Zirks Site Guide

{Last Updated: Jan 2024}




Minimum Rating: H3/P3

Site Direction: NW

Flyable Directions: NNW to WSW

Glide Slope to main LZ: about 3.2:1

Vertical: 825

Type of Launch: Grassy very steep slope in medium slot

Type of LZ: Grass field

Soarable: Ridge, thermal


Location: Site is sensitive, see the point of contact for site location and access directions

Turnaround: Time: 40 Min drive

Parking at launch: Restricted

Parking at launch: Parking at landing zone is restricted and the launch road gate is frequently locked

Owner Launch: Arnold Zirk

Owner LZ: Dan Twigg

Setup/Breakdown: launch limited to four hang gliders/LZ unlimited


Disclaimer and warning: This site is very sensitive. Because of the sensitive nature of the site, this site guide is non-inclusive. Any non-club member wishing to fly the site must be accompanied by an officer of the Mountaineer Hang Gliding Association.


WARNING: The descriptions of typical flying conditions listed in this site guide reflect the experience of the authors of the guide. The conditions that you encounter at the site may differ, sometimes substantially, from those encountered by the authors. The descriptions of their experiences may not be relevant to the likely experience of any other pilot, particularly one who is relatively inexperienced or new to the site.

A decision to launch is always that of the individual pilot. When deciding whether or not to fly, a pilot may wish to take into account the descriptions in this site guide but must also consider numerous other factors including the pilot's training and experience, familiarity with the site, equipment, physical and mental condition and the specific weather conditions in existence at the time of the decision along with what the conditions may change to.


  USHPA membership required.

  MHGA club membership is required to fly the site.

  Seek a site introduction from the designated point of contact. Walk the LZ to be sure you understand the obstacles and preferred landing approach.

  Be aware of severe sink if the wind is parallel to the ridge.

Emergency Help

       Allegany County Fire Department (304) 866-7450

       Short Gap Volunteer Fire Department (304) 726-4388



Directions to Site

       Contact the designated site point of contact to unlock gates and provide access.

Point of Contact

Because of landowner issues, the Zirks hang gliding and paragliding site is extremely sensitive. Any visiting pilot that approaches the site without a Mountaineer Hang Gliding Association officer to serve as a guide will risk arrest or confrontation for trespassing. The main point of contact to gain access to the site is:

Jim Rowan

13818 Florida Ave.,

Cresaptown, MD 21502

Ph: 301-729-0773


General Description


The Zirks hang gliding and paragliding site is located atop the Allegheny ridge. The site is accessed via a private dirt road. Due to landowner concerns, a club member will need to provide access to the launch. In addition, to access the site, a four-wheel drive vehicle is needed.


First Flight Preparation

Before the first flight, new or visiting pilots must be a member of the Mountaineer Hang Gliding Association.


Acceptable Flying Conditions

The Zirks launch faces NW and is flyable from NW to W wind directions. Thermal activity can be present starting mid-day. This site is acceptable for pilots with either a H3 or P3 rating. H2 and P2 rated pilots are allowed to fly the site in benign conditions under the supervision of a site monitor. Pilots should have sufficient experience with thermic conditions. A Pilot should be capable of launching on a severe slope.


The normal wind speeds for flyable days when base winds are between 4 to 15 mph (paraglider flight limitations are base winds of 4 to 12 mph). The site allows for both ridge soaring and thermalling. Weak gusts of up to 14 mph may exist as mild thermals pass through. Flying is not recommended if gusts are higher than a 10 mph differential.


Launch can be very turbulent on a North cross due to the spine on the North side of the launch.



The launch is surrounded by tall trees and is considered typical of an East Coast slot launch.


The LZ is unrestricted and wide open.



The site is on private property and is typically devoid of spectators. As a result, spectators do not conflict with pilots.

Glider Control

Pilots are advised to remain off of the launch site when not launching. Space is available for only one glider to launch the site at a time.


Recommended Landing Approach

The landing field is clear and unobstructed. You may set up on any side of the field depending on the wind direction.