Signal Hill

Take-off

  • Sports-rated (advanced site) above the City of Cape Town for sea-breeze soaring with some light thermals. Easy slope launch.
  • Advanced pilots only because wind gradient can increase rapidly and there are no landing options if blown over.
  • Also, landing if not on top can be difficult due to flying over buildings. DO NOT FLY unless suitably rated and accompanied by experienced local pilot.
  • ‘The Point’: for NW winds, drive all the way to the end of the road, and park in the large tarred car park. The launch is on the grassed picnic area just to the left of the car park or any suitable area below the chains just before the car park. 
  • ‘The Bench’ is 1km S along the ridge, and is more suited to W winds. It is accessible from the tar road via a little gravel turnoff and car park. The lay out area is behind the scenic bench.

Landing

  • Landing is in Sea Point at the Promenade across the road from the Winchester Mansions Hotel. A permanent windsock is installed in the middle of the field.
  • No top-landing

Weather

  • Rapid shift in wind strength and wind gradient often without visibly warning on sea. This site has caught-out experienced pilots many times. It looks safe; do not be fooled into flying here before you are Sport licensed. 
  • Conditions are usually prefrontal when you fly Signal Hill, so beware of strong wind-gradient and rapid wind increase.
  • There is nowhere to run to should the wind increase. 
  • Avoid flying in Berg (NE) conditions, or soon after the wind has swung from NE to NW. The bergish air does not dissipate immediately, so for this reason be wary of particularly gusty NW winds.
  • Slope landing becomes more difficult the lower you get. The best place is in the venturi on the N corner, where your groundspeed will be less.
  • Gliding out too low or against an unexpected headwind to land at Green Point can mean a forced landing amongst buildings. There is sometimes a strong, turbulent S blowing below 100m, creating shear turbulence. Check the flags at the Liquor Store on the main road slightly to the right of your approach path. If the wind is from the left at the Bench, it is SW, and will be very turbulent and not much fun.Hang-gliders: ‘White horses’ on the sea?
  • Don’t land at Green Point common, because the rotor from the flat blocks can be nasty. Run on to Lion’s Head and go to the far end of Camps Bay beach.
  • Beware of muggers on the mountain

Rules

  • Sports-rated pilots only
  • Airspace ceiling at 1200m
  • No top-landing

Access

Drive up Kloof Nek Road. Drive past Lion’s Head towards Signal hill lookout point. Halfway along there is an entrance to the left (after the Muslim Kramat). Walk to left and takeoff facing sea. Second takeoff at lookout point, on grass to left of boardwalk.

Comments

The ideal Sunday afternoon soaring site. A long ridge that is the body of the animal that forms Lion’s Head. Signal Hill forms a smoothly sloped obstruction to the north-westerly wind. The lift band is usually wide but not too high, peppered with the odd thermal. Hang gliders tap into the real magic of Signal Hill when the wind is really strong, soaring high in the laminar flow.

If it’s too light here, go to Sir Lowry’s Pass.

If it is too strong at Sir Lowry’s Pass, come back here.

Contact

  • Glen Paragliding Club
  • Overberg PG Club

Permission

None needed, but pilots must be in possession of a SANParks Wild Card (covers all sites in Cape Peninsula Park).