SSA sites are sensitive:  These sites have taken years of effort to acquire and require compliance with all procedures. Please read site protocols BEFORE going to the site and always get a site briefing from a Local Pilot.  If you have questions, contact the SSA first.

USHPA Incident Reporting:  Have you been involved in - or witnessed - an accident or incident? Please let USHPA know HERE.

​Caution: Big Air High Desert Sites

All SSA sites can have very powerful sharp thermals in the middle of the day, requiring very advanced big air active flying skills to fly safely.  If you don’t have big air mountain experience, only fly SSA sites at the end of the day, when conditions are calming down.

​Also, if you don’t know EXACTLY what "big air" means, then you DEFINITELY don’t have big air experience.  If you are a low air time pilot (under 100 hrs or under a full year in New Mexico) and are not sure which sites and conditions are appropriate, consult with your instructor.  Advice on social media such as Telegram or YouTube is a poor substitute for proper instruction.

A decision to launch is always that of the individual pilot. When deciding whether or not to fly, a pilot may wish to take into account the descriptions in this site guide but must also consider numerous other factors including the pilot's training and experience, familiarity with the site, equipment, physical and mental condition and the specific weather conditions in existence at the time of the decision along with what the conditions may change to.

Always ​fly within the USHPA recommended operating limitations for your rating as specified in the USHPA Pilot Proficiency System. Pilots of relatively little experience or who are new to the site are urged to consult with other local pilots at the site in order to obtain their assessment of the conditions. ​Always get a site briefing from a local pilot. Do not fly sites alone or without a local pilot present. If locals are not flying, there is likely a reason.

WARNING: The descriptions of typical flying conditions listed in the Site Guides reflect the experience of the authors of the guides. The conditions that you encounter at the site may differ, sometimes substantially, from those encountered by the authors. The descriptions of their experiences may not be relevant to the likely experience of any other pilot, particularly one who is relatively inexperienced or new to the Site.

SSA Site Guides

The SSA works with landowners and government agencies to maintain and regulate landowner requirements of several flying sites to allow and preserve free flight of those sites in the central New Mexico area. Most Sites are considered sensitive and flying at our sites requires adhering to specific requirements and procedures.  If we have procedures listed we all need to follow them if we want to keep them open for all to enjoy. 

This information and the applicable, current site protocols change OFTEN and you must contact a local, active pilot for a briefing on the current protocols. Every effort will be made to keep the site information and protocols up to date in this guide however it should not be relied upon as a single source of information. Always get a site briefing from a local pilot. Do not fly sites alone or without a local pilot present. If locals are not flying, there is likely a reason.

The rating listed for a given launch or landing zone does not mean that if you have that rating you will necessarily be able to safely launch or safely land. The rating means you must have knowledge at that level to decide whether it is safe for you to launch or land in the existing conditions.

Always ​Fly within the recommended operating limitations for your rating;  pay attention to changing conditions and weather forecasts. Flying into mid day and peak heating conditions should be reserved for advanced pilots. Reference USHPA recommended operating limitations for your rating in the USHPA Pilot Proficiency System.

Cross-country flights from all of our sites fly over private property and/or State, Federal or tribal lands. You should familiarize yourself with the locations of legal landing zones and strict no landing areas before venturing XC. 

If landing out, it is very important that you treat the landowners with the utmost respect.  If you are flying cross country and you have to land out please be as courteous as possible. You are an uninvited guest on someone else’s property.  Your actions may only mean one bad day for you but can impact the flying of local pilots  if we lose a landing field for years to come. Before you fly, have a look at this site that shows the known landing and “no landing” fields.

Radio Information: Members of the SSA use 2-meter ham radios for communication. For safety and convenience, it is strongly recommended that pilots obtain their "Technician Class" amateur radio operator license, and fly with a radio. Our new normal frequency is 151.925 Mhz.

Tandem Flights:  

Pilots Flying X-Country often are forced to land in ranch or pasture fields.  Some general rules when you land away from one of the marked landing fields:

XC Flying & Trackers: If you plan on flying XC from any SSA Site: (or even if just site flying)