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​Mingus Mountain is located in the Prescott National Forest between Prescott Valley and Jerome and is the AZHPA's premier free flying site. We have (USHPA members only) camping at launch, a poured cement hang glider launch ramp and a paragliding launch area sitting at 7,818 ASL with approximately 4,300 feet vertical on top of an incredible high desert mountain range. After your friends and family watch you launch and head out for an amazing cross-country flight, potential in all directions, they can relax in the shade of the pine trees in the campground and/or visit the flat out, bad ass and amazing, historic town of Jerome and/or Sedona.



  1. All pilots must be current members of the Arizona Hang Gliding and Paragliding Association (AZHPA). Membership info here.

  2. All pilots must read and indicate consent to AZHPA/USHPA liability waiver (part of membership page).

  3. All pilots must be current members of the United States Hang Gliding and Paragliding Association (USHPA) and have ratings of H3/P3 or higher.

  4. On-site briefing from a local, qualified pilot is a requirement.

  5. "HA" (High Altitude), "TUR" (Turbulence), and "CL" (cliff launch) special skills endorsements and familiarity are strongly recommended.

  6. Visiting pilots can obtain a visiting pilot pass here and show the registration confirmation as proof.

General Rules That Must Be Adhered To By All Pilots

  1. All Mingus Mountain Forest Service and campground guidelines must be adhered to.

  2. Do not launch anywhere except for in the designated launching areas. (See images below.)

  3. Park only in designated parking areas.

  4. Do not hike or venture off designated trails..

Know Before You Go

A current airspace map and understanding of it is critical for flying at Mingus Mountain. Cottonwood Airport (P52) sits below launch in the valley at 3,560 ft., and is a Class E, uncontrolled airport with pattern altitudes as follows: HELICOPTER 4,050 MSL/500 AGL; SINGLE 4,350 MSL/800 AGL; MULTI 4,550 MSL/1,000 AGL; TURBINE 5050 MSL/1500 AGL. Patterns for both runways keep traffic on the far (east) side of the runways (14 is left pattern and 32 is right pattern). If flying cross country to the east, please cross abeam of runway at no less than 6,550 MSL/3,000 AGL, see and avoid. If you have an airband radio, traffic is called on the CTAF, 122.7 MHz. WX at 119.925 MHz. Current airport weather conditions, (including wind) here.

If planning on flying away from Park terrain to areas other than designated LZ’s, previous XC experience and a current airspace map is required.

Mingus and surrounding area, flight guide:


Additional Info

  • Site Frequency: 151.505 Mhz, DCS code 25: Please note you must turn your DCS on, set the code to 25, and make sure it is turned on for both transmit and receive prior to arrival. Programming instructions for most popular 2 meter radios can be found here.

  • Emergencies: Follow the AZPHA General Emergency Action Plan and Mingus Emergency Action Plan.

Latest REV: 2.8.23

Mingus Layout 2.png

Cottonwood Airport (P52) Airspace Chart (

Prescott Regional (PRC), Love Field (SkyVector. com)

Sedona Airport (SEZ) (

Site Description

High altitude, high desert thermal site flying. Light surface winds are favorable. Must be flown as a thermal site. No ridge soaring or flying close to terrain is permitted. Launching early is common as launch window can close without much notice. Overdevelopment is common and frequently happens very quickly. A thorough understanding of weather forecasting for high mountain flying is required. Occasional lee-side site. Strong thermals, deep boundary layers and cooling aloft often produces good flying conditions that can quickly turn to overdevelopment and unsafe conditions. There are also periods of dry, high pressure desert conditions within the same day in general and surrounding flying areas. Cross country potential abounds. Oxygen is required when flying in thermal conditions when TOL is forecasted above 10,500 ASL.

Location: Sitting just above the historic town of Jerome in the Prescott National Forest.

Usage: Hang Gliding and Paragliding.

Season: May through October. Subject to Forest Service Closure early Spring to late Fall (In the high desert). Contact AZHPA to ensure gate is open off season.

Affiliation: Arizona Hang Gliding and Paragliding Association. USHPA RRRG insured site.

Land ownership: Launch: Prescott Nation Forest. LZ: Private.

Other use: Open to the public for sightseeing, horseback riding, hiking, bicycling and more. Can be considerably crowded during special events.

Driving directions: Take state route 89A either north from Prescott Valley or south from Jerome to top of mountain. Follow exit to Mingus Recreational Area where a packed-dirt road begins. Follow  dirt road past meadow, small lake, church camp and campground. Take a left at the campground to go to launch.

Road conditions: Dirt road off 89A is two wheel drive friendly when 20 mph speed limit is respected. Current forest service alerts and notices can be found here.

Parking: Designated parking for up to 15 vehicles, with more at campground.

Facilities: AZHPA-maintained restroom.

Mingus Launches.jpg

Hang Glider Launch

Orientation: East

Type: Poured concrete.

GPS Coordinates: 34.7024°, -112.1162° Google Maps

Winds: 5-20 mph with peak gust differential of 4 mph in three seconds.

Paraglider Launch

Orientation: East

Type: Cleared grassy area.

GPS Coordinates: 34.7029°, -112.1159°  Google Maps

Winds: 5-15 mph with peak gust differential of 4 mph in 3 seconds.

Set-up Areas: HG set up area is area West of HG Launch. PG set up area is area West of PG Launch and South of PG launch.

Hazards: Paraglider launch is large and grassy but has shallow slope and can have rotor in back area of launch as well as stronger winds above pilot at wing level. Stay well within your limitations. A strong launch with sufficient skills is required. When flying, give ample distance from radio towers far behind launch. Sufficient altitude is needed when flying behind launch/mountain ridge due to strong conditions and unexpected sink. No ridge soaring or flying close to terrain is permitted.


Expect strong high-altitude, high desert conditions that change rapidly. Go on glide early to ensure reaching LZ with sufficient altitude due to strong sink/conditions. Dump LZ can be bushy certain times of year with trip hazards and has potential for lift and sink when on landing approach. Get directly above LZ with sufficient altitude for best final approach pattern. Clear LZ and break gliders down immediately.

Note: Pilots must familiarize themselves with this information before arriving, and this information does not replace the need for an in-person site briefing from a qualified, local pilot or instructor familiar with the area and experienced in flying the site.


Type: High Desert High Altitude Thermal type flying conditions. It is a rare treat to have consistent ridge soaring conditions at Mingus. When we do it is always at the end of the day when rare end of day East winds prevail. Stay clear of terrain and avoid "scratching" at all times. Conditions can change rapidly in the desert. Please be an active pilot. Clear LZ immediately. Dust devils are common here in the high desert and they show up with no notice or invitation. Pack up immediately.

Desert terrain and weather are extremely unforgiving on unprepared pilots, outdated equipment and pilots not giving extra margin of safety within their operating limitations. Adequate preparation, a sufficient understanding of high mountain, high desert weather forecasting and local on-site briefing is required. Desert heat is oppressive May through September. Dehydration is a real possibility, and those not used to hiking in these conditions can succumb to heat exhaustion and heat stroke. High desert terrain and weather are extremely unforgiving. Give yourself an extra margin for error due to the terrain and weather conditions. Oxygen is required when thermal flying when forecast exceeds 10,500 ASL.

All pilots must read the General Site Guidelines prior to arrival.


Restrictions: All Forest Service rules must be adhered to. Stay on designated trails. Park in designated parking areas only. Adhere to Cottonwood airport airspace requirements.


Special Note on Thermal Flying:

Thermal conditions create a demand for pilots to not only have solid ground handling skills with a connected feel to their glider, but also a thorough understanding of how the local weather conditions play into the forecast models in order to be sufficiently prepared for a short launch window that demands certain launch techniques. Proficiency in high-wind-with-gusts kiting, no-wind forwards and light-wind dynamic reverse launches on shallow slopes are crucial for many of our sites and conditions.

Please be aware that strength of conditions will determine if it is better to a.) launch between the thermal cycle, when speeds are zero or light, to then fly away into the next thermal approaching the hill with ample clearance from the terrain, or b.) pull glider up and launch glider directly into the thermal cycle blowing into launch.

Many times launching during a zero- or light-wind cycle between the stronger thermals is not only a safer window, but a better plan to capitalize on the launch cycles as well as the flight plan.

It was common to see many pilots "waiting for the wind" (which is the thermal) to cycle through launch because they are not comfortable and/or proficient with forward and light wind launch techniques, only to experience a stronger cycle than anticipated once their glider was overhead.

Pilots most accustomed to launching in prevailing winds, onshore winds and lighter thermal ridge lift need local, and perhaps local professional, expertise and guidance to gain the needed insight to fly our sites safely.

Designated Landing Zones

Note: We are not currently landing at the Cottonwood Airport as we are in discussions for another designated LZ behind the airport. Please land in the “Dump” LZ. (It’s an old covered dump.)

GPS Coordinates: 34.7217°, -112.0555°   Google Maps

Elevation: 3,800', 1,158m

Dump LZ: Straight in front of launch, just before the houses, visible from launch as an obvious small, circular, bare clearing in desert.

Directions: Drive to Cottonwood airport, stay on pavement past airport, go past cattle guard where road turns to dirt. Continue another two-thirds of a mile to LZ entrance on right.

Wind Sock: A white vinyl wind ribbon on a metal pole is located on the eastern edge of the LZ.

Conditions: Paved roads in residential area leading to 2WD dirt road to 20 yards from LZ area.

Hazards: Bushes are trip hazards certain times of year. Appropriate approach pattern is required.

Restrictions: Stay on designated trails. Clear LZ and break down gliders immediately.

Note: Pilots must familiarize themselves with this information before arriving, and this information does not replace the need for an in-person site briefing from a qualified, local pilot or instructor familiar with the area and experienced in flying the site.

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