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Mormon Lake Overlook

Mormon Lake Overlook March 2009
Morman Lake Overlook on the left.

Detail of Mormon Lake overlookA volcanic cliff forms a long steep 200 foot slope on the East side of Mormon Lake. This provides for great sloping in Southwest to West wind which very common in the Spring. The Overlook is our most easily accessed slope soaring site. Any vehicle can get there (all roads are paved). All you have to do is drive up and toss you glider off the cliff. The Overlook wall forms a nice wind break, so you can fly in relative calm... much appreciated on our occasional cool Spring (or Winter) afternoons.

The perfect wind direction is from the WSW... blowing straight into the slope. These days are magical. The lift is strong and turbulence is at a minimum. However we often get days when the wind is more cross-slope. This often makes it more difficult to launch (more turbulence) and you will find yourself having to work upwind. A good flying tip is that if the winds are more SSW fly the left side of the Overlook. Conversely if the winds are W-WNW the right side is better.

The best lift is out in front of the slope about 25 yards. Try to stay in this lift band. If you start drifting back, dive down a bit to pick up some speed... and get back in the lift zone. If you drift back too far, and get too low, you have a good chance of stalling you glider... and tumble downwind.

The best place to land is NOT in the little island behind the Overlook. There is an obvious rotor there... and thus lots of nasty air. The better place to land is a bit to the South. The wind there flows more smoothly. Do a standard landing pattern: Fly down the slope to the South (out in front), take a very short downwind leg and turn back toward you (just behind the cliff edge). Allow your glider to drift back into the landing area, make a turn upwind on final and land. (A couple hundred landings and you will have it wired.)

Please note that we mostly fly foamies here. There are so many rocks in the landing area, that is difficult to fly and land a crunchie or balsa plane.

Map of Mormon Lake OverlookThe lake is partially full again after several years of drying out. We had a good 2008 and winter snow season... but 2009 was weak. The lake may dry out this summer.

The overlook is a great place to see lots of birds which use this cliff as a natural flyway and hunting area. Common birds include Red-tailed Hawk, Osprey, Raven, Turkey Vulture, Sharpshin/Coopers Hawks, Kestrel, and Bald Eagles (during the Winter and Spring). This also is a popular place to see large herds of Elk.

Driving Directions:

This soaring site is located 20 miles South of Flagstaff on Mormon Lake Road (Forest Highway 3).

Drive South on Lake Mary Road past Lower and Upper Lake Mary. Continue 1.5 miles past the North end of the Mormon Lake Loop Road to the Overlook Parking Area (West side of Lake Mary Road).

Please fly with caution... especially when visitors join you at the lookout.

Here is a recent video of Dawson flying his RiteWing TL36 at the Overlook:

This years annual ZAGI day is Sunday May 22nd at Mormon Lake Overlook.

Get your wing ready and join us for some fun combat flying!

zagi day at mormon lake overlook


Flagstaff Flyers Radio Control Airplane Club • PO Box 31251 • Flagstaff, Arizona  86003
Charter member of the Academy of Model Aeronautics (AMA) and District X, Charter Number 2456
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