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Horse Heaven

Uintah National Forest

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Juab County, Utah

Revised 01 Feb 2024

Location

N39º 29' 35.6" W111º 50' 24.9"

39.4932, -111.8403

Elev 7538' / 2297m

Ratings & Skills

UPSHPA H3/P3 (H2/P2 w/instr)

High Altitude, Foot Launch

Radio Comm

Primary . . . . . . . .  447.800

Alternate . . . . . . . . 447-8.25

Emergency . . . . . . 146.560

Access

4WD recommended. Five-mile 2-track dirt service road with switchbacks and steep grades. Impassable in snow without chains. Muddy after snow-melt or rain.

Known Hazards

Midday thermic turbulence. Very high density altitudes in summer. Steep, rocky launch. Dense waist-high vegetation in landing zone.

Site Sensitivites

Austere launch site with no emergency services. National Forest lands and private property. Private land in and around the LZ. Leave vehicles on public lands. Leave gates as you found them.

Attention All Users: Horse Heaven is a challenging, high-altitude mountain-thermal site. No pilot should fly at this site who is not a current USHPA and UHGPGA member holding the minimum USHPA ratings and skills indicated. Visiting and first-time users should obtain a detailed in-person pre-flight briefing from a local UHGPGA member-pilot with recent flying experience at this site. This briefing should take place at the launch site on the day of the flight. Pilots should also familiarize themselves with the known hazards and site sensitivities described in this guide. As pilot-in-command, you alone are responsible for assessing your fitness for flight, the airworthiness of your glider and equipment, the suitability of the current conditions for launch and recovery, and for continuously monitoring glider position and performance to ensure a safe landing at an approved landing zone. If in doubt, do not launch.

Road Conditions

Follow the dirt 2-track utility road southeast. The road starts out on flat public land, passes through gates across private land, and continues up a narrow draw back onto public land. You will gain 2700 feet in elevation between the first gate and the summit. The road eventually climbs steep grades through half a dozen switchbacks. At 4.4 miles, you’ve reached the parking area for the West Launch. To reach the East Launch, continue up the hill. Pass the lower antenna farm at a sharp right-hand turn. When the roads next bends hard to the left, the East Launch is on your right. At either launch site, park vehicles well off the road to allow others to pass.

The Setup:

West Launch: To reach the West Launch, park well off the road, gather your gear and look for a bushwacked trail heading west, downhill from the road. Others have been here, so try to follow their tracks. Look below you for a natural open area in the vegetation. That’s the West Launch.

 

A west breeze with a north component works best at the West Launch. Do not use the West Launch if winds are other than west or slightly northwest.

Horse Heaven is a P3/H3 site, or P2/H2 with an instructor. Midday heating, especially in summer, produces cyclic thermic turbulence in the valley and at launch. Take special note of the density altitude on warm days and adjust your takeoff as necessary.

2024 Horse Heaven West Launch Detail.webp

East Launch: In a south or southeast wind you can launch successfully from the East Launch. Although further from the LZ, the minimum glide ratio is about the same (5.0 to 1) due to the East Launch’s higher elevation.

 

The East Launch is 800 yards past the West Launch. Continue up the road, making a right hairpin turn at the antenna farm. When you reach a left-hand hairpin turn, the East Launch is to your right below the road. The launch itself is steep and somewhat rocky. There are no permanent tie-downs available at either set-up area.

Horse Heaven is a P3/H3 site, or P2/H2 with an instructor. Midday heating, especially in summer, produces cyclic thermic turbulence in the valley and at launch. Take special note of the density altitude on warm days and adjust your takeoff as necessary.

2024 Horse Heaven East Launch Detail.webp
The Landing Zone:

While the farms and ranches in the valley appear to offer unlimited places to land, we do not have permission to plan approaches and landings on these private properties. The area to the north of the second gate (the one you passed on your way in) offers a broad, flat LZ on public land.

The sagebrush in the LZ is dense and waist-high, so run-out landings will be challenging. If winds permit, consider an approach and landing on the dirt road. Note the 50-foot tall transmission wires and towers parallel to the roadway.

Unplanned landings on agricultural land across the highway should be as close as possible to the eastern fence line, allowing for rapid disassembly and removal of your glider. Use gates whenever possible. Only climb across fences as a last resort, and only at corner posts. Leave all gates as you found them.

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