Location and Arrival Park at 800 Channing Circle in Benicia CA in front of Channing Circle Park. Use the stairs into the park and head to the back and walk up the hill on the center path. The landing zone (LZ) is down the trail at the north end of the park. Please walk the LZ before attempting any landings as it is not flat and has obstacles (see below).
Optimal Conditions West at 7-12 MPH Flyable from 242-349 (wsw-nnw)
Choosing your launch Depending on wind strength and pilot skill, you can choose from several launches. The lowest is about 150ft, then steps up every 50ft or so until you reach the top. Note that all of these steps are varying on steepness and that many are almost flat. Depending on conditions you can launch from the bottom of the hill, the top of the hill, or anywhere in between LAUNCH HAZARDS: Standard hazards include rocks and bushes but a more serious hazard is being dragged in a strong wind or blown over the top or South side of the slope. In strong winds, Channing requires excellent kiting skills to get the wing over your head and control it without getting dragged in any direction. Choose you launch spot wisely and know your own skill set. Be aware of the barbed wire fence that trends up the middle of the site so that it does not interfere with your launch plan.
Terrain Above is a view from the top. The red lines mark the boundaries for pilots. Experienced pilots may go beyond the North red line if they are soaring or thermalling. Green lines mark the steps, and blue lines mark the safest area for landing. Wind socks are not permanent and may not be standing. The ground here is mostly grass but there is an occasional rock and bush. For launching, pilots should be out of their harness and ready to run until they are at least 30 feet above the ground. If you are ridge soaring, expect to have to work with a hummocky topography that creates rotors in various places depending upon the wind direction.
Air This site is island. The air can range from smooth laminar flow to very thermic bumpy conditions or anywhere in between. Channing is used for both ridge soaring and thermal flying depending on the conditions. Ridge soaring at this site often requires tight turns low to the ground in order to maintain flight. On thermal days, it is possible to get thousands of feet above the hill. Be cautious of warm thermic days in spring and summer as the air can become very active.
Landing The landing zone is mostly clear of rocks but there are several bushes. The ground in the LZ is made up of small rolling hills. The landing area is generous and P1 students land routinely without incidence. Some turns may be required to not overshoot the LZ. LANDING HAZARDS There is one barbed wire fence in the LZ area along the south edge. There is a concrete drainage along the north edge of the LZ. Other hazards include neighborhoods on either side of the LZ as well as random bushes and rocks.
Property This property is part of the county and is public. The site has been flown regularly since 2002. We operate here with the support of the local community so please be respectful to homeowners and hikers. If you see hikers in the LZ, please hold off to launch until they are clear of your flight path.
Pilot Requirements Although Channing West is an unregulated site, a USHPA P3 rating is strongly encouraged. P1s and P2s are welcome if they have an instructor present. P2s may fly solo at Channing if they have had at least one day of instruction at the site. For a site intro, please text Rob at 707 654 6750. Other Notes There are no restroom facilities or food vendors of any kind so please be prepared.