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Pilot Registration for Flying in Franklin Mountains State Park

A. Pilot conduct & ratings

All pilots must fly in a safe and courteous manner, protect the safety of other visitors, and preserve the Park's cultural and ecological resources.  Failure to obey the rules can result in revocation of flying privileges within the Park.  This is to say nothing of the possible consequences to OTHER pilots using the Park!  Pilots must have an H/P3 rating or equivalent from their country of origin.  Those who do not meet the minimum rating requirement can have an USHPA instructor present. We recommend that you have the CL (cliff launch) & TUR (turbulence) ratings to fly in the Franklin Mountains.

B. Questions

Call Franklin Mountains State Park at 915-566-6441, the Ranger on duty (915) 539-0789, or Park Police at (915) 319-1698 or (915) 319-0589.

C. Accidents

Contact the Park Police at (915) 319-0589 or (915) 319-0589.  If you cannot reach them, dial 911.  It is always better to contact the Park Police first because they know the Park better than anyone and are familiar with what we do.  Accidents involving ultralights are treated as falling accidents (as in rock climbing) not as aviation accidents because there is no risk of fire or collateral damage.

D. Gate Combo

If you are flying at Agave Hill, pilots should ask for the gate combo when checking in or they may be locked in if they land after the Park closes (5PM weekdays, 8PM on the weekends).

E. Pilot registration

1. Download and complete the permit application.  Paperless (preferred)  – use Adobe Reader which can digitally initial each bullet and sign the application.  The permit must be saved locally in order to complete it with Adobe Reader.

2. Scan, photograph, or make copies of the following (3) items which must be included with your application:

a.) Current USHPA membership with a H/P3 rating (or the equivalent from your country's aviation agency).  Southwest Airsports can supply a temporary 30 day USPHA membership for foreign pilots, if needed, for a nominal cost.  If you are flying with an USHPA instructor, you may have an H/P2 rating.  Contact us if you need help.
b.) Proof of medical insurance – Pilots are not permitted to fly in the Park unless they have medical insurance.  We have lost many sites in the U.S. and Canada because of injuries sustained by uninsured pilots who had their medical expenses (including search & rescue) paid for by local taxpayers.  These irresponsible pilots have outraged landowners, the Authorities, and taxpayers.  Southwest Airsports, the RGSA, and USHPA are working together to help prevent this abuse.
c.) Government issued driver's license or identification card

3. Email the completed, initialed, and signed application along with the copies of the above documents to:


 Mail/fax the completed permit application and copies to:

Franklin Mountains State Park
1331 McKelligon Canyon Rd.
El Paso, TX 79930

Fax: (915) 566-1849

Pilots may also deliver the application and copies to a Park Police Officer or the Ranger on duty at the Tom Mays Unit.  If you cannot find a Ranger or the Police, it is temporary – please wait or call the Park police or HQ.  If you are with Southwest Airsports or the Rio Grande Soaring Association, one of the club officers can take your registration material when you arrive at the Park and deliver it the Park office.

4. Pay a use fee to enter the Park ($5/person/day as of 2015).

As of 2015 the cost of annual Texas State Park pass is $70.  The pass waives the entrance fee for up to (15) people total if all are arriving in the same vehicle.  The pass is a better value if a pilot flies in the Park often (or uses any other of the dozens of State Parks in Texas).  To purchase an annual Texas Park Pass, call 800-792-1112 press 3 and then 3 again and have your credit card ready.  The Pass may also be purchased at Park headquarters Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. or at the Tom Mays Unit booth on Saturdays and Sundays, 8:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.

5. Notify the Park before launching and after landing  Send a text message to this number: (915) 539-0558 just before launching and just after landing e.g. "John Doe launching from (site)" and "John Doe landed", respectively. 

5. Become a member of the RGSA (optional)  The cost is $ 25/year.  The Rio Grande Soaring Association pays the required USHAP site insurance for the launch sites in Franklin Mountains State Park.  Donations are appreciated if you do not wish to become a member.  Please go to this site to donate or join.