Grouse Mt. – Urban Flying at its Best!
Photo and Pilot: Rod Frew
After a late pandemic start last summer, flying at Grouse is on in record time for this season … one of our earliest starts ever!
Every flight at Grouse involves panoramic views of the North Shore and the heart of Vancouver. Free flight (historically hang gliders, now almost exclusively paragliders) at Grouse Mt. goes back almost half a century. Our season – most years – begins when skiing and boarding end; it goes until the end of September.
It’s a site with constraints (airspace, as well as resort requirements that in normal years involve accommodating and acceding to bird shows, tourist heli ops, and tandem flights), but it’s also a place with huge payoffs. A $20 GMFT (Grouse Mountain Flying Team) pass allows you lift access to launch (at the Peak) for the duration of the flying season. If you live in the city or nearby, imagine going for evening soaring flights after work, without the stress of 3 – 4 hours of driving and putting wear and tear on your wheels and psyche. You also have the benefit of food and drink nearby, whether on the mountain at the Chalet, or in nearby North Van.
The GMFT welcomes friendly, competent, and confident P3 and P4 pilots to join us! Here is what’s required (if you’re not already a GMFT member):
1. Apply as a “Guest” pilot
- You must have a P3 or higher rating, and
- be a member of HPAC and the West Coast Soaring Club (or its sister clubs on the Island and in the Interior), and
- have the endorsement of two current Full Members*.
* Full membership is attained after a season of incident-free flying Grouse as a Guest. Our Full Member P4 pilots provide site briefings and accompany Guests at launch. Connecting with Full Members is usually done via the GMFT WhatsApp chat group.
2. Get an Orientation (Launch and LZ)
Every new Guest, gets an orientation before flying, both at launch and at the only LZ, Cleveland Park.
Why P3 or higher?
The site has become increasingly technical over the past few years (taller trees, more resort considerations) and our ability to keep flying here is contingent on keeping a good safety record. We fly here owing to the good will of both Grouse Resort and the District of North Vancouver and want to ensure that our excellent, long-standing relationship endures.
If you’re interested in flying Grouse, check out the GMFT website (where you can find links to apply). You can read more about Grouse and its long free-flight history in this 2016 USHPA magazine article.