Let’s Go Fly
Welcome to the West Coast Soaring Club! It’s easy to start flying with us
Visiting pilots are welcome to the west coast but there are a few things the visiting pilot needs to know and abide while flying in this beautiful part of the world.
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The West Coast Soaring club operates in the Lower Mainland, located on the southwest coast of B.C. composed of the Fraser Valley and the surrounding Coastal Mountains and is home to Vancouver, the largest city in British Columbia.
Due to moist south westerlies, our coastal mountains are covered by a dense evergreen forest. This, along with the occasional rugged mountain peak jutting up above the tree line and continuing down to the beautiful coastal waters, makes this area some of the most attractive in North America. The area offers many tourist and recreational attractions ranging from the large city life, to an incredible scenic wilderness which host many forms of outdoor recreational activities. This area is host to a slew of activities like boating, canoeing, mountaineering, rock climbing, world class ski resorts, white water rafting and hiking trails leading up to 7,000 ft alpine plateaus.
The moist air in winter usually means that access to the mountain launches is restricted due to snow, but come spring, when cloud base in the Fraser Valley rises to above 6000 feet, you will find pilots enjoying flights with breathtaking scenery in solid thermals along the entire length of the scenic Fraser Valley from Grouse Mountain to Bridal Falls. Farther North in the Coast Mountains is Pemberton where spring and summer conditions can bring climbs to over 10,000 feet over endless snow fields and ice covered mountain peaks. By mid summer the air tends to have stabilized somewhat, which is the time to hone your scratching skills, with rewarding flights for those that have.
Our Flying Sites
Our three most popular and consistently flyable sites are Mount Woodside, Lower Bridal Falls, and Pemberton. Woodside is flyable year-round and is suitable for hang gliders and paragliders. Bridal Falls lower launch is suitable only for paraglider pilots. Pemberton has both a lower and an upper launch, both suitable for paragliders and the upper launch providing excellent launch conditions for hang gliders.
Woodside’s WSW facing launch provides excellent morning and afternoon soaring conditions in the spring and summer while the steep WNW facing Bridal Falls ridge provides excellent afternoon flying and great cross country flights. Cross country flights in the springtime from Mount Woodside to Bridal Falls and back have become the norm. The Fraser Valley is quite wide which reduces the severity of valley winds creating a generally low-stress flying environment. Please be aware of airspace restrictions in the Fraser Valley.
The south-facing splendour around Pemberton provides some of the best and most reliable fall flying conditions in the region. Pemberton also provides epic XC conditions in the spring and early summer and has hosted the Canadian National Paragliding competition. The area around Pemberton can experience strong valley winds.
Then, of course, there’s Grouse Mountain, probably one of the most gorgeous flying sites in North America. The site is only minutes from downtown Vancouver, and after a quick tram ride up to the top of the mountain, and a short hike to the launch site, the soaring pilot will be rewarded with a stunning panoramic view of the city of Vancouver, Stanley Park, Burrard Inlet, English Bay, and even the mountains of Vancouver Island, across the Strait of Juan de Fuca. Flying at Grouse Mountain is restricted to members of the Grouse Mountain Flying Team with membership requiring an HPAC Advanced rating.
Please take your time, browse our website, and say hello in our public forum. We hope to fly with you soon.
Regular annual membership to the West Coast Soaring Club costs $80 per year which includes access to all club launches. For visiting pilots, out of town semi-regular pilots, and flying students, other membership options are available.
Your membership dues go primarily towards keeping our existing launches and LZs accessible and enables the club to develop new sites to fly. Thank you for your support.
Click here for the West Coast Soaring Club Membership Page