Pre-Cold Front

By Brian Stewart on  January 2, 2020 15:19

Pre cold-frontals

Just before the new year I headed up to Parlick to get some much needed fresh air, and maybe a bit of airtime. Walking up with Simon, he noted the wind turbines were showing an easterly direction, but we were feeling a light westerly on the hill. We arrived on the west face and Simon also noted that the clouds were moving quickly and that a cold front was approaching from the north; as could be seen from a thick band of cloud heading our way. The wind was light on the hill and Simon flew over to Fairsnape. I followed behind but had to land as it was too light. After a couple of minutes the wind picked up a little. Simon had wisely landed, after seeing increasing cloud speeds. I launched, then pushed out when I could feel the wind getting stronger, and this is when the conditions changed suddenly. I was hit by a series of gusts from all directions and wind speeds I’ve never experienced before. I looked up to see the wing tucking, pitching and rotating violently. This lasted a minute or so until at a lower altitude. As soon as I regained flight I put big big ears in and full speed bar to get as far away from the hill as possible before landing.

Analysis of the day.

What I did wrong..

After getting up in the morning, a brief look at xc weather showed light winds, but strong gusts. My thoughts where I will land if it gets strong, how bad can it get, it’s winter. That was my first mistake.

The next was that the low clouds were moving at a fair pace, but still very light on the hill, all warnings of wind shear that wasn’t registering in my head. Looking at the soundings for the area, it showed that at around midday the upper winds would veer and strengthen over a short time period. This was all forecasted surprisingly accurately, but I hadn’t bothered to check the forecasts. After some following research, I was reminded that approaching cold fronts do cause sudden change in wind direction and strength, creating severe turbulence and wind shear.

What I did right..

Hands up, allow the wing to recover, brake the dive, try to stay calm.

I thought afterwards whether I should have thrown my reserve, if low throw. Being level and close to the hill, any deployment could have been risky, hitting hard against the slope, followed by a dragging. I can only speculate on whether it was the right decision as not throwing was also risky.

Strong winds at 2k, light winds at ground level


Upper wind changes in speed and direction.


Wind shear forecast around midday


Flying in the Rain

By Brian Stewart on  November 15, 2019 16:58

Given the state of the weather, here’s a timely reminder about why flying with wet, or even damp, paragliders is a very bad idea.

PSC Christmas Do 2019

By Andy Archer on  September 28, 2019 16:27

Venue: Bistrot Pierre – Preston (back by popular demand)

Date: Sat 21st December 2019

Time: 5pm – 7pm + Drinks afterwards

Cost: £27.50 per head – (£10 deposit per person required)

Max attendees: 30 (first come first serve basis)

Christmas Menu – we will be required to complete a pre-order of the food by mid November

Please let me know if you would like to attend along with your menu choice.

I'll then send you an email back with details regarding the deposit.


PSC Safety Bulletin

By Brian Stewart on  September 10, 2019 14:41

September 2019 Changing winds - revisited


The forecast was for light winds, starting in the East and veering right around the compass through SE, S, SW to West by mid-afternoon, so where else would you go but Parlick, with an eye on the Totridge run before the wind swung too far. It turned out pretty spot on to begin with and the East bowl was fairly busy, without too much height to play with. Murph showed how it’s done with a tenacious trip across the washing machine early on to complete the run. Later as the wind went further South-East more attempted the trip and at least 3 managed it cleanly without a touch and go.

Coming back into the bowl, it would have been easy to head back to the East face take off, but for the warning signs:

· The forecast direction change

· My instrument told me the wind was SSW (I don’t trust the XCSoar wind calculation too strongly, it takes a lot of consistent circling before it makes up its mind)

· The glider field windsock

· A PG not having a good time near the crags

GJ and I headed on a direct line to the showground and enjoyed a very lifty ride; others shot up 3000’. Something was going on. 5 minutes after landing in Chipping, still more or less into a Southerly wind, the trees around us started thrashing violently from the West as the sea breeze (?) switched on. Meanwhile in the landing field there were backwards landings and blow-backs into the wrong field.

As always, awareness of the conditions is vital. Keep asking yourself what the wind is doing; how it compares with what you expected. If a sea breeze arrives at Parlick, it can catch anyone out, especially after a long period of fairly constant, benign wind speeds and directions. The sudden appearance of massive lift suggests a convergence as the two winds met – another warning sign that things are about to change.

Tight lines.