Safety Notes March 2019

By Brian Stewart on  March 10, 2019 16:41


“Every landing you walk away from is a good landing”. That’s the mantra we use when we’ve ****ed up the compulsory bit of the flight, telling ourselves it was OK, we survived. But that’s not good enough, is it? Aviation is a serious business and it’s vital to review any part of the flight that went wrong and learn from it. So here’s my tale of a crash that could have had much more serious consequences:

Parlick west bowl, lovely February day, wind strong enough to keep most sensible pilots on the ground well below the west bowl wall. I’d been to Tailbridge, arriving there just late enough to watch a few PGs landing backwards after some stationary moments, so after rushing  back to Parlick I was keen to fly. The wind eased a bit, a few of us took off and experienced the usual single-digit groundspeeds you get when the wind is so strong. It was smooth enough but a bit nerve-jangling so after a while, one by one people were going down and landing well below the wall. By the time I got round to penetrating forward far enough to spiral down, the wind had increased significantly. I was still climbing in full speed bar and big ears.

Now, I’m the first to admit that my landing skills aren’t the best, so I planned to make several approaches to get the timing right. Each time I turned towards the hill from 100’ lower than before, getting used to the speed of approach, the rapid climb that happened as soon as I got near the ground, and practised timing the turn across the slope, ready to touch down and kill the wing. Finally, ready to commit, I was down at 900’ AMSL (below the fence at the bottom of the hill) and lined up my approach. . . .

Hurtling over the green grass in the lower field, everything went to plan: as I got near the fence I started to climb and could see I was going to clear the fence easily, so got ready to turn. That’s when the vario stopped its happy sound. I was clear of the wall but now had no room to turn as there was a slight gully. All the brake in the world didn’t get me out of trouble, and I hit the ground. Hard. Legs, backside, bounce, legs again before the world went quiet. All well, no injuries and no damage but I was worried the wind would reinflate my glider and take me for a drag.

So, what happened? As I sat there checking myself over, the weird thing was the wind: there wasn’t any! What little there was blew DOWN the slope, so no dragging danger. I was in rotor. I need to go back and have a look at the ground, but clearly the fence, gentle undulations and hollows down there can create enough turbulence in strong winds to spoil your day. Wind creates turbulence; strong wind and gradient creates more turbulence; close to the ground it gets worse; changes in the terrain amplify this. Close to the ground we are vulnerable.

Lessons? There is no substitute for experience and practising the things we find hard. I was doing the right thing by rehearsing my landing, but failed to realise what could go wrong: the fence was limiting my options and disturbing the airflow – I had to maintain course while climbing in order to clear it, but when I lost height I was in a corner. These days of soaring in winter are ideal for practising the skills of taking off and landing. Not to self: need to do more.

Tight lines


PSC Safety Bulletin - February 2019

By Brian Stewart on  March 5, 2019 21:23

imageWhat a day! 24 Feb 2019, glorious warm spring sunshine pulled over 2 dozen members (and others – see below) onto Parlick East bowl. Once the ground warmed up, the early light winds were supplemented by some half-decent thermals. Unfortunately, most of these were chopped up and broken, possibly by some wave type effects but more so by the very obvious inversion limiting thermalling height to around 1600’ ASL. The narrow range of altitude available meant with that number of wings in the sky it was going to be crowded; throw in some sailplanes and a hang glider and the scene was set for carnage . . .

So, it’s great to be able to commend all concerned on a remarkable display of airmanship. I wasn’t aware of any conflict; rules of the air seemed to be well observed and even the low airtime pilots were able to gain experience of dealing with a crowded sky. One comment I heard concerns what to do when you are heading straight on to another glider: obviously if a collision were imminent, both turn right. However, if you can see from some distance away that you are on a collision course, the sensible course of action is to plan what you are going to do before you get close. If that plan means a slight turn to pass to one side or the other, then make that alteration early so that the other pilot can see your intentions. If you both make a slight correction (one left and one right) and are still on collision course, then I would suggest that whoever initially turned left must then make a positive turn right to clear the other. We don’t want to see the ‘pavement dance’ where each one keeps changing direction and both keep on a collision course. Well done all; it was a challenging day and it’s good to see so many PSC members out enjoying our wonderful site.

On that note, there were some strangers around. Visiting pilots are welcome, provided they are BHPA members (or for visiting pilots from overseas, carry equivalent third-party insurance from their recognised national body) and have studied the site guide. Ideally on a first visit we would like them to speak to local pilots to gain first hand and up to date info on the site and conditions. Committee members were able to speak to one or two of these, but everyone can play a part here: It is our own safety that is compromised if pilots are flying without knowledge of the site and its conditions; it risks the financial future of our families should one of them cause an accident and be uninsured; grieving families looking for someone to blame can employ a scattergun approach seeking compensation. Proving you have no liability could be expensive and highly stressful. If you see a face you don’t recognise, then a friendly approach to introduce yourself is a polite way to start a conversation about this. We want to be inclusive and try to present a friendly approach to encourage all to join our gang, but we must be clear that uninsured pilots are not welcome on our sites. Obviously, don’t get involved in any confrontation, let’s  try to get more people onside.

Tight lines.


Lasham Judicial Review on Airspace

By Carl Fairhurst on  February 28, 2019 10:30

In addition to the proposed change to the airspace around Farnborough, there is a long list of other
planned changes to the airspace in the UK which will affect both general aviation and people on the
On 5 February, Southampton Airport stated on the CAA’s website
( that it was submitting an airspace
change proposal (ACP) to expand its airspace. At an assessment meeting held at the Hilton Hotel,
Gatwick Airport on 22 January 2019, Southampton stated that new routes would overfly some new
communities, not currently regularly overflown. It also stated that there is work ongoing as part of
the airport’s master plan to consult with local communities including parish councils. The area
concerned is shown below in the diagram issued by the airport.

The proposed change to Southampton’s airspace is one of fifteen ACPs under a plan (entitled the
Future Airspace Strategy Implementation South: FASI South) that are expected for consultation in
the near future. Some of these will affect airspace below 7000ft.
We recognise that there is a need to reduce delay and to save fuel. However, it is important that any
new controlled areas are designed to be safe for all users of British airspace and to use this valuable
national resource as efficiently as possible. At present there is a risk that an uncoordinated
patchwork of airspace will be left for general aviation with numerous pinch-points that will increase
the risk of collisions. People living in previously quiet areas of the country may also be in for
As previously reported Lasham Gliding Society has been granted leave for a judicial review against
the CAA in relation to its decision to approve Farnborough Airfield’s airspace change proposal. The
hearing has now been scheduled in the High Court to commence on 5 June 2019.
Lasham Gliding Society and other aviation bodies oppose Farnborough’s proposal because it would
create an inefficient and disproportionately large amount of controlled airspace that would have a
significant and negative impact on safety, and on the Society’s operations and financial health. With
the Southampton airspace and more in the offing, winning this judicial review is more important than
ever to ensure that the needs of General Aviation are properly considered.
To help fight this case, Lasham has set up a campaign fund and asks all to contribute. Lasham would
like to thank all those who have already donated, both pilots and local residents. The target for the
fund is £100,000 and so far, £68,000 has been raised. For details click on
John McCullagh

Download the press release

Pennine Soaring Club Annual General Meeting 2019

By Carl Fairhurst on  February 17, 2019 15:51
Pennine Soaring Club Annual General Meeting 2019

Pennine Soaring Club Annual General Meeting (AGM) Minutes

11th February 2019, The Sea View Inn, Chorley


20190211_202844171_iOSPaul Hester, Club Secretary, sent his apologies prior to the AGM and requested that Jacob Cleverley represent him and take the minutes.

There were 29 attendees in total for the AGM.


The AGM of the Pennine Soaring Club was opened by Graham Jones, Chairman at 20:02.

Chairman’s Opening Statement (Graham Jones)

The Chairman expressed how much the committee have done for the success of the club in the past year, with a notable appreciation for the efforts of Jim Ashley for services to the club, and how this should be appreciated by the membership.

The Chairman concluded that he will be standing down from the role and from the committee.

Officer’s Reports


Treasurer Jim Ashley showed the attendees a comprehensive spreadsheet of the club finances from 2017 and 2018. The key figures are as follows:













The Treasurer noted that there were some abnormal costs that made the Outgoings ‘look’ worse than they actually were, and that overall the club finances were in a good state.

Donations to the North West Air Ambulance (NWAA) Charity from club events and sale of assets had gone through with Gift Aid. The Treasurer also noted that there is now an NWAA Charity shop in Longridge, and encouraged the membership to utilise it.

Membership Secretary

Membership Secretary Jim Ashley reported that in 2018 there were approximately 180 members. He highlighted that there were some members who underpaid, but upon investigation this is usually people who do not fly or participate in club activities any more but still have a direct debit running. Therefore it is not a major cause of concern. There are some people who are paying into the club account and cannot be contacted- e-mails, texts and letters have been posted with no reply.

The Membership Secretary stated that helmet stickers will not be posted to all members this year because of general lack of use by members, but there are stickers available to members upon request.

It was noted that the reduced rate of £10 for new members is adequate and the BHPA membership is very healthy. It is the best ever recorded and only three lapsed- all of which reinstated immediately upon request.

Sites Officer

20190211_202850658_iOSAndy Archer reported that it had been a good year in terms of sites. Bottles have been delivered to landowners/farmers/gamekeepers as a mark of goodwill, and they all seemed amicable of the club’s activities in the past year.

The Pendle East site is still not condoned by the club but efforts are being made to regain the site through contacts of the landowner.

The license fee for Nont Sarahs/Pule Hill has been proposed to be increased by the National Trust. This was discussed with the membership who attended the AGM an action was taken to question the National Trust on this issue. The club committee are considering whether to retain the site or serve notice on the licence as it was considered rarely used by PSC members. The club will canvas the membership and DHPC who contribute 50% towards the licence fee. The matter will be discussed at future committee meetings.

ACTION: Respond to the National Trust and determine level of usage of the sites by PSC members.

A question was raised by an attendee about the condition of the Edenfield site due to motocross bikes causing land damage- it was agreed this would be monitored. Also, the potential use of the ‘007’ site was raised and discussed- from past issues it was determined that although it shouldn’t be disregarded, it was unlikely.

Safety Officer

20190211_203322282_iOSBrian Stewart noted that 6 people took the club incentive and completed SIV courses in the past year.

There were 4 Pennine Incident Reports raised in the past year:

· A Hang Glider incident on Parlick in March

· A fast landing on Fair Snape resulting in injuries in May

· A serious head injury at Nont Sarahs in May

· A tandem accident on Parlick in August.

Brian noted there were some minor incidents that were not reported, and encouraged members to report any incidents since identifying a hazard could help pilots avoid accidents in the future.

There was one conflict with the Bowland Forest Gliding Club which was dealt with well and amicably. There was also an Airprox report raised by a Paraglider pilot due to a proximity incident with a Sailplane.

It was noted how winter conditions once again caused headaches due to ground level inversions and large wind gradients, but also noted that awareness of this utilising online forecasts with wind at altitude seems to be improving. No incidents were reported over winter.

Brian reiterated the message that Aviation is serious and Paragliding/Hang Gliding/Powered is unforgiving and not easy, with practice being absolutely key. He also emphasised the importance of caution in the upcoming Spring unstable air, and to do something about dangerous or potentially situations by speaking up to pilots or the Safety Officer.

The £50 subsidy for first time SIV members will be continued, and a First Aid course will be scheduled in due course.

Stay safe!

Chief Coach

John Murphy emphasised the importance of safety and his method of ‘staying scared’ so as to not forget the hazards when conducting flying operations.

John stated the 3 lectures for the Pilot Rating exam were well attended and a great success, with several pilots also sitting the exam.

It was reported that Coaching days have been blighted by poor weather, but still have been successful and valuable with site briefings, coach advice and ground handling sessions with attendance and awareness steadily increasing. John stated that pilots of all levels, from newly CP’d to XC seekers, can benefit from attending the coaching days. The efforts of Jim Ashley were once again noted for heading out rain or shine! John said people who want to be coached should be proactive about it to get the best results.

John also mentioned the new BHPA Pilot Development Structure and encouraged people to use it. Also, he has some foreign pilots conducting alternative entry to the BHPA and encouraged anyone who wants this/knows someone who would benefit to contact him.

Competition Secretary

Simon Blake reported the tremendous success of the BP Cup round with 4 consecutive taskable days.

Simon reported on notable PSC competition performances:

· Richard Butterworth achieved a top 10 finish in the National XCLeague table with 1015.3 points.

· Jack Pimblett achieved a top 10 World ranking in Acro paragliding.

Simon reported an increase of Pennine flights in the XCLeague and an increase of pilots entering flights from the PSC.

Simon laid out the challenge for the year involving XC flights from Edenfield- a site with minimal entries but a lot of potential. There is no declared flight from Edenfield and Simon laid out the rules for pilots to potentially set a site record.


Carl Fairhurst demonstrated the new website to the room which is a staggering improvement aesthetically and functionally- and is also more mobile friendly. Events are now shown on the homepage of the site, and encouraged members to submit any suggestions and improvements.

The option of having a PSC YouTube channel is being investigated.

Social Secretary

Andy reported that the Christmas do was excellent, well attended and more upmarket this year! Several successful club nights including Richard Carter, Jocky Sanderson and the PSC SIV candidates all delivered excellent and informative talks.


Paul Hester could not attend but Jacob Cleverly passed on his message. A constitution change was proposed whereby club members who perform at high level International competitions would have their membership fee waived, at the discretion of the committee. This was proposed, seconded and passed with no objections.

Social Media

Catherine-Anne Scott reported on the improvements made in the club social media accounts, with new additions including an Instagram account to showcase the club activities.

Power/Hang Gliding Coordinator

Simon Scott reported that he was not aware of any reported incidents. There was one Paramotor pilot who landed on Parlick, but this incident was dealt with by members on the scene.

Simon informed the membership that the Power Nationals are relatively local and take place from the 23rd to 26th August.

He stated there were no known issues at the designated power field and anyone who is interested in Paramotoring can contact him, with an emphasis on getting power training since it has different hazards to free flying.

Simon thanked Andy Archer, Sites Officer, for negotiating to get the Hang Glider landing field available at Parlick.


Tim Gridley is arranging the annual Penninefest, which is all going smoothly.

Thanks to all Committee members for their efforts during the year and contributions to the AGM.

Election of Officers

The following officers stood for re-election to the committee:

Safety Officer

Brian Stewart


Jim Ashley

Membership Secretary

Jim Ashley

Competition Secretary

Simon Blake


Carl Fairhurst

Sites Officer

Andy Archer

Chief Coach

John Murphy

Power/Hang Glider Coordinator

Simon Scott

Sub 20 Officer

Andy McLoughlin

All were Proposed, Seconded and elected unanimously.

Paul Hester and Graham Jones stood down from their positions on the committee. They were thanked for their outstanding contributions to the club. Andy McLoughlin stood down from the Social Secretary role but is still the Sub 20 Officer.

The following nominations were proposed:

Club Secretary

Jacob Cleverley

Social Media

Catherine-Anne Scott

Social Secretary

Tim Gridley


Simon Scott

All were Proposed, Seconded and elected unanimously.


Best Newcomer

Presented by Graham Jones, the best newcomer award went to Max Kirk.

Most Improved Pilot

Presented by John Murphy, the most improved pilot award went to John Westall.


Bent Upright Award

Presented by the previous holder, Simon Blake.

Honourable Mentions: Jacob Cleverley for his patriotic onesie tree landing and Sam Ashley for two incidents including landing on the road to Parlick.

The winner was Billy Maxwell, for being the only pilot to legitimately have to ask ‘Am I on fire?’ after landing- by clipping a fire-pit.


Representing the Club

Presented by Graham Jones, this award went to Paul Winterbottom.


Overseas World Class Performance

Presented by Simon Blake, this award went to Jack ‘Pimplett’ Pimblett.


The William Marshall Trophy

Presented by Brian Stewart, this award went to Graham Jones.


Best Flight

Honourable Mentions: Graham Jones for his 102km Flight from Parlick, Richard Meek for his 126.5km Flight from Fair Snape.

A special mention was raised for John Oliver’s 57km Flight from Pendle East.

Presented by Simon Blake, the winner was John Westall for a 118km Flight from Parlick- previous personal best was 31km.


Loop League Winner

The winner of the Loop League was John Murphy.


Fun Class League Winner

The winner of the Fun Class League was Paul Winterbottom.


Sport Class and Overall League Winner

The winner of the Sport and Overall League was John Murphy.


Congratulations to all award winners.


Any Other Business

Nothing to report.


The meeting was closed at 22:01, with thanks to all members that attended.


Minutes submitted by: Jacob Cleverley

Approved by: Simon Scott