Caution: This site can be unpredictable when the winds are N-NW. The terrain can cause a large amount of mechanical turbulence (or vertical rotor) coming around the hillside to the right (north) of launch. Fly only in very light winds on days like this, or be prepared for a sudden landing in the stumps.
Description of Site: This is a drive-up site above Tillamook valley in the coast range that requires high clearance to make the last 100 yards to the 1600' launch. There are 2 launches: 1600' and 2000' AGL. The 1600' launch is the best site for paragliding. The 2000' launch is called Kilchis.
The prevailing wind must have a westerly component in order to launch. This is a good thermal producing site. Some thermal flights have gone 2000' over launch and lasted for hours. Steve Forslund flew to the 18 mile mark on highway 6.
As with any new site, fly with a pilot who knows the protocol. In this case, the launch is on public land, but the LZ is on private land south of Sollie Smith Road. Pilots new to this site must go to the LZ with an experienced pilot before flying to see which fields are okay to land in and where to park cars.
Photo © 2013 Eric Miller
Directions to Site: The Sollie Smith launch site is located 10 minutes east of Tillamook. It is an old hang gliding site north of Sollie Smith Road. To get to launch, turn north from Hwy 6 onto Wilson River Loop road. Follow it north across the Wilson River, turn right (east) on Sollie Smith Road. At the red barn, turn left (north) from Sollie Smith road onto Aldercrest road. Stay on main gravel road, taking a right at first major intersection, stay to the right at the next intersection, proceed to a viewpoint (bypassing Sugarloaf Road, which drops down through the woods on the right). There is a viewpoint at 1200' but this is not a good launch site. Continue to the next major intersection, hang a sharp left, go about 1/2 mile to a sharp left at an old rock quarry.
Site Protocol: Shared by hang glider pilots. Land in the correct LZ. Have someone point it out to you rather than trying to guess. The LZ is owned by a very nice couple, Mr. and Mrs. Christensen, who live on the dairy adjacent to the LZ. We could lose their permission at any time, so remember that you are their guest.
Other Info: Very close to the Oceanside site. Beware of the "Manure Shooter" machine which is occasionally in operation in and around the LZ. It could ruin your day, your wing, and your attitude.
Submitted by: Rob Anderson, last revised 3/11/00 Map Link
Local Contacts: Rob Ridderbusch
Update by Rob Ridderbusch (April 27, 2005)
Bernie Sander recently purchased the Jacobs pasture land. Bernie is an easygoing guy that has no problem with bags and darts landing in his field. This opens about 100 acres of additional lz. This means we have at least a 1/2 mile radius lz around the parking lot. A few suggestions about landing in pastures. Some fields have pumphouses - which mean small hard to see power lines. The fields above Sollie Smith road are lumpy and have a few power lines crossing them. Avoid landing in fields with tall grass. The grass is going to be chopped for feed and has value to the farmer. Avoid landing in fields with cattle, especially hiefers. Cows usually ignore us but can get skittish for a number of reasons. A couple of years ago I landed in a field next to Bernies cows and started a stampede for the barn. Apparantly, Bernie just had a delivery of feed and the cows were looking for a reason to charge to the barn. Hiefers (UNBRED COWS) are extremely curious. Do you want 50 new girlfriends licking and chewing on your wing AND maybe a really jealous boyfriend snorting and charging at you? Take a good look at the fields before going to launch. Fields that have just been spread with holding tank manure are sometimes hard to spot from the air particularly if the manure is liquid. I really hate the brownish yellow color the cowpoop - it is not attractive on your wing, hanwags or flight suit. All kidding aside (sort of) check fields for recent use. My dog really loves the fields that have been used recently, the cow pies have a nice soft brown crust with a warm, gooey, yellowish green center. For the Morons - do not climb over fences; close gates after you pass; report problems to the landowner immediately; do not block roads or mailbox access at the lz. Always wave at the locals.