Due to Shenandoah National Park’s unique geography and wind patterns (free flight is possible to the north, east and west) it has been a popular location for gliding since the 1930s. Modern gliding—hang gliding and paragliding—continues to take place in the Park. The information below outlines the special requirements for hang gliding and/or paragliding in Shenandoah National Park. Hang Gliding and paragliding within Shenandoah National Park requires a special use permit.
Permits will only be issued to pilots with cliff launch certification as well a minimum rating of (H3) for hang gliders and (P3) for paragliders. NOTE: Qualifications including the certification of pilot skills and the promotion of safety is governed by the United States Hang Gliding and Paragliding Association (USHPA). A copy of certification from this organization is therefore required.
Proof of permission to land on private property in the form of a signed letter is required for permit issuance and is only valid for the calendar year in which it is signed. Flights are limited to daylight hours when the landing site can be clearly seen from the launch site.
Stunt flying, commercialization, advertising, publicity and competition flying are not permitted.
Helmets must be worn.
Cutting of vegetation is not allowed at launch sites, except as outlined in any other special use permits. Use of launch sites and trails leading to sites should be conducted at leave no trace standards.
Applications and instructions for applicants are available online. A $50.00 non-refundable application fee must be submitted with the application. After verifying the requirements for the permit and the receipt of the application fee, a copy of the permit will be returned to the applicant for signature. Once the permit is received with the permittee’s signature, it will be routed through the Superintendent’s office for final signature and returned to the permittee. Permits are valid from the date issued through December 31st of the current calendar year. Permittee’s must reapply annually.
Pursuant to 36 CFR 2.17(a)(3) and 7.l5(b), Shenandoah National Park has the authority to regulate the use of powerless flight devices designed to carry persons through the air by special use permit within Shenandoah National Park.