It’s a new season, so here’s some wise words gratefully borrowed from Wayne Smith, DSC Safety Officer.
As the weather is giving opportunities to fly again, you're probably thinking it's time to end that Winter lay-off (if you haven't already). Some safety musings before you head out to try and find somewhere remotely near Parlick to park…
· You’ve repacked your reserve, yes? Your reserve should be checked \ re-packed at regular intervals as outlined in manufacturer’s manual. In absence of this, BHPA recommends every 6 months.
· Servicing – your glider should be checked \ serviced at regular intervals as outlined in manufacturer’s manual. In absence of this, BHPA recommends every 12 months. Your harness, too – make sure the mice haven’t taken up residence in it.
· Remember your pre-flight checks
· Spring time can produce strong thermals due to cool nights and warm days.
· Be aware that turbulent air can also be caused by wind shear and marked boundary layers.
· When you arrive at the site, you’re not simply checking if the conditions are flyable – are they flyable for you? Better to be on the ground wishing you were in the air, than in the air wishing you were on the ground...
· Try to get some ground handling in after the Winter layoff. This will help re-awaken your muscle memory and get your “feel” for your glider back.
· Be prepared to help out fellow pilots – e.g. if they’ve fluffed launch and are being dragged, grab a wing-tip to get the glider under control
· We’re all fallible - give yourself and others extra space for errors on take-off.
In the air
· Pilots in contention both turn right, unless hampered by geography, in which case…
· Give way to the pilot with the ridge on their right
· Join a thermal in the direction of rotation of pilots already established in it
· Don’t turn aggressively in thermals close to the ridge
· Monitor your position over the ridge – if drifting back, be ready to use speed-bar while you still have plenty of height to get back into ridge lift
· You checked whether your landing site is affected by lambing closures before you launched, right?
· Give yourself more height than usual over the landing site – height = time & options
· When planning a top-landing, fly the ridge first to evaluate the air you will be landing in
· You’re down! It’s been an epic first flight of the season. You’re stoked. Amazing. Now clear the landing field as quickly as possible – pack up at the side to give others room to land
Usually, there will be Club Coaches on the hill – speak to them, for they’re a lonely \ lovely bunch and will be happy to offer advice and assistance
Have a great start to the season and fly safe
Tight lines, everyone