Elden Mountain is an advanced soaring site that should be flown only by experienced flyers and with proven aircraft. There is a good chance that a plane lost over the edge in the steep and densely covered slope will never be found!
That said, this place rips in the Northeast winds... which commonly follow a storm front. The large bowl has a steep face which rises over 1000 feet in in less than a half mile. This results in very strong and very vertical lift. You have the potential to fly heavily ballasted gliders and thus get some ballistic flying! There are also a few strategically placed snags that will help keep your on your thumbs.
Landing is an adventure (planes won't want to come down!) but there is plenty of room in the grassy relatively flat (watch out for the boulders) meadow between the parking area and TV hill (see map below). It is advised to take a few exploratory landing passes to check out the wild back currents and rotors. Definitely bring a bounce-able glider.
In calmer conditions you can fly anything! I have flown my 12 oz Weasel up there in very light conditions (3-5 mph) had had it ripping. There are always nice thermals to catch too. Landing is very easy.
If you are in to DS'ing you can work the wind shear of the front side. Try doing horizontal circles over the road... diving downwind into the meadow, riding the back current around and then blasting back into the frontside lift. I have had some fast circuits... and impressive crashes.
Fall 2010 Update: I drove up to the NE bowl of Mt Elden in late September. The dirt road is improved the first two miles; but continues to deteriorate further up. It is very bumpy and rocky in several stretches, but no soft spots. You need a high gound clearance vehicle with strong tires. (no need for 4WD)
Access: Mt. Elden is the obvious hill just North of Flagstaff. It is studded with radio towers and a Forest Service Lookout. Drive North from downtown Flagstaff on Highway 180. Turn Right (NE) on Schultz Pass Road (located past the Museum of Northern Arizona and across from the Cheshire residential development). Bear Right onto the Elden Lookout road. You will pass through a residential area... please drive slowly and watch out for the horses and bikes which share the road. The paved road will give way to a graded dirt road (5 miles) which is passable by most vehicles in dry conditions. There are a few steep and narrow spots with some loose cinders... so take is easy. The flying site is about seven miles from Highway 180. As you near the flying site take the left fork down into the saddle and park on the side of the road. Throw you plane into the NE bowl. Land in the meadow between the parking area and TV hill. Have fun!
Flagstaff Flyers Radio Control Airplane Club • PO Box 31251 • Flagstaff, Arizona 86003
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