PSC Safety Bulletin
August 2019 BOLO
BOLO: Be On Look Out for . . . apparently I read too many crime thrillers. Earlier this week a few of us encountered an endangered species on Parlick East. These creatures aren’t threatened by the environment, or global warming, or country leaders with mad hair; no, they are undone by their own actions. This one displayed many of the common features of the hapless creatures: standing off to one side, no eye-contact with anyone else, holding bits of kit in his hand wondering what it did – you know the look. No helmet, a climbing harness and just a T-shirt completed the picture.
I cautiously approached, ready to run and hide behind Paul if I aroused the threat response for which these specimens are renowned. This one turned out to be most polite and courteous, phew! Some careful questioning produced the following: Where did you get the wing? Ebay. What is it? No idea. Age? Dunno. Size? Does it matter? BHPA? What’s that? Lessons? Watched YouTube.
I had a long chat with him, as did several others at different times during the afternoon. To be fair to him, he seemed to be a pleasant, decent bloke who would be good company over a pint in the Sun. He listened to what we had to say about the benefits of learning properly, BHPA insurance etc. but still insisted he was going to take off. We all advised him not to, explained that we could not offer any guidance without putting ourselves at risk, legally, and left him to it.
Luckily for him, he never even looked like getting launched, despite his claim to have spent ‘every day’ ground handling and flying in Tenerife. The wing must have been 15 years old, probably so far out of trim as to be unflyable. Speaking to him later, it seemed like our advice had penetrated, and he would ‘think about’ what we said.
Sadly, this is becoming a common occurrence all over the place. A recent article in Skywings spelled out the pitfalls of a lack of insurance, so no point in going over them here – I am preaching to the converted after all. (Yes?). I hope the combined effect of several pilots speaking to him in reasonable tones about his unreasonable actions might just have sowed some seeds of doubt in his mind. Perhaps we can all keep a lookout for these unfortunate people, and with the right approach keep them from harm. As well as keeping ourselves safe.