The Tennessee Tree Toppers welcome you to Henson Gap Burnside Launch!
Our new launch is now rated as a P3/H3 site and P2 with appropriate skills and approval by an FRP committee member or a BOD approval. Approval for P2’s is based on demonstrated control of the aircraft and decision-making skills.
To date we have had many successful launches and top landings! Please look for more updates to this page in the future.
Also see: TTT Flight Regulatory Program Whitwell
Please observe all USHPA and TTT rules and site guidelines.
Elevation MSL 2, 280 feet
Elevation AGL 1,460 feet
Glide to LZ 4:1
Henson Gap Flight Clearance
You must be a Tennessee Tree Topper Member in good standing, and a current USHPA member before flying any TTT sites. You must have an appropriate rating for the type of operation: hang glider, paraglider or mini-wing. You must be briefed and verified by a current board member prior to your first flight.
A minimum H3 / P3 rating with mountain experience at a different site is required before flying at Henson Gap / Burnside launch. However, TTT BOD or FRP members can approve the following upon pilot skill evaluation:
a. Hang Gliders – Minimum rating of TTT H2 Novice.
b. Paragliders – Minimum rating of TTT P2 Novice.
First mountain flights prohibited.First Mountain Flights from the Henson Gap/Burnside launch are prohibited. Pilots showing intent to fly at Henson Gap without sufficient experience and/or supervision are subject to citation. You must also read and understand the Flight Regulatory Program (FRP) before flying TTT sites. The FRP is available at the Henson Gap clubhouse sign-up station and on-line at https://tttmember.org/flight-regulatory-program-2018/
Potential weather conditions
- Venturi in the gap 2 miles north of the ramp in higher SW – NW winds
- Area is prone to high winds, popup thunderstorms and tornadoes on occasion
- Pilots should be cautioned about getting too far behind launch when ridge soaring
- Site can be extremely thermic between the hours of noon and 4 pm, given the right conditions and may not be appropriate conditions for Hang 2 pilots
It is recommended that pilots new to the area seek out local pilots or board members for a pilot briefing before your first launch. The typical launching starts from about halfway back on launch itself on the flat. Inflations tend to be more difficult when started at the slope. Once your glider is flying above you, kite towards the end of launch keeping your glider into the wind. If there is any wind, be prepared that you will probably lift off well before the end of the flat. Keep your feet under you at all times in case you need to touch down again. If you have a good wing, it is recommended not to hesitate at the downhill transition.
Print out the TTT Board of Directors page for a ready directory of wire crew who may be close and available if you ask real nice. Your chances of successfully rounding up a wire crew will be much higher among the “949” prefixes.
Land in the field north of Davis Loop and south of Henson Gap Road. The upper strip, located at the southern end of the field, slopes upward toward launch in its southern corner. It is fairly level in its western corner bordered by large electric transmission lines (NW) and Davis Loop (SW). From here the field slopes down to the north, along a fall line that divides the upper strip from the lower strip, to a big flat bottom comprising the majority of area. Although the upper strip will be used by many pilots in a strong north cross, the wide flat bottom area may be easier to negotiate in these conditions. Mr. Woerner also allows use of his bowl field across Davis Loop, offering another good option in this direction.
Please take your trash with you, and keep your speed down to 15 mph when driving past the homes surrounding the LZ.
Cross Country Tips
Excellent for ridge running, great for out and returns. Flights to Lookout Mountain may be accomplished by following the ridge to Powells Crossroads and jumping over the back (second deviation from southern XC route from Henson in picture). Be careful. This is a very challenging route. Directly over the back will put you in Chattanooga and very close to controlled air space.
Another recently preferable route narrowly avoids Lovell Field’s airspace. It follows the ridge line all the way to Inman Point then across the Tennessee River at Nickajack Lake to the area where I-24 cuts through Walden’s Ridge/Sand Mountain at the Haletown exit (Big Daddy’s).
It is the southerly most route to Lookout on the topo map at left. There are acceptable fields along the river here and at Haletown if you sink out, but you must make it across the river. Once across you’ll notice a southeasterly string of nice fields leading across this narrow area of the platea directly into the Lookout Valley. These appear as white patches along a line between Nickajack Lake, New Home, and New England on the topographical map you can view at TopoZone. Look for Covenant College, Burkhalter Gap, and the LMFP shop buildings on Lookout for landmarks. If you follow the fields to leave Sand Mountain in the area of a small cove where large power lines ascend the mountain, Lookout Mountain Flight Park is right across the valley.
Do not get caught too far back in the gaps on westerly days, unless you are sure you can make it to a safe LZ.
Directions to launch from Dunlap
Proceed north on Hwy 127 through Dunlap. Turn right onto Hwy 111 South (toward Chattanooga) north of Dunlap. Proceed past East Valley Road exit (which may be taken to LZ: right after exit, left at Davis Chapel/East Valley Baptist Church) and up the mountain. Notice beautiful view on right. Exit right onto Lewis Chapel Road. Take first right. Left at T onto Poe Road/Henson Gap Road (unmarked). Take first right onto Window Rock Road (Bowman Road) and proceed about 1.7 miles to TTT entrance on right marked by painted rock. If you don’t know the combination to the lock, contact a neighbor.
Directions to launch from Chattanooga
Take Hwy 27 north. After paralleling Walden’s Ridge (the other side of which Henson is on), passing the Hwy 153/Chickamauga Dam Exit, the town of Soddy Daisy, the Sequoyah Exit, and crossing part of the lake, exit left onto Hwy 111 North toward Dunlap. Climb mountain. Notice beautiful view on right. Proceed across plateau. Exit right then turn left onto Lewis Chapel Road. Follow “Directions to launch from Dunlap” from this point (Lewis Chapel Road).
Directions to LZ from launch
After leaving TTT driveway, turn left. Go to the end of Window Rock Road and turn left. Follow Henson Gap Road about down the mountain and look for Davis Loop on left immediately at the bottom. Follow around until you reach the LZ. Please consider the locals and drive slowly past their houses. To proceed to the TTT LZ Shady Bottom Breakdown area, continue past Davis Loop until you see the pull-out on the left just past the sweetgum thicket. It is directly across Henson Gap Road from Graham Road on the right. Park in the grassy area behind the brush line and ditch. The TTT Rock Bottom creekside picnic area is also accessible from here.