Paragliding and hang gliding
Experienced paragliders and hang gliders who have their own gear can take off from Fort Flagler (paragliding), Fort Ebey (paragliding) and Steptoe Butte (paragliding and hang gliding) state parks.
Both historic forts are at the northern entrance to Puget Sound, and the views are unparalleled. The shape of Steptoe Butte, surrounded by low hills, can make for superb wind conditions.
Soaring under your wing, catching thermals and sitting in your harness, you may spot Key Peninsula, Camano Island, Fort Worden, Fort Casey and the snow-capped Olympic Mountains from the forts. The colorful Palouse Hills roll out to the horizon from Steptoe Butte.
REGISTRATION TO FLY A PARAGLIDER OR HANG GLIDER
Before taking to the sky, you must complete and return the registration form to Washington State Parks. You must print and carry a copy of the registration with you when paragliding or hang gliding in an approved state park. Register online for the park you plan to recreate in:
Things to remember
- Paragliding and hand gliding are permitted only at designated locations within approved state parks.
- A Discover Pass is needed for vehicle access to Washington state parks. The fine for not displaying the pass is $99. For information and exemptions, please visit the Discover Pass website at www.discoverpass.wa.gov.
- Comply with basic safety regulations, including:
- Observe flight rules and regulations as outlined in Part 103.
- Preplanned landings should be made in defined areas (see posted park maps).
- Use proper safety equipment, including helmet and radio.
- Park visitors may enter or be present in a state park area only during designated hours of operation.
- Be respectful and courteous to other visitors; do not interfere with other recreational activities.
- All Washington state laws are enforced in Washington state parks.
Rules and regulations
Flying paragliders and hang gliders is regulated within state parks by Washington Administrative Code (WAC) and by Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Rules. Information defining airspace can be found in the Aeronautical Information Manual (AIM). Pilots must read and abide by all applicable laws and regulations:
Must comply with FAA controlled airspace restrictions.
- No flying over any congested area of a city, town or settlement;
- No flying over any open-air assembly of persons;
- May not enter controlled airspace without prior authorization from the controlling authority.
Must comply with visual flight requirements as outlined in AIM and CFR.
- Code of Federal Regulations Title 14 Part 103 – ultralight vehicles;
- Code of Federal Regulations Title 14 Part 91.155(c) – Basic visual flight requirements (VFR) weather minimums;
- Aeronautical Information Manual – Chapter 3. Airspace, airspace defined.
Washington State Park rules, WAC 352-32-130 – Use of aircraft in Washington state parks
- Comply with the registration process provided for such purposes;
- Observe all applicable laws and regulations, including Washington State Park rules;
- Never destroy or disturb park facilities, natural features, or historical or archaeological resources;
- Conduct themselves with thoughtfulness, courtesy and consideration for others, and not interfere with other recreational activities;
- Conduct themselves in compliance with the following basic safety regulations:
- Comply with specific site operational restrictions that are posted;
- Fly in a manner consistent with the pilot rating held;
- Preplanned landings should be made in areas no smaller than 40 feet wide by 100 feet long;
- Make preflight checks of weather, equipment and site conditions;
- Observe all published traffic and right of way flight guidelines, including yielding right of way to all aircraft;
- Wear protective clothing, headgear, Coast Guard-approved flotation gear, reserve parachute, supplemental oxygen and communication equipment as appropriate for conditions;
- Fly in a manner that does not create a hazard for other persons or property;
- Fly only during daylight hours, or hours otherwise specified by posting at the site;
- Do not fly over congested areas of parks or open air assembly of persons;
- Fly only in designated areas of parks;
- Fly with visual reference to the ground surface at all times;
- Do not tether paragliders or hang gliders to the ground or other stable non-movable object;
- Do not fly while under the influence of alcohol or drugs.