Ed Levin is open to pilots of all levels (From students to H/P 5) according to the criteria described in the Ed Levin Site Procedures document. There are significant requirements to fly Ed Levin including waivers and specific rating and experience requirements for each launch, so be certain you are familiar with these procedures and meet all requirements before attempting to fly here. Ed Levin Park is located in Milpitas, CA
COVID Related Changes
Ed Levin Open to Free Flight – With additional restrictions
The Santa Clara County parks department is allowing free-flight at Ed Levin, under some new rules and regulations. Any additional rules put forth by the State of California and Santa Clara County Public Health Department also apply, and so do the standard WOR Ed Levin site procedures. Pilots, you may now fly at Ed Levin under these new rules:
- Flying is allowed 7 days a week.
- When carpooling to any launch areas (including retrieves), pilots must be from the same household and be ready to provide valid ID with matching addresses.
- Training and schools not allowed. Instruction in any form is not permitted. (Unless your instructor/school has their own agreement in place with SCCPD)
- Tandem flights are permitted only between members of a household.
- No more than 12 pilots are permitted in the launch or landing zone at any given time. This should be managed on a first-come first-served basis.
- Pilots must always have masks with them, and are encouraged to use them when near other park users.
- Pilots must always maintain a 6-foot distance from all park users not from the same household.
- Use of shared equipment is not allowed.
- Please fill out and carry the SCCPD waiver with you.
We’re disappointed that the restrictions don’t allow for instruction.
To fly at Ed Levin, you must:
- Be a member of USHPA
- Be under the guidance of an instructor, or have the appropriate rating and experience requirements per the site procedures
- Sign the WOR Ed Levin Waiver
- Sign the SCCPD Ed Levin Waiver (see note below about mailing this is to the parks. It’s recommended to print out a 2nd copy, filled in, and carry it with you)
Please refer to the Ed Levin Site Procedures for full details. An abbreviated synopsis:
300′ Launch: P2/H2
600′ Launch: H4/P3 or H2/H3/P2 + 3 flights from at least 300′ + site intro and first flight with a member of the Site Introduction Team
1750′ Launch: P3/H3 or P2/H2 + 4 flights from at least 500′ + site intro and first flight with a member of the Site Introduction Team
All drivers and spectators who enter the permit area must sign the Ed Levin Waiver
Since 2018, the Santa Clara county parks department, the authority regulating Ed Levin park, has required WOR members to sign an additional parks waiver before flying Ed Levin. The signed waiver must be mailed to the address below. You will be sent a sticker by mail that must be displayed on your helmet as proof of signing the parks waiver. Note that WOR does not require or enforce the parks waiver/sticker – it is up to the parks office and the rangers.
Email the completed Waiver to: [email protected]
SCC Park Permits
Santa Clara County Parks
298 Garden Hill Drive
Los Gatos, CA 95032
- Launch Characteristics
- Landing Zone
- Emergency Procedures
- Visiting Pilots
- Gate Lock Combinations
- Tandem Flights
All of the launches at Ed Levin are grassy slopes. Most have an excellent angle for encouraging great launches. There are no trees or other obstructions at launch, nor are there any significant upwind obstacles to create nasty rotors when launching into recommended wind directions. Caution is required when launching from the back side of the 1750 foot launch. Conditions which make this launch useable often also place the LZ in rotor. When doing a backside launch, you should head towards the LZ immediately, as you can get trapped on the back side and not make the gap leading to the LZ. You should think twice before using any launch when the wind talker is indicating eastern winds. Even if the flags on the 300 and 600 foot hills appear to be favorable, it’s often actually the rotor from the top of the ridge curling around and blowing back up the slope. In these conditions, launching might be uneventful, but you may find yourself in significant sink as you fly away from the hill, and have a tenious glide all the way to the landing zone. The 40, 50, and 60 foot training launches have a fairly shallow slope, and require aggressive takeoff runs.
|Launch Altitude in Feet AGL||Best Wind Direction||Ideal Wind Speed||Glide Ratio to LZ|
Landing Zone Characteristics
There is a single LZ at Ed Levin used by all launches. It is a very large grassy field, with trees defining the southern and eastern boundaries in sort of a tipped over “L” shape. If the wind is anything between 90 and 270 degrees, you should take care to stay far enough back of the trees trees to avoid any rotor. The most common direction in the LZ is WNW, but it does vary, especially when fronts are passing through. One of the attractive features of Ed Levin for the newer pilot is that since all launches use the same LZ, for a given wind condition the same landing approach can be used for any of the launches at 300 feet or above. For example, one can fly from the 1750 foot launch arriving over the LZ and burning off altitude until he is just above the 600 foot hill. Then he can fly the same approach last used from the 600 foot hill given similar conditions. As always though, be aware of current conditions and don’t count on everything being the same as your last flight.
|LZ Altitude in Feet MSL||Best Wind Direction|
First-aid equipment is available in a lockbox in the landing zone, 20ft North of the vehicle entrance gate. Locate the lockbox and learn the combination before flying Ed Levin. There is a pay phone in the LZ which can be used for emergencies. Calls to 911 do not require any payment. Please also print and review the EL Emergency Procedures document.
Flying Ed Levin as a visiting pilot is somewhat challenging due to our high level of regulation and oversight. Included in this is the requirement to have helmet stickers appropriate for you skill level, multiple waivers filed with the club and county parks, and significant restrictions on the use of launches for Novice pilots (H2/P2).
You can not fly unless accompanied by a current WOR member.
Road & Weather Information
Road Information for Ed Levin Park
408-355-2200, then menu 4, then menu 6
Best soaring conditions
Ed Levin is usually soarable from the top launches in pre-frontal conditions. Post-frontal generally can’t be done because the road to the top is closed when wet. For the same reason, timing your pre-frontal flights can be challenging. More than one pilot has had to leave their vehicle on top until the road was dry enough to pass, sometimes several days. Ed Levin is not generally thermal soarable in the summer due to an omnipresent inversion, but some of the best pilots seem to be able to break through the inversion or get long flights below it. Legend has it that on perfect days, some pilots have launched the 600 foot hill and managed to work their way up the ridges and over the top.
It’s beyond the scope of this website to provide you with a comprehensive list of weather resources, but the list below might prove helpful:
Gate / Lock Combinations
Combinations are printed on Membership Cards and changed February of every year. The combination can only be shared with active WOR members and drivers who have signed the Ed Levin Waiver.
ALL individuals (spectators, drivers, etc.) who ride in a car past the gate must sign an Ed Levin Waiver. Completed waivers should be placed in the Lockbox. Pilots must inform drivers of Site Procedures.
Anyone who gives a pilot a lift up the hill must first confirm (before heading up) that the pilot has the requirements for the launch to be used.
Please refer to the Site Procedures for requirements.
Tandem flights at Ed Levin are permitted only by a pilot who has:
- a current USHPA membership card on their person showing an appropriate Tandem rating or Tandem Instructor appointment
- and a current WOR membership card on their person.
Unless a tandem student has proof of WOR membership, the tandem pilot must have the tandem student
- Register on this website as a student pilot
- From their My Account page, complete the Ed Levin Park Waiver
- Alternatively, fill out a hard copy of the Ed Levin Waiver and place the completed registration form and waiver in the Tandem students folder in the Ed Levin landing zone lock box before the tandem student enters the flying site.
All tandem students must have a USHPA rating or be issued a USHPA temporary membership. A tandem student must not enter the Ed Levin flying site without a USHPA card obtained in one of the two ways listed above.