catabatic flow. Launch can be very thermic with variable winds. Pilots should have a solid forward launch.


Landing zone is bordered by a river on the south, a barb wire fence and railroad tracks to north. It is narrow but as long as two football fields with sage on the NW end. There is also an interstate on the north and a 2 lane highway to the south. Be very aware that on landing approach the valley wind can pick up unexpectedly, so it is important for the pilot to prepare to fly toward the landing zone with good height to guarantee an easy approach.


Bellyache is best flown in the morning, launch is low sloping, you will want a strong forward launch or wind in your face prior to takeoff. This is not a high wind site due to valley's rotor potential. Allow adequate separation from terrain, smallest recommended wing to make LZ: 12m. High speed landings discouraged due to driver distraction on I-70.

Miniwing rating
Glide Ratio


Radio Frequency

151.955 MHz

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Site Considerations

  • Should there be mini wing information? If so who's going to write it up?
  • Glide ratio is an easy 3 to 1.
  • Check the winds aloft.

    Recomended Hang Glider range: 10 to 15 MPH at 18,000 feet.

    Recommended Paraglider range: 5 to 15 MPH at 18,000 feet.

  • No hang glider tiedowns.
  • 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.
  • Individual pilots should respect the dedicated Tandem launch area.


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.


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.

Ideal Wind Range   Max Winds
HG 3 - 12 mph25 mph
PG 3 - 10 mph15 mph
MW 3 - 15 mph18 mph

Each pilot needs to individually determine his/her ideal flying conditions.

Site Contacts

Visiting pilots and tandem passengers are urged to contact David Champaign at: or Greg Kelley at


In case of a serious accident that needs emergency medical care, call 911 and Vail Mountain Rescue. Since this site is more remote there is potential to call in a helicopter if needed with many landing options near the top. The local EMS knows the site and location and has GPS coordinates.



Landing zone is on private land.