HHSC is first and foremost, a community of soaring pilots who share their passion for soaring with each other but also the general public, who ride with us on sightseeing flights. As such, we function as ambassadors for our region. The majority of sightseeing rides that we fly are passengers from more than an hour away and many are visiting the region for the first time. They come out to ride, or accompany someone who is flying, spend a bit of time with us and then head out to see what else there is in our beautiful region.
It’s really our fault – we’ve loved it literally to death. The current center, built in 1988, was the first flight center on Harris Hill. We sell passenger tickets here, hold meetings, training, picnics, and more in it. After 28 years, the flight center is showing the effects of continuous use, wind, and weather atop the Hill.
The roof, still original, is missing shingles, the building structure is not adequately braced for the roaring winds we frequently encounter, causing it to shimmy and popping ceiling tiles out of their frames giving the interior the appearance of a recent earthquake.
Harris Hill flies more than 4,000 passengers per year and many more accompany them to watch the gliders and enjoy the beauty of the Hill. The majority of our visitors (about 80%) come from more than an hour’s drive away and include Harris Hill as part of their tourist activities. A worn out flight center without handicapped accessible bathrooms and a tired building are no way to greet them.
We’ll strip it down to the bare structure and redo it properly, pushing the South wall out about 10 feet, giving us room for accessible bathrooms, and wrapping the deck -a very popular viewing spot, around the building. We’ll add a metal roof and a cupola that will vault the ceiling and bring the sky inside, while strengthening the structure with steel pillars to stop the shimmy during high winds. We’ll bring even more light in by installing modern windows. And, of course, we’ll update our old kitchen with new appliances, a more open island plan and modern countertops to replace the linoleum floor and chipped formica.