Happy new year everyone, and let’s look forward to a record-breaking year of banging thermals and wide open skies. Here’s a page from BHPA to get you ready for the coming season:

And here is some wise advice shamelessly cut and pasted from Guy Richardson in the DSC page:

1: Currency – this is the biggest cause of accidents, how long is it since you flew last? Are you desperate to fly? Is the weather going to give us a quick ‘Gap’? Being rusty is very common, Even the instructors go out and do a little practice. Make the time on a dry day (HAHAHA) to get your wing out and just do an hour ground handling – one hour is far more than you’d ever do sitting on a hill. Team up with a CP Buddy from the group and have a little fun. If you’re not sure where to go then give your coach a shout….. they’re not flying either!
2: Weather: Cold systems and slightly off directions tempt us to fly on a beautiful clear day, couple this with I’m rusty and it wont be pleasant. Watch the wind speeds at height, look out for the wave effect too. As it gets warmer we also have the land starting to release energy, when it starts its violent ‘Spring Thermals’ sometimes they feel like a small bomb has gone off! Be very aware, traditionally it’s the time of year in the club where we have the most incidents.
3: Kit: bring it out of the bag and fly after 3 months not flying and it’s a recipe for disaster. Do a full wing inspection – your lines shrink slightly in storage so it affects the handling of your wing, all the more reason to stretch those lines ground handling! Check your Harness, defluff your Velcro, extract your reserve to check it and while you’re at it, repack it! You’d be amazed how many reserves repackers find incorrectly installed! Check your carabiners (5 years life span). Charge and discharge your radio, make sure you have your Time out set (TOT) – normally 30 seconds to 1 minute. Check your Helmet for cracks.
Good  - all ready….Me too! Don’t forget the repack event on 11th February and register if needed, there’s only a few places left.
I – Ilness
M- Medication
S – Stress
A – Alcohol (& Drugs)
F – Fatigue
E – Emotion / Eyesight & Observation

Will Geordie Have His Cat Aboard Today?
W – Wind and Weather
G – Glider
H – Helmet
H – Harness
C – Controls
A – All Clear
T – Turn Direction

And finally, to reprise something I wrote about a couple of years ago, take care when people are ground handling/ launching wings. Last Sunday on Winter Hill, conditions were very light, almost not soarable. People were inflating and practising near the edge, and I stood behind someone, not really thinking about the danger. The wing suddenly came down on me, and wrapped some lines around my face. The calm had suddenly become gusty and the wing thrashed around but luckily I had my hand between my face and the lines, so nothing more than a surface scratch. But, the lessons here:

  1. Don’t stand behind people launching or ground handling – if it goes wrong, it’s only going to go one way, into you
  2. When you’re ground handling or launching, be aware of spectators who may stand in the wrong place and put themselves in danger – gently point out the problem to them

I know better, and still got caught out.

Tight lines