La Luz, NM 32.971658° -105.917189° 5,856' MSL 1,100' AGL
Rated H/P3 or H/P2 with an USHPA instructor present.
There are mutiple launches. The NW launch is ideal for HG but bad for PG . Min Glide Ratio 6.2
West Launch - Min Glide Ratio 6.2
SW Launch - MinGlide Ratio 6.2
La Luz is primarily an HG site. If Dry Canyon is not flyable then we recommend that PG pilots stay on the ground. Several PG pilots have been injured or frightened at La Luz. The RGSA does not recommend La Luz as a PG flying site. PG pilots should be aware that the launch areas were pioneered by HG pilots and are not necessarily that good for PG per having a clean layout area, lack of rotor behind launch near the ground, and a long run area.
The various launches at La Luz are launchable with southwesterly to northerly winds.
Directions to Launch
Access is via Mill Ridge road, a very rough 4x4 road off of Highway 82. It connects with Highway 82 at the runaway truck ramp here: 32.95289176579258, -105.8910399761036 . Follow the road to the top of the ridge. There
are (3) launch areas that favor a particular wind direction. Choose
the one that has the air coming in the straightest.
View from the NW launch. This launch is flat slightly shadowed by the cliff face, inflating the wing is a challenge and requires either a cobra technique or two assistants to hold the leading edge of the wing high above the ground.
Hangies setting up for the NW launch, Truck is Robin Hastings trusty Tacoma that he wore out driving pilots to Dry and La Luz for 15 years.
The primary LZ is an enormous field off to the west. A sled run is typically 5 minutes in duration, but soaring flights do occur. Directions to the LZ: From Hwy 70/54 go on Hwy 82 east towards Cloudcroft. Take a left at the blinking lights that mark Florida Avenue, and go north about a mile or so to Valley View Drive, about 100 yards before you reach the trees of the village. Go right about ¼ mile to where you can look over the barbed wire into the huge open field. Don’t drive into the field, though – it’s private property. Hazards: There is a power line running from northeast to southwest across the east edge of the field.
La Luz launch and access roads are either USFS or BLM with no restrictions. We are uncertain of the ownership of the LZ but it is used by ATV's and motorcycles and we have never been challenged by the landowner.
Winds and Conditions
La Luz is typically flown when winds are NW to N, because if winds are from the S to W, Dry Canyon will work and it is so much better.
When winds are northwest or west, the area of max lift was not the north spine but was the south spine. The sink over the canyon between the two spines was severe – as we would expect. Elevation profiles of the PG track below clearly showed the lift patterns of the spines – the south was much more robust.
Additional Info and Hazards
In thermic conditions the LZ is a dangerous place for PG, and serious injuries have occurred. That having been said, La Luz has yielded many great flights for HG and PG alike over the years. Choose conditions carefully.