Gliding, soaring, hang gliding, and paragliding are growing in popularity in the Roanoke Region. Why? The Blue Ridge Mountains create thermals that are conducive to great soaring. The Blue Ridge Soaring Society and Skywackers are two unique clubs that will help you soar to new heights and learn more about air sports.
The Blue Ridge Soaring Society is a club operation located near New Castle, Virginia in scenic Craig County. The area is surrounded by the Jefferson National Forest, where the Appalachian Trail stretches through the wilderness of Virginia.
The mountain ridges running through the area provide great ridge flights for long cross country flights. When weather conditions permit, wave flights are also possible. The BRSS has a high altitude waiver window, allowing for flights up to 23,000 feet.
Every September, the BRSS hosts the Region 4 South contest. One of the most notable contests was in 1990, when 17 of the 25 pilots completed a 1,000 km task, covering ridges in four states.
Ground facilities include a club house with full kitchen, great room, and dining room. There is a large campground with utility hookups and a shower house. Most social activities are centered around a large, covered picnic pavilion and bonfire ring.
Our club glider fleet includes two L-23 Super Blaniks, two L-33 Blanik Solos, one ASK-21 and a high performance LS-6b. The club’s tow planes are a Call Aire and a 235hp Pawnee. In addition, about 20 privately owned sailplanes are based out of New Castle International Gliderport.
Skywackers, the SWVA Hang Gliding and Paragliding Association, is the official chapter of the United States Hang Gliding and Paragliding Association. The Skywackers were flying from Big Walker Mountain as early as 1974, and have been boo waa’ing across the skies ever since.
Membership is open to any hang gliding or paragliding pilot (or potential pilot) who is a member of the USHPA. The Skywackers manage several private launch points throughout the area.
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