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Jets and Paragliders near Chelan...

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Well-known member
Nov 30, 2002
It seemed to have quit for a while, but jets have started flying fast and low through the Columbia Gorge near Chelan again. The other day, we saw a jet fly (scream!) right near a group of paragliders that were sailing near Chelan Butte.

I know most small aircraft have transponders so TCAS can pick them up, but I was just curious if the military folks on this bbs had any thoughts or standard methods for avoiding all the paragliders. I know that even in my slooooow 172 I worry about picking up an unintended passenger when I fly in or out of Chelan.

This is, of course, in addition to all the slow traffic that flies up and down the gorge. Most weekends this summer, for example, we've enjoyed watching someone practice his floatplane takeoffs and landings on the river. I'm curious if TCAS (a) is detectable if there is minimal radar down in the gorge and (b) if you're in a jet doing 400(?) kts with mountains on both sides if you have enough time to avoid even if you detect the other plane.

I'm not, of course, suggesting that folks in fast planes quit flying through the gorge; I enjoy buzzing down the gorge at 100 kts and it must be an absolute blast at x00 kts. But every time I see one of these guys I'm concerned about them running into another plane. After the other day, I'm concerned about the paragliders as well.

So I was just wondering if there are standard procedures these guys use to avoid other things in the air and how effective those procedures are.
- I'm guessing the paragliders are operating on an MTR (military training route) identified on the sectional.
- I think they should notify the squadrons that fly those low levels that there are there, and invite the military flight safety officer from those bases to come out and experience their operation. Dialogue will save lives.
Dont really have anything to add except to ask what state you guys are talking about. I live on the east coast and this sounds like somewhere out west. Besides that just keep your eyes open. Ive gone past party balloons at over 400 kts TAS and its amazing how fast those things go past the window.

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