Hang Glider flying
Take off ares for most wind directions
The Famara ridge run
Good landing options
Hang Gliding in Lanzarote
Famous for the Famara ridge run Hang Gliding in Lanzarote can be excellent.
Winter brings low pressure air with good smooth thermals creating conditions Hang Glider pilots love.
From around September to March pilots from all across Europe and the World visit Lanzarote. There are different flying sites for most wind directions for Hang Gliding in Lanzarote.
Flying Conditions in Lanzarote
Lanzarote is a dry island with rigging on dirt and gravel. Most flyers rig on the keel with the glider quartered into the wind. This way the sail does not get damaged from the abrasive gravel and dirt ground. Winds in Winter time are lower than Summer but can pick up quickly. Take offs are all hill based with plenty of landing options in most of the island.
Flying sites in Lanzarote
This is the one that everyone comes for. The Famara ridge run. It needs a North North East to a West North West wind direction. There are two take off spots. The higher take off area is called ‘Chimidas’, this is for lighter wind days as its higher. Chimidas has plenty of parking along a long track. Draw backs are that you cannot top land here due to rotor created by the ridge. The wind can switch in the rigging area so be careful rigging and walking to take off, keep the glider level. Once on take off all is easy in the right wind strength. Gaining height is easy as your in a lot of ridge lift straight away. Thermals trigger all along the take off ridge as well. Gain height and track right. Cross a small valley and get back into the ridge lift. Keep close to the ridge and go as far as the church. Once you top out above ridge height cross over to the ridge in front. If low be more to the left. Now you transition on to the proper Famara ridge behind the beach. The lift here is silky smooth with few to no thermals. Just traverse back and forth behind the beach until you reach base or get above the cliffs. Check wind direction by the windmills. If all is good continue your picturesque glide to the Northern tip of Lanzarote.
The lower take off is the preferred one in good conditions with a reasonable wind. The doom shaped take off means no rotor and good top landing. You can rig by your car and walk the thirty meters to the take off spot. Gaining height here is more tricky than the upper take off. First gain a little height from the take off ridge. Then clear take off and glide to the next wind ward slope to the right. This is a bowl that gets thermals off the left corner. If you can get a thermal and circle back, if not get as high as you can and move to the next little valley type bowl. Here thermals trigger off the inner most part of the valley. After this is a long banked type slop, there are thermals here as well especially at the end where there is a small valley before you get on the high take off ridge. You can transition low here then sweat a little as you gain height and get above the high take off spot.
Mala is flyable in North East winds. Its a nice spot overlooking Arrieta beach. Turn off the main road from Tahiche to Arrieta at the second turn to Mala, so that Mala is a sharp right behind you. Once off the main road turn left and first roundabout, go under main road, straight across next roundabout, up the track to top, left, follow to bridge, turn right and follow track for a few kilometres. You will see the parking area, then carry across the damn and set up. You can top land but is a little bumpy, if you do carry some extra speed ready for steep wind gradient. Many land at bottom or at the Arrieta beach. You get up on take off hill, get higher on left hill then find the best thermals up the valley. If cloud base is high you can go over the back and on good days land in Playa Blanca.
Works on winds between Famara and Mala. Around a NNE wind. Careful on take off. Between rigging area and take off is steep wind change. Have glider ready for winds coming from all directions until you get in position. Strong thermal on small ridge. Land at least three hundred meters behind take off or in front at bottom. Challenging spot and good fun.
Works on South East winds. Can top land. Gets bumpy. If there are cumulus forming can be exceptional. If bottom landing use fields past the school in front.
You can get up in front then work right for higher lift then if you like transfer to higher mountain back and left. From there you can work from mountain to mountain heading North.
Lanzarote Hang gliding summary
The island has a lot of good flying to offer. Be careful of the no fly zone on other side of volcanoe range from San Bartolome. Strict no fly or land area due to planes landing at airport.
Many European pilots visit Lanzarote in Winter when conditions are best and their home sites are freezing cold.
Warm atmosphere on take off and good fun flying with plenty of landing options. Take care with shifting wind directions and strengths.
If on the Famara cliffs and there is cloud forming on them be careful of deceptive cliff edge. Cloud can mask the true edge so do not drift back too far.