Free Flight:

Sand City Free Flying Possibly Over For Good

Sand City: The Loss of Another Great Free Flight Launch Site

Sand City, just north of Monterey, offers access to the start of what becomes 12 miles of pristine coastline, famous for it’s rolling sand dunes and fairly consistent 100-200 foot ridge for the entire 12 miles. As they say the sands of time run out though and that’s exactly what happened last month in Sand City when a developer who purchased the land over 20 years ago which contains the launch site got permission from the California Coastal Commission to build an environmentally friendly “Eco-Resort. According to the Monterey Herald, the new resort calls for 1.3 million square feet with 184 hotel rooms, 184 condominiums, three swimming pools, underground parking, a spa, restaurants and other features.” Those of us lucky enough to have flown there also believe the area used to be a refuse site for waste, as there’s broken glass everywhere. It’s our sincere hope that not only this new project would rid the area of all the broken glass, but that it would also still be flyable with the permission of the new owners, of course. Below is a video I made of one day while flying the site. It will be missed!

This video is a compilation of a bunch of sled rides to the beach as the winds were too light for soaring that day. All 7 flights in this video were basically sled rides to the beach, as the wind, although directly on shore, was only 8-10mph. Never the less, the free flying was spectacular for a newbie and I needed the exercise hiking back up the ridge each time. Having just finished free flight P-1 & P-2 ratings at Point of the Mountain near Salt Lake City, Utah, Sand City seemed like the perfect place to exercise my new ticket while continuing the learning process.

Some Humor in All This…

A few things to note about glider handling in moderate winds at the beach when you’re a newbie:

  • The wing seems to almost grow sand, and eventually it becomes a sand bag.
  • If there’s a twig 6 feet down, it will come up through the sand and cling to your lines… As well as every other $&@!&@$ twig on the beach.
  • If you have a foot on the ground, some part of your wing is under it. Most likely a line, which you’ll find out about when you go to walk away, almost $&@?!&$ trip and then start swearing like a sailor.
  • A guy with a P-4 rating will show up and you’ll think he’s a newbie because of how badly things are going for the poor guy.
  • A newbie will show up and you’ll think he’s a P-4 because he’s been in the air the entire time, even though the wind is only 8-10mph.
  • You will pronounce swear words in foreign languages you didn’t even know your vocal chords were capible of, upon trying to figure out a good way to empty all the sand out of your wing.

…and yes, this all happened to me in one day.