launch at Valle de Bravo, Mexico powered paraglider launch at Gardiner Turf Grass farms

SOUTHWEST AIRSPORTS

paragliding training center

Black Mountain

Doña Ana County, New Mexico; launch  32.074719° -106.793906°, 4,390' MSL 60' AGL

USHPA required notification: The RGSA and Southwest Airsports recommend that you do not fly at this site as it is not a chapter managed site.  If you do choose to fly at this site, you must take full responsibility for your actions, and recognize that you are fully and solely liable for any damage incurred by yourself, others, or others’ property. This site is unimproved with significant safety issues, including potentially challenging wind and thermal conditions. Flying at this site can be risky to the pilot, property owners, and our sport as a whole. This site is unpermitted, uninsured, unmanaged, and unimproved.

Black Mountain is an abandoned pumice mine (1997) about (16) miles SSW of Las Cruces, NM.  It is also known as Little Black Mountain so as not to be confused with the same in Catron County, New Mexico.  It is not possible to launch from Black Mountain itself but there are two smaller, sand covered, lava hills just north and adjacent of the mountain.  (The coordinates and altitude above are for the most northerly hill or hill #2.)

The mountain is a strong thermal source, no matter what time of year.  It has never been flown by a hang glider to the knowledge of this writer.  The site is far away from the Rio Grande Valley and the quirky, unpredictable winds that are customary for desert valleys.  The air at the top of hill #2 changes little from the winds aloft day or night.  Even our main training site, the Gardiner Turf Grass farms, experiences the dramatic effects of the daily inversion that occurs in the Rio Grande Valley.  The site is free of hazards but a power-line that follows Afton Rd. on the north side.  There is no traffic in the air or on the ground.  It is unique as a flying site because it can actually be flown with winds from any direction.  The other site that could be close to this feature is Mt. Riley which is flyable from 0-240 degrees.

Why are we not regularly training/flying at this site?  If it were not 40 minutes from El Paso/Las Cruces, we would....

PPG pilot, Max Bennett, preparing to launch from a cleared area north of the mountain and just south of W. Afton Rd.  View is east.

Black Mountain launch

Hill #2 north of Black Mountain – view is north from the top and lower hill #1.  The black thing below is a cow – this is BLM property and cattle roam freely.

Black Mountain north hill

A view east from the summit of hill #2.  The white stuff is snow (it's too high to be an ocean beach with foam).  The only hazard of the site is mesquite bushes everywhere.  Pilots have to avoid landing in them – the stickers are sharp and the branches are a nightmare for glider lines.  If a pilot does not have good landing skills, he will quickly acquire them flying in the open desert range of this region....

black mountain north hill

Directions:  Take Route 28 to W. Afton Rd. and go about 7 3/4 miles.  Turn left (south) on the dirt road and go about (2) miles to hill #2.  A good 4-wheel drive vehicle can easily make it to the top of the hill.

vulture