Near La Jolla in San Diego County, California — The American West (Pacific Coastal)
Torrey Pines Gliderport
To honor the spirit, ingenuity, and enthusiasm of the pioneers who flew gliders in the 1930’s at Torrey Pines, and to the future pilots who will share this gliderport and continue this tradition through all forms of motorless flight.
The Torrey Pines Gliderport, historical site no. 315, City of San Diego.
Erected 1992 by The National Soaring Museum. (Marker Number 315.)
Topics. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Air & Space • Parks & Recreational Areas • Sports.
Location. 32° 53.359′ N, 117° 15.06′ W. Marker is near La Jolla, California, in San Diego County. Marker can be reached from Torrey Pines Scenic Drive, half a mile west of Torrey Pines Road. Located near the west end of the dirt parking lot. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 2800 Torrey Pines Scenic Dr, La Jolla CA 92037, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 8 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Washington to Baltimore 1844 Telegraph Message (approx. 1.1 miles away); Torrey Pines Lodge Ellen Browning Scripps (approx. 2.2 miles away); Development of CDMA for Cellular Communications (approx. 3.2 miles away); Surfer's Memorial (approx. 5.9 miles away); Kate Olivia Sessions' Nursery Site (approx. 6 miles away); The Ballad of P.B. (approx. 6.6 miles away); Johnson-Taylor Adobe Ranch House (approx. 7.8 miles away).
Regarding Torrey Pines Gliderport. Beginning in 1930, this site was used for motorless flight. Gliders were car-towed off the beach parallel to the 350-foot cliff so they could fly in the lift created by the wind flowing up the cliffs. In 1930, Charles Lindbergh soared along the cliffs of Torrey Pines and established the first gliding distance record. In 1936, Woody Brown launched and landed on top of the cliffs for the first ‘top landing’. In the late 1930’s, Hawley Bowlus, engineer and construction supervisor of the ‘Spirit of St. Louis’, began soaring the cliffs with his own sailplane designs.
The Gliderport was instrumental in the development of the first variometer (1939), which is a sensitive instrument used to determine the rate of climb or sink. The Zanoonia sailplane, built in 1939, was the first aircraft to use spoilers
In the late 1960’s the first radio-controlled model airplanes were designed and flown at the Gliderport. In the 1970’s the first hang gliders flew over the bluffs of Torrey Pines. The Gliderport promoted paragliding during its infancy in the mid-1980’s. Today the Gliderport hosts radio-controlled model aircraft, hang gliders, and paragliders. Flying activities are from 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM every day of the year, but depend on wind conditions. For ocean viewing, the parking lot is always open.
Torrey Pines Gliderport was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1993 and expanded in 2008. It was designated an AMA Landmark Site by the Academy of Model Aeronautics in 2003.
Also see . . . Torrey Pines Gliderport. (Submitted on March 24, 2021.)
Credits. This page was last revised on August 9, 2022. It was originally submitted on March 24, 2021, by Craig Baker of Sylmar, California. This page has been viewed 605 times since then and 341 times this year. Photos: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6. submitted on March 24, 2021, by Craig Baker of Sylmar, California. • J. Makali Bruton was the editor who published this page.