Sequatchie Badge & Record Camp

Marion County Airport maintains a NO Camping Policy.

Marion County Airport (KAPT) is located near the southern end of the Sequatchie Valley, about 3 miles east of the small town of Jasper, and 5 miles north of Tennessee’s border with Alabama and Georgia. The airfield is at 641’ MSL and has a single paved runway 3500’ long x 75’ wide, oriented 04-22. This is bordered by runway lights that can pose a hazard to inattentive pilots.
A grass strip lies parallel to and just northwest of the paved runway for its full length. Provided the ground is dry, this is often used by towplanes, and is acceptable for glider landings. In addition, the grass strip southeast of the pavement at the northeast end of the field, though short, is acceptable. (Pilots using the grass must take note of VASI lights at each end of the field.)
Winds can be an issue: Because the runway is aligned with the valley, winds that make ridges work can produce tricky crosswinds and possibly rotor for takeoffs and landings. You should be sharp on crosswind landings and plan to carry enough energy (airspeed + altitude) to cope with gusts, turbulence and unexpected sink.

The airport has a large hangar/office building that includes bathrooms and a pilot lounge area. Glider pilots are welcome to use this (including Internet service that’s usually available), but should take care to behave as polite guests and avoid giving the impression of “taking over” the facilities.

A ramp area lies south of the hangar/office building. Glider trailers can be parked along the north and south edges of this – they should be kept as far off the pavement as is practical, and must be positioned close to each other in order to make room for all. Care and cooperation will be required to make parking, assembly and disassembly go smoothly. The center of this ramp is reserved for powered aircraft, and glider pilots are expected to do their best to minimize disruption to the operation of these. Please take particular care never to block access to the fuel pumps (located between the hangar/office and the ramp area).
Marion County airport is not especially busy, but does average around 20 operations a day. It is home to some active ultralight pilots and a sport parachuting operation. On days when parachuting operations are expected, do not fly until you have read and understand the discussion of this in Appendix D.


Both launch directions are common. To minimize impact on regular airport users, it is essential that gliders preparing for launch be kept well clear of the runway until shortly before launch – the goal is to block the runway for the shortest time possible.

To accomplish this, pilots should complete most of their pre-launch checks well ahead of their turn to launch. When that turn comes, helpers should push the glider onto the pavement, ideally with the pilot strapped in and fully ready for flight with the exception of towrope hookup and (possibly) closing the canopy. The towplane will taxi into position with the expectation that the pilot will be ready to launch as soon as the towrope is attached. A wing runner must be in position and ready.

Using Runway 04, gliders are moved down the taxiway (using care to avoid obstacles) and staged on the grass near the end of the runway. For launches on Runway 22, gliders are normally staged on the grass near the northernmost intersection of the taxiway and runway; this implies starting the takeoff roll 1000’ from the end of the runway, but under normal conditions a takeoff from this point works well.


Rising ground both east and west makes this field tricky to spot when you’re not aligned with the runway. You should learn to recognize Bennett Lake (the dammed section of the Tennessee River 2.5 miles east of the field) and the high ground just west of it that disclose the airport’s location from a long way off.
Glider landing patterns are normally flown west of the field: a left pattern for Runway 04 and a right pattern for Runway 22. All returning pilots are expected to monitor the CTAF (122.8 MHz) within 5 miles of home – you’ll need to stay aware of other traffic (including parachutists – see Appendix D).
Plan to arrive with sufficient altitude (1000’ AGL / 1640’ MSL is a sensible target) for a normal pattern, to make standard pattern radio calls, to cooperate with other traffic, to roll to a safe stop under good control (watch those runway lights!), and to clear the runway as soon as practical. This last will require help, which glider pilots on the ground are expected to offer without being asked.

It’s important to note that in normal ridge-wind conditions the closest soarable part of the Walden ridge – Inman Point – is about 5 miles from the airport. This is a well-shaped high section of ridge; but with an elevation around 2000’, it takes a glide ratio around 50:1 to arrive home at a comfortable pattern altitude. So a safe return usually involves some thermal help.

Common problems for glider pilots flying at KAPT:
  • Not being ready to launch when the time comes, thus blocking the runway for an excessive time. 
  • Returning for a landing without enough altitude to allow time for the runway to clear, and to safely mix with other traffic. 
  • Failure to fully plan the pattern, touchdown and rollout, thus stopping in a place from which it’s hard to clear the runway promptly. 
  • Failure to consider landing options (e.g. stop short, land long, land in the grass) to deal with a temporarily crowded airfield.
  • Failure to understand the details of sport parachuting operations (as presented in Appendix D).
  • When inbound for landing, monitor CTAF (122.8) when 5 miles from the field to learn the current status of traffic at and near the field. Plan your pattern entry to fit with other traffic.
  • Fly all patterns west of the runway.
  • On final, plan your touchdown and rollout so that you stay on the runway centerline (thus avoiding the runway lights) and stop at a place from which it’s easy to clear the runway (taxiways).