Ft Funston from the Air

Ft. Funston is one of the easiest sites in California to fly from. Centrally located in the SF Bay Area, it sits right off Highway 1 just south of Ocean Beach in Daly City. Launch is 180'. A viewing deck allows a beautiful panaromic view for visitors. The set up area is right behind the viewing deck, which is surrounded by a thick bush 10' high, so the setup area is normally out of the wind. The landing area is right behind the launch area - quite large and covered with soft iceplant.

Normal flights range in altitude from 200-500' above launch and you can fly N abt 1/2 mi (up to Ocean Beach) and S down to Westlake, where the ridge climbs up to 700', abt 2-1/2 mi away. On better days you can also fly furthur S down low, sometimes down to the Pacifica pier. But the truly awesome days are sheer days, when you can get over 1000' (sometimes as high as 3000') and can fly S to Devil's Slide, where the ridge climbs back up to 1100', then fly S to the Half Moon Bay Airport (total distance abt 27 mi). The truly select few have made the coveted down and back - flying in a sheer down to Devil's Slide - then fly back upwind to Funston! Very difficult - requires just the right conditions. I've only done it once! And I think it's only been done about 4 times total by all the pilots in the area. Normally on sheer days the wind is strong and from the NW, altho on rare exceptions it can come from the SW. I once had a singularly unusual flight where a wave formed out over the water at Westlake, allowing me to climb to 1500' and travel 1 mi out over the water in winds from the WSW, hovering over pods of whales!

Here are some pix from one of the highest altitude sheer's I got into in March 1999.

Sheer 3/99

So here are some particularly spectacular pix from a selection of flights.

Just S of Ft. Funston looking S - view of Westlake at about 1300' - clouds at 1100'

NE of Ft. Funston - inland in sheer abt 1/2 mi looking NE over the Lake. View of downtown SF over the ridge. About 1300' MSL

Same location as first pic, but at 2000' MSL. SF Airport is top center by the water to the right of San Bruno Mt.

NNE of Ft. Funston, abt 1 mi inland. Golden Gate Park is strip running left to right center in middle. Golden Gate Bridge top left center. Nice view of downtown SF. About 2200' MSL!

Westlake view before they rebuilt the gap from about 1200' MSL. Hang gliders and a paraglider in view.

A few of the lucky to be there the day of the sheer where the above SF shots where taken. That's my wing in the background. From left, Ted, Robin, Fred, me, Chester, and George. Of course I have the big *&^(&^ eating grin.

Ok, now for the truly unbelievable.

Just to the left of the hang glider note the water spoutcoming down out of the cloud - mist around cone in the middle, and mist and cone rising up from the water. Oh yeh! Sadly, I ran out of film before the water spout got REALLY well formed. Range is probably abt 3/4 mi out. It lasted about 1/2 hr and progressed down to in front of Westlake before dissipating. Taken from land. I'm not THAT crazy.