Santa Barbara Airport Airspace
Flight Clearance Requirements
Submitted by Rob Sporrer 4/2010
Santa Barbara Tower/TRACON has verbally agreed to permit flight within it's
airspace based on the conditions and limitations set forth in the following
verbal agreement. See also the file submitted for posting in [PDF]
or [MS Word] dated 4/2010
- A telephone request seeking approval notification must be made prior to
any foot launched flight at any of the Local Mountain or coastal flying sites
where you will potentially fly in the SBA Airspace. You are not permitted to
land at the T, or fly More Mesa or Wilcox unless the respective mountain and
beach windows have been opened.
- We must open the beach window every time we fly both the Wilcox and More
Mesa. This was the request made by Santa Barbara Tower/TRACON.
- We have become accustomed to opening the mountain window only when we fly
from the Alternator or La Cumbre Peak area. Pilots should open the mountain
window if there is any chance of heading west towards West Bowl from the
Eliminator and Skyport, and EJ Bowl. There is always the possibility of
sinking out and having to land at the T. Landing at the T without opening the
mountain window jeopardizes our agreement and the future of mountain flying
- When a telephone request is approved Santa Barbara Tower/TRACON will
announce on the Santa Barbara ATIS that flying activity will continue until
sunset. Pilots shall notify the Santa Barbara Tower/TRACON if flight
operations have terminated ONLY when they are certain all Hang Gliding and
Paragliding flight operations have commenced at the mountain or beach
locations, and ONLY if flight operations terminate more than 2 hours before
- The SBSA BOD is recommending pilots avoid making flights from the
mountains to Elings Flight Park. The flight to the training hill from the
mountains stresses out the Santa Barbara Tower/TRACON. The tower has been
observing the flights to the training hill from the mountains and has rerouted
traffic on a number of occasions.
The flight from the mountains to the training hill at Elings Park is likely
where we are going to get reported by private and commercial pilots. This is
the one flight where the tower actually sees us very clearly, and we look a
great deal closer to the restricted air space than we actually are when
gliding to the training hill from the mountains.
The SBSA BOD concluded there is no good reason to fly to the training hill
from the mountains and risk losing our flying privileges. Itís difficult for
most paragliders to make the glide to the training hill without violating air
space. Hang Gliders and Paragliders must be at or below 1500 MSL when arriving
at the 101 freeway. This is only a recommendation, but the instructors and
leaders in the community have agreed to stop flying to the training hill from
the mountains in order to ensure the best possible chances for keeping all the
flying sites and landing zones used on a more frequent basis. We can decide as
a group if we wish to determine a day when it is agreeable for pilots to fly
to the training hill. Pilots must be certain they can get to the training hill
without violating air space for events like the New Years day Fly-in. Again,
this is a recommendation not a rule.
- Any pilot wanting a telephone request to open the airspace should contact
any of the guides on the SBSA home page. The guides will call the tower
seeking an approval notification for flight operations in the beach or
mountain windows. Pilots should first check 132.650 on the two meter radio
band or call Santa Barbara ATIS at 805.967.0283 in order to determine if an
approval notification has already been granted by listening to the ATIS
recording in its entirety. The ATIS transmission on 132.650 may not be as
clear when you are in town, but you will get a good signal as you head up the
To summarizeÖ.We need to call the tower and request approval notification
every time we fly any of our coastal sites, and must open the mountain window
anytime there is a possibility of entering the SBA air space. We should always
first check 132.650 on the two meter radio band or call Santa Barbara ATIS
before making a request to determine if an approval has already been given.
We need to realize flying to the training hill from the mountains has
potential to stress the Santa Barbara Tower/TRACON, and the club is recommending
we stop flying to the training hill from the mountains. The only time we will
attempt this flight is during a club event like the New Years Day Fly-in. We
also recommend not flying to the east of launch where the residences begin at
Wilcox. The SBSA BOD decided itís not worth having neighbors complain and create
noise. We agreed what we are enjoying at present at Wilcox is good enough. The
cup is half full, and may even be spilling over.
We also need to be aware of how sensitive property owners are at Hope Ranch.
We need to follow the previous protocol we developed for flying in this area. We
need to give them as much space as possible, and we are not to engage any person
on the properties along the cliff. Please avoid flying in an area where you see
a person on any property has become agitated.
We do not need to call the Santa Barbara Tower/TRACON to close flight
operations unless we are 100% certain all flying has terminated, and only if
these operations have terminated more than 2 hours before sunset.
We need to be aware of the airspace borders and altitudes. When special
events for flying to Elings Park occur we do not fly west of Las Positas, and be
no higher than 1500 feet when crossing the 101 freeway. This is the one flight
where we are very visible to both the tower and other air traffic which puts
undue stress on the people working in the tower.
The Google Maps below help show the areas where we can and canít fly if we
want to continue to enjoy our flying privileges, and keep all the aircraft using
the Santa Barbara airspace as safe as possible.
The above image illustrates the residential area to the west of more mesa as
our flight boundary to the west. All USHPA rated pilots may fly in the main
window and only pilots with at least an H3 or P3 rating can fly east of the
eucalyptus trees which are just east of the launch area. Pilots flying east
of launch along the hope ranch area must follow the established protocol.
We are not to engage any person on the residential properties along the
cliff in any manner, and are advised to avoid flying in areas where
residents are agitated.
ELINGS FLIGHT PARK
The above image illustrates the no fly zone with Las Positas defining the
west edge of our usable air space.
The SBSA Board of Directors has
made the recommendation to stop flying from the mountains to the training
hill at this point. However, we can decide to contact the Santa Barbara
Tower/TRACON and open the mountain and beach windows if we wish to make this
flight for club events like the annual New Years Day Fly-in. We want you to
be aware of the air space issues when making this flight for a special club
event. The above image illustrates a larger scale shot from Google Earth of
the flight from the mountains to the training hill at Elings Flight Park.
The red line defines the west edge of our usable airspace, and the white
line indicates the direct flight path from the top of West Bowl to the
launch area at Elings Flight Park. The 101 Freeway is located just south of
the Santa Barbara Municipal Golf Course, and we must be no higher than 1500
feet when we reach the 101 Freeway.