Shaw Butte

A Historic Hang Gliding and Paragliding Site in the Heart of Phoenix, pioneered in the early 70's, Shaw Butte is still surprising pilots with epic and memorable flights quite often. There's not many sites that offer such a grand view of Phoenix and put our way of flying on center stage. While 4 wheel drive vehicles are still permitted to haul pilots and gear to the top, we must always remember to be respectful of the hikers and bikers on the road to the top. Travel at the pace of a desert tortoise with the attitude of David Cane (Grasshopper) and the journey to the top should be pleasant and uneventful.

The City of Phoenix Parks, Recreation and Library Department as well as APS, has given permission for people to fly from designated launches in Shaw Butte Mountain Park under the following conditions.

  1. All pilots must be current members of the Arizona Hang Gliding and Paragliding Association (AZHPA).
  2. All pilots must be current members of the United States Hang Gliding and Paragliding Association (USHPA).
  3. All pilots must sign in at the top prior to flying. Steel lock box with sign in sheet.
  4. All pilots must have an H3/P3 rating or greater
  5. All pilots must print, sign and submit this liability release waiver to AZHPA or present it to a club officer before flying this site.

Know Before You Go!

Shaw Butte Information Brochure

VFR Sectional Symbols PDF

PHX Terminal Chart at SkyVector.com

SITE DESCRIPTION

Location: Metropolitan Phoenix
Usage: HG, PG
Season: All year. Reduced use during summer due to heat and turbulence.
Requirements: H3 or P3. Gate key or AZHPA member with a key to meet you at gate. Arizona Public Service safety course. Visitors will need AZHPA membership after three flights. Sign in at steel lock-box at launch. USHGA membership required for all pilots.
Affiliation: Arizona Hang Gliding and Paragliding Association
Radio info: Standard USHGA business band frequencies. 2M Amateur on 146.440 and 146.550 with 162.2 Hz squelch tone. CTCSS squelch. Local weather info on 162.550 MHz.
Land ownership: Road to launch is maintained by Arizona Public Service. Site and LZ are in the Phoenix Mountain Preserve.
Other use: Hiking, mountain biking, horseback riding.
Emergency: Several nearby hospitals.
Maintenance: Arizona Hang Gliding and Paragliding Association

LAUNCHES

Launches: Three at 2,100' ASL. Main launches are cliff launches and face SW.
GPS Coordinates: PG Launch: 33° 35' 38.25" N 112° 05' 14.23" W HG Launch: 33° 35' 37.88" N 112° 05' 13.46" W
Winds: SW (2) and SE (1).
Driving directions: Meet with other pilots at LZ (see below). Drive up or down only during daylight hours. 5 MPH speed limit.
Road conditions: 4WD only, steep, winding and very rough in spots. Lots of foot traffic as well.
Parking: Space for about 10 vehicles along road and at top.
Facilities: None.
Setup area: 15 gliders max.
Hazards: 20 KV marked power lines. Several 150' tall radio towers. Dangerous boulders below all launches. Unsafe for winds below 5 MPH or above 20 MPH.

FLYING

Type of flying: Ridge soaring and thermaling. Usual house thermal over pad to South of launch.
Restrictions: Heavily-used airspace with three nearby airports, including Sky Harbor. 6,000' MSL limit over the Butte. KDVT and KSDL Controlled Class D airports to the NE. Please refer to the Phoenix Terminal Area Chart
Hazards: Same as launch hazards. Keep eyes open for low-flying airplanes, helicopters, hot-air balloons, and blimps.

LANDING

Landing zones: Large, sloped retention basin along foot of mountain in N-S direction. Avoid landing down slope (towards SW). Alternate, smaller 100' by 150' pad on West side of ravine (North Pad) to be used with West or no winds only. Break-down area next to parking lot fence.
GPS Coordinates: 33° 35' 07.14" N 112° 04' 52.31" W
Driving directions: From Black Canyon Freeway (I-17) take Peoria exit East. Follow to end at 7th Ave., take left and follow to trail head parking area.
Road conditions: Paved road and parking area.
Parking: 30-49 vehicles shared with other park users.
Facilities: None, but many shops nearby.
Hazards: Power lines next to homes, ravine between both LZs, several Palo Verde trees. Very turbulent between May and August. Some sharp rocks and a few solid trail markers that won't bend.
Restrictions: Don't land on golf course just North of Thunderbird Road.

CONTACTS

Shawn Jarrell (HG Site Director)
Jorge Arango (PG Site Director)
Bill Comstock (HG Flight Director)
Jorge Arango (PG Flight Director)

Notice to Pilots

The information presented here is for reference only!

It is meant to supplement NOT replace a site walk through with an experienced pilot. In the interest of safety the AZHPA recommends that all pilots unfamiliar with the site fly in the company of an experienced pilot once or twice before flying there themselves. Remember, this is the wild, wild west! Even though a site may be Novice rated, conditions can change quickly, turning it into an unforgiving Advanced site!

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