Named after the farm on which it was built, Chilhowee Gliderport was established in 1972 by visionary educator Mike Reisman. The picturesque Chilhowee ridge bordering the Cherokee National Forest runs northeast-southwest one mile east of the field; a verdant Cumberland valley lies north-south to the west with the Cumberland plateau and scenic Sequatchie valley just beyond. Chilhowee Gliderport is a treasure among southern soaring sites.
High above the Cherokee National Forest from your vantage point secure in the cockpit of a modern sailplane you can see for miles. Just below is the Hiwassee River where you can still see ancient Cherokee fish traps. Look beyond the river to an active and thriving Mennonite Farm. Acres of orderly well-maintained crops are spread out before you, and if you look closely, you can see the farmers working those fields with horse and plow. Just beyond the ridge line lies the pristine Parksville Lake and the Ocoee River gorge, and far in the distance blue ridges of the southern Appalachians are spread as far as your eyes can see.
Experience the thrill of motorless flight as you go up like a bird in a warm thermal. On some days you can fly the ridgeline at awesome speeds. Other times you can take hold of the controls with your pilot and feel what it is like to fly a glider through the various air currents that sustain free flight. These are the joys of soaring at Chilhowee Gliderport.
Take Highway 411 5 miles north of Benton, TN, between the Ocoee and Hiwasee Rivers - Chilhowee Gliderport is on the left. Look for the large signs.