The Tennessee Tree Toppers welcome you to our Henson Gap launch!
Last Revised: 2/23/2020
street view in Google Earth
Also see: TTT Flight Regulatory Program 2019 Whitwell
Please observe all USHPA and TTT rules and site guidelines.
Wind Direction: Ideal-320° OK in light winds - 280°-350° Wind Velocity: Min 0 mph, Ideal 5-10 mph, Max 20 mph Elevation MSL: 2,380 feet Elevation AGL: 1,420 feet Glide to LZ: 4:1 Launch Coords: 35.349331 -85.331661 Ratings: H2 with mountain experience at a different site is required before flying at Henson Gap. Tandem and First Mountain Flights from Henson Gap are prohibited unless supervised by a TTT approved USHPA certified instructor.
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 should be briefed and verified by a current board member prior to your first flight.
You can also become a TTT member by completing a Membership Application and paying your dues. Membership Applications are available at the Henson Gap membership station located beside the clubhouse.
You have two options for submitting this form. Please follow the application instructions carefully.
1. Complete this form on-site and ask a TTT Board of Directors member to sign as your witness. Place the application and your dues payment in an envelope and drop in the Henson Gap lock box. Your membership becomes effective immediately.
2. Complete this form, have any adult sign as a witness, and mail it with your membership dues payment to: Tennessee Tree Toppers P.O. Box 1286 Dunlap, TN 37327. Your membership will become effective ONLY when the TTT has received and processed your application and payment.
A minimum Hang 2 rating with mountain experience at a different site is required before flying at Henson Gap. Tandem and First Mountain Flights from Henson Gap are prohibited unless supervised by a TTT approved USHPA certified instructor. 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 sign-up station, the Whitwell Bulletin Board, and on-line at TTT Flight Regulatory Program 2019.
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
Other important notes
- Keep the launch area clear.
- Pilots should clear their launches and announce their intent to launch.
Launching the ramp
Do not begin the launch too far back. Go at least to the red line. This is an acceptable starting point for a launch run even in no wind conditions. The flat portion of the decking is not the launch ramp, it is the bridge to the actual launch ramp which begins at the red line. The bridge is there to enable the pilot to reach the launch ramp, which is positioned as far out into the vertical airflow as possible. If the pilot attempts to launch from behind the red line, especially in windy conditions, when they reach the red line on the ramp they will suddenly enter the vertical airflow and this can cause a nose pop, stall, or blown launch. All Hang II and first mountain pilots must have someone in the LZ before launching. Use side wiremen in winds over 8 mph, and use a keel person in winds over 12 mph. In these conditions, it is especially important to launch from forward of the red line. 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.