Morningside Flight Park
North Charlestown, NH
|MSL||432' (Bullseye) 811' ("450 Launch")|
|Rating/Skills||Contact Flight Park Staff, all levels of instruction available
Suitable for new pilots
Staff approval required for flying from higher launches
|Wind Directions||W, SW, SSW, NW for foot launch. Runway runs N-S|
|Season||Late Spring to Early Fall|
|Restrictions||USHPA Membership required, Contact Staff (sign in and fees required)|
|Site Type||Foot Launch up to 375 feet AGL, Aerotow
|Fees||$20 day use fee
Yearly $170 US
ATV ride tickets $40/10 rides
|Contact||Morningside Flight Park
|Site Panoramic Images|
Morningside Flight Park is a privately run training hill and aerotow site. For foot launched training through Hang 2, weather permitting, there may be no equal in the country to Morningside. It has a perfect slope for working up, all the way up to 220 feet above the bullseye mowed in the grass at the bottom of the LZ. There is also a launch called "The 450" that is actually 375' above the LZ. The 450 has a ramp facing West that is used for most Hang Gliding launches. There is also a slope available that faces Southwest, usable in higher winds.
A staff of competent and friendly instructors are available to help you with every aspect of flight training and general flight. A fully equipped pro shop is available. The only possible shortcoming would be a lack of gliders for rent for visiting pilots. The closest thing to a rental would be a full day lesson, where the wing would be included with the lesson. The shop sells beverages and apparel along with flight related equipment.
ATVs with hang glider carts can take a pilot up to the upper launches in a matter of minutes, allowing dozens of flights per day for the energetic types. Cart rides average $3.50 per trip and are casually arranged. If you want to get a lot of flights in, bring a cart driver and have him or her be prepared to chip in helping get other pilots up. Make sure Brazilian paraglider pilots, the bane of LZ etiquette worldwide, are politely, but firmly, reminded to bring the damned carts back down quickly.
Weather is the Achilles Heel of an otherwise idyllic site. Subject to the whims and vagaries of New England's climate, Morningside requires patience to fly at, as ever changing winds and oft-present precipitation will tantalize the pilot staring at the lush LZ and easy launches.
There are few sites in the country where a pilot with sufficient resources of time (waiting for weather) and money (paying for aerotows) can meet so many requirements for ratings, right up to Hang 4. Nearby Mount Ascutney has numerous launches around the 3,000 MSL mark and is the preferred mountain site for established pilots. Said pilots often meet at Morningside (approx. 8 miles) before going to Ascutney and return by air (approx. 9 miles).
From the southwest: Take I-91N in Vermont to exit 7 (VT-11). Follow VT-11 across the river to New Hampshire, and continue for 1 mile to the T-junction at NH-12. Turn left, and continue for 6.4 miles to Morningside Lane. Turn right, and the flight park will be 1 mile ahead on the left.
From the south: Take NH-12 north from Keene for about 35 miles to Morningside lane on the right (about 8 miles past Charlestown). Turn right, and the flight park will be 1 mile ahead on the left.
From the east: Take I-89N through New Hampshire to exit 12 (NH-11). Follow NH-11 west through Sunapee, Newport, and Claremont to Morningside Lane, about 4 miles past Claremont. Turn left, and the flight park will be 1 mile ahead on the left.
From the north: Take I91S through Vermont to exit 8 (VT-131). Turn left at the end of the ramp, and follow the road across the river to the first left (NH-12A). Continue for 4 miles to Grissom Lane, turn left, and proceed 1.3 miles to NH-11. Turn right and go 1 mile to Morningside Lane. Turn left, and the flight park will be 1 mile ahead on the left.
Hang gliding at Morningside was pioneered in the early 1970s by local farmer Phil Haynes, who cut down enough trees on the hill to allow him to fly. The flight park was founded in 1975 by Jeff Nicolay, who has operated it ever since.
The gently-sloped mowed grass training hill and higher foot-launch sites face into the prevailing west wind. Aerotowing starts from a 3800' N-S grass runway across the street. Ridge soaring is possible from the hill, while aerotow provides access to thermals in the Connecticut River valley.
Morningside is open for instruction and flight operations on most flyable days. A yearly site waiver is required.
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