Coaching Exercise - Navigation and Instruments

For those taking part in the coaching exercise on navigating with your instruments - make sure you read  and study the manual for your software/instrument. Download the two waypoint files, unzip them and install them in the correct place on your instrument. Check that you can access them. On the day you will need to assemble a task using selected waypoints, edit the size of the waypoint circles, then complete the task.

PSC Training Waypoints

Pennine Soaring Club Social Night November 2016

What a great turnout for a wild and wet November evening! 30+ hardy PSC members braved the howling wind and driving rain to hear about the scary experiences of some of the country's top pilots - shame they couldn't come but Graham, two Simons and two Phils did their best to fill in . . .

Read more: Pennine Soaring Club Social Night November 2016

RHADS Corridors – Summary

The RHADS Corridors – Summary mentioned by Pat Dower in the airspace is available to download in either Word or PDF formats.

Spring Thermals

It is now getting flyable at last!
The time has come to warn newcomers that spring thermals can be rough, and that particular care is needed when flying near to the hill on cold, clear bright days. These days are when the condition of the air favours small, fast moving thermals that can tip your glider to angles that you may not have flown at before.
Avoiding the technicalities of thermal formation and behaviour you must be aware of the following:
When a bubble of air starts to rise, a circulation is set up in its outer “skin” by the combination of friction between the rising air and the air surrounding it and convection caused by the warm thermal being cooled by contact with the cooler air around it.

In addition, as the warm air rises, cooler air descends to replace it. Thus, loosely speaking, there are three areas to concern us.

A. In the middle where the air is rising

B. Around the edges of a thermal, where the air is turbulent and where the circulation causes the net upward flow to be much less then in the core

C. Where the airflow is downwards.

So, when you fly along a radius into a thermal that is ‘out in space’ you will usually feel sink first, followed by the turbulence with some lift then the really useful up flowing air in the middle.
What happens when this thermal up the face of a hill. The shape is probably distorted as shown, and depending on the gradient of the hill, the thermal may break away from the face part way up.

In the occasional extreme case, we can have a situation as
above where the circulation at the ridge side of thermal may be augmented by downward flowing air being sucked into the bottom.
When the thermal is large, your glider may be wholly or mainly in one of the regions A, B or C with a fairly gentle transition from one to the other. When the thermals are small your glider may span all three of these regions.

If you are flying close to the ridge and you pass tangentially through a thermal, as shown above, your glider will be tipped violently towards the hill. Even if there is no down flow between the thermal and the hill, the first time you experience strong lift under one wing tipping you towards the ridge you will probably wish you had tried golf instead.

The above information has been condensed from articles by John Klunder, Bill Walmsley and Jonathan Gill.

Download article

Getting waypoints into your GPS

How to get waypoints into your GPS the easy way.

If you've got the electronic version of the Defined Tasks Coaching guide, you'll also have a GPX file of waypoints. Getting these waypoints into your GPS should be fairly straightforward, if you've got one of the popular units supported by GPSDump.

If you haven't already got GPSDump, get it now from here.

The first thing you need to do is establish communication with your device. If it's a Flytec or a Brauniger, make sure it's switched OFF, then plug it into the USB port. If it's a Garmin, make sure it's switched ON, then plug it into the USB port. Don't know about any others, but you should be able to work it out. In extreme circumstances, you might like to check the manual.

Once it's plugged in physically, it's time to see if GPSDump can see it.

Click the "Logs" menu, and select an option that mentions your instrument. If you're lucky, it will start reading logs straight away. If you're not, it will say "Connecting to GPS" and start counting down. This means it can't see your instrument. If it's plugged in and properly connected physcially, this just means it's looking in the wrong place, i.e. the wrong COM port.

To change the COM port, click the "Misc" menu, and select the top option, "Set COM port". A drop down menu will present you with some options. Pick one, and repeat the process of trying to read logs. Eventually, you should get a working connection.

Now you have a working connection with your instrument, it's time to get all 78 waypoints into your instrument in just a few seconds, with no typing in.

First, load the waypoints into GPSDump. Click "File", then "Open wpts.". Navigate to wherever you've put "Paragliding waypoints database full.gpx", and click on it. You will see the list of 78 waypoints. If you don't have a copy of the GPX file, it's available from This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Now you need to send them to your instrument. Click "Edit", then "Select All". This will select all 78 waypoints.  (If you want, you can just select a few, just the Grid Challenge waypoints, say. For now, though, select all of them.) Now click "Wpts", then "Send to..." and whichever option mentions your instrument. It should take just a few seconds to confirm that all the waypoints have been sent.

If you examine your instrument, you should now find all the waypoints are present. You may need to set the correct radii - most are the standard 400m, but some are smaller. Check the Defined Task Guide for details.

You can now set up routes using those waypoints - consult your instrument manual for details of how to set up routes. For details of what the routes are, see the Defined Task Coaching guide.

A summary of the routes is given below:


Pennine Emergency Action Card

Simon Blake has created an emergency action card we can all keep with us to help with getting help quickly in an emergency. This also contains a cut out and keep card with the OS grid references and contact details required to get the Air Ambulance on site quickly in an emergency.

View the Emergency Card (PDF)


In addition, Devon air ambulance have an app which will give you your current OS grid coordinates. iTunes / Play Store

Parafest 2013 Report

Video by Billy Maxwell

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