WORKS BEST: Spring and Fall, NW to N
Spring means March to June, Fall is September to end of October, though it can work through the winter as well. Summer usually finds it fogged out. Even if the direction and velocity seems OK, summer is a lot weaker - the RC guys that fly this site have noticed the same thing. July and August just don't work at this site for hang gliders and paragliders. The site was pioneered by hang gliders over 25 years ago. Paragliders found it in the early 1990's. Overall, this is the most consistently reliable site in Humboldt County. Coupled with its relatively easy access from Highway 101, this is a site we want to maintain and stay on good terms with the multiple land-management agencies involved.
This 150 foot near-vertical bluff is an very good hang gliding site, providing your cliff launches are satisfactory. Because the near-vertical, sharp-edged bluff creates a terrific rotor just behind the lip, launching Paragliders here can be difficult. A cleaning up and moderate clearing of the hang gliding launch over the last several years has made paragliding launches a lot more doable than they used to be, but high-wind ground handling skills are required if you intend to soar. The launch site is next to a paved road (Hookton Road), and is owned by the County as a county park. The former top landing site behind launch is now a California Fish and Game conservation site - PLEASE DO NOT LAND THERE - you can be cited by a resident ranger. The landing areas on the beach below are BLM responsibility. As you can see, there are a number of agencies to deal with to keep this site available.
The Humboldt Bay National Wildlife Refuge is just to the east, and a great variety of birds frequent the area; and some of them fly with you from time to time: seagulls, red-tail hawks, egrets, blue herons, Cooper's hawks, others. May-June seems best, but we have hit some good days in December and January, as well.
Requirements/Regulations/Radios Fly Safely, have a good time.
Table Bluff is a Humboldt Wings Club insured site through USHGA - the United States Hang Gliding Association. USHGA Membership is required to fly here.
Radios: Club Frequency (Legal Ham Only Please) 147.415 Simplex, 146.85 Monitored by Eureka Hams for Emergencies
USHGA Frequency: WPRY 420 151.925 (Alt 151.625) (Requires PA and/or VA special skill signoff.)
Hang glider pilots need to have their cliff launching skills down. There is zero running room.
Paraglider pilots need really good high wind reverse launch technique - you are sometimes pulling up through a rotor into a change of wind velocity and sometimes a change in wind direction when the wing breaks out of rotor into the prevailing breeze. The prevailing can be strong enough to haul you across the road into the barbed wire fence. Not for the faint of heart. P-3 or strong P-2 is not an unreasonable suggestion.
How to Get Here From Highway 101, take the Hookton Road exit and head west. This is about 10 miles South of Eureka at the south end of College of the Redwoods, and you will see signs for the Humboldt Bay National Wildlife Refuge. As you head west, you will see signs saying that the road ends in X miles. What you get to is a formerly locked gate on a road that continues off the bluff and down the hill to the South Jetty of Humboldt Bay. Wonderful - you are at launch. The gate is now only locked at night - read the posted sign for the latest information.
Weather Links For general NOAA weather, check the Eureka site. You should also check what is coming in via the GEOS satellite. If that much looks good, check the buoys. The most critical one is at the mouth of the Eel River, Buoy 46022. Check the link to the latest Marine Weather Forecast while you are on the Buoy page.
Emergency Contacts Cell Phones work here. 911 gets you the Loleta VFD in reasonably short order, and the ambulance from Fortuna within 15-20 minutes. Best idea is not to need them. Horse Mountain on 147.000, offset +600 is also workable for the hams, as is 147.09 + in Fortuna. Simplex 146.85 also monitored by Eureka hams for emergencies. Otherwise stay with the local pilot ham frequency 147.415 or the USHGA 151.925.