Location: North of Yuma, AZ, east of the southern Salton Sea, CA and about 200 miles west of Phoenix, AZ.
Basic Description: Just like what you’d imagine the Sahara Desert except that bordering the main dunes is a large area where RV’s can drive and park. Soft spots abound so be prepared to get towed out (expensive) if you venture too soft.
Weather: Sunny, low desert, dry and hot in summer, perfect in winter.
Comments: The movie Star Wars and Dune were filmed here and for good reason. At the ends of the day this place makes magical colors paint on irregular but fascinating shapes. Even cooler is that you can carve up and down with your paramotor. Don’t land out without support, though, walking around in this soft sand carrying gear is nigh impossible.
On weekends this place is nearly overrun with off-road vehicles. It’s much more fun on weekdays as a result.
Be extremely careful swooping the dunes that you don’t come up on a dune buggy the wrong direction.
Landowner: State of Arizona
Permission: We’re allowed to fly here proved our launch and landing is at least one mile from the paved road. You can fly over the whole park but be respectful. Any site can be immediately removed from our access with bad behavior from any pilot. You must have a $25 permit for each car or motorhome. Get this permit at the North side of
Sensitive Areas: Highway noise helps in this regard but don’t fly low over or near the golf course just east of hear.
Airspace Concerns: You launch in G airspace and can climb into E airspace at 1200 feet over most of the area. Restricted airspace sits to the north and west. Don’t even think of venturing there (marked red in the lower excerpt). The entire flying area sits in the ABEL EAST military operating area (MOA) so be on the lookout.
If you remain over dune then you’ll be ok.
Here are some comments about the numbered spots on the excerpt at above.
1. G airspace goes up to 700 feet to the left of the magenta shading. I’ve added the black line for clarity. The little g is my way of indicating 700 AGL foot top as opposed to 1200′. E airspace is above that. You can, of course, fly as high as you want in the E but must have more cloud clearance and visibility. The G airspace, while within 1200′ AGL, only requires a mile visibility.
2. Big G’s are my indication that the top of G is 1200′ AGL inside the shaded area. Interestingly that means that to the east (right) of the shaded blue line, G airspace goes all the way up to 14,500′.
3. Don’t fly here! Restricted R2512 times and altitudes of operation are on the chart margins but this area is seldom inactive.
4. This is unusual. It means that south of the blue line, G airspace goes up to 4000′ MSL with E above that.
5. Inside the shaded magenta line, the G airspace goes up to 700 feet.
6. The ABEL EAST MOA southeastern border is pointed out.
The chart here was current as of Feb 2007 so don’t rely on it.
Local Contact: There is none