|MSL||870 m (and others)|
|AGL||670 m (and others)|
|Glide to LZ||(you'll reach it)|
|Rating/Skills||(insurance and flight licence)|
|Wind Directions||Several launches, W~SE (see site description)|
|Season||Year round. Thermal season starts around March and ends around October. Its better to fly from October till march! In the summer time you will have a lot of inversion|
|Restrictions||See no fly zones here: http://montegrappa-airpark.com (but I think they may mainly apply to paragliders, please ask.|
|Site Type||Foot launch|
|Fees||There is a fee now, please ask the locals|
| <googlemap lat="45.88021," lon="11.775284" zoom="14">
45.88021, 11.775284, Mount Grappa http://montegrappa-airpark.com/ </googlemap>
Monte Grappa near Bassano is one of the most well known and frequented sites in Italy. It is located about 50 km north of Venice. Numerous international competitions have been hosted here. Several unproblematic launches and an easy LZ are available. There are numerous attractions nearby to visit with the family and combine a flying vacation with sightseeing.
Bassano is one of oldest and most well-known sites in Italy. Pilots from all Europe come to fly here. The flight conditions are quite reliable, when compared to sites further north and closer to the Alps. Also, Bassano is thermally active early in the year and attracts pilots from the north that like to start the season here.
Biggest annual event is the "Trofeo Montegrappa" early in the season (March easter).
Monte Grappa is the first significant elevation when coming from the south and offers a wide open view into the Po valley. If there wasn't the usual haze one should be able to see Venice about 50 km to the south.
In contrary to places in the nearby Alps Bassano is not a big air site. The maritime influence from the Mediterranean Sea is noticeable and mixed with the haze that moves in from the valley the lability at the mountain is dampened. For less experienced pilots this creates ideal conditions to fly in thermally active, but not too turbulent air.
There are several HG and PG launches at Mt. Grappa, here the list for hang gliders, in the order you'll encounter them when you drive up the road to the summit (follow signs to "Cima Grappa"):
Col Del Pupolo (or Carraro)
- Wind: E~S (ramp faces east but local wind usually stays right on)
- Location: N45°49.476' E011°46.279'
- Altitude: 870 m MSL, 670 m above LZ
A wooden ramp next to a small restaurant. This is the most popular launch (also the one shown in above video). Driving up the summit road count the switchback turns: 14. Or check the odometer: around 10 km from the turn-off at the foot of the mountain. You can't miss it, the windsock and the ramp are just next to the road. Setup area is behind the ramp, additional space on the other side of the street on a parking lot with room enough for 20 or more gliders. As I remember the best lift was found slightly to the ramp, or directly in front of it. There is another launch about 50 m earlier when coming up on the summit road. It used to be a flat ramp which in our days was not maintained much. This may have changed since the paragliders discovered the place. One more possible launch site is just a few a few switchbacks after Carraro. This one is south facing. See also: http://montegrappa-airpark.com/pages/home/fluggebiet/col-del-pupolo-en-GB.aspx
- Wind: SSE~S
- Location: N45°51.274' E011°48.013'
- Altitude: 1,410 m MSL, 1,230 m above LZ
Scenic alpen meadow not visible from the road. There is a small turn-off to reach it, ask the locals how to find it. A wonderful place to hang out and wait for flying conditions (or recover from the night before). The launch area is rather small but thankfully not many pilots want to drive the extra distance from Carraro (it takes quite a while with many switchbacks). There is no need to drive up to Monte Colombera to enter the thermals though. If there is lift you should also be able to catch it from Carraro.
Monte Meda (Panettone)
- Wind: E~S (maybe also SW)
- Location: N45°51.687' E011°48.241'
- Altitude: 1,610 m MSL, 1,430 m above LZ
This launch area is in the vicinity of the summit (Cima Grappa) and its war monumental memorial. Used by both paragliders and hang gliders. It takes forever to reach it (distance around 20 km on the summit road). The altitude difference to the LZ is 4,700 ft! In the winter months the summit is closed, due to snow. One tip: if you make it to the summit before sunrise (or stay there overnight, but it gets real cold) you are rewarded with an incredibly colorful, out-of-the-world sunrise. It's the haze, and the endless plain that stretches to the south, then rugged mountains to the north.
There are more launch areas at Monte Grappa (but I'm running out of steam writing about them). Check with the locals.
There are two main landing zones, one for paragliders, one for hang gliders. The hang glider LZ is located near Semonzo di Borso del Grappa at N45°48.444' E011°47.089'. Coming from Romano d'Ezzelino and driving towards Borso del Grappa, turn right at Semonzo in into the Via Pere. There is a sign with a hang glider symbol. After 200m turn left into Via Caose, the landing field is to the right of this road after another 200m. It is large and there are no prominent obstructions. There are powerlines along the road to avoid. Oh, it is also family friendly with several picnic tables in the shadow of a row of trees to the side of the access road.
- L'Antica Abbazia: A historic restaurant with a new camping place. For a while they had to shut down camping, but they have improved the grounds and it is available again. It is located beautifully in a steep valley and usually quiet. (updated 2/2008)
- Directly next to the PG LZ there is also camping. Very inexpensive, but also usually crowded and with a rather questionable reputation for sanitary facilities.
Camping at the Garden Relais landing area is possible too.
There is now an excellent supply on good hotels all around the site. To find them search Google using "semonzo del grappa alberghi". Historically, the two main hotels for us pilots used to be (probably are still popular):
Flex wing Distance/Duration
Rigid wing Distance/Duration