Free Flight and Spectators

By Brian Stewart on  April 21, 2019 08:46

PSC Safety Bulletin

April 2019 - Supplement


An incident with potentially serious consequences in Derbyshire reminds us of the need to take extra care when there are spectators watching. On holiday weekends with loads of pilots and members of the public around, there is a real risk of serious injury.

Without going into detail, a small boy was injured by a landing paraglider and taken to hospital – fortunately it seems the line burns were not serious.

Please take care around spectators; because they see no spinning props, no hot exhaust, no hard metal tubes, it all seems a safe as a bag of washing. We know the hazards: please ensure that members of the public are not put in danger. Suggest where they could get a better view and be safer. The consequences of a serious injury to a bystander don’t bear thinking about and would be awful for all concerned.

Safety Notice Quick-Out Carabiner

By Carl Fairhurst on  April 3, 2019 19:56

Issued by Angus Pinkerton Chairman of the Flying & Safety Committee 1st April 2019.
All pilots, Instructors, Coaches and Safety Officers must READ, DIGEST AND TAKE ACTION on the contents of this
Notice and keep it for future reference.
If you hold a copy of the BHPA Technical Manual this notice must be inserted into it and retained until it is
withdrawn or superseded on instructions from the Chairman FSC.

When setting up the production of the Quick-Out release buttons in January 2015, about 20 release
buttons of one side were produced incorrectly. Some of these release buttons were accidentally
mounted and at least one such faulty Quick-Out carabiner was put into circulation. The error
eliminates one of the 4 security levels: To open the carabiner, it is sufficient to press only the
release button instead of pressing both release buttons simultaneously.
At the final inspection, every single Quick-Out carabiner undergoes a load test of 2,000 DaN.
However, the error was not noticeable, since the stress test is also passed with only one release
button intact.
If the Quick-Out is operated in accordance with the current version of our operating instructions,
which are available for download on our homepage, the error will be noticed immediately. There it
described that the insert of the Quick-Out must click into place by strongly pressing it down
pressing the release buttons simultaneously). A faulty release button prevents this.
We urge all Quick-Out users to check the carabiners before the next use.
We have introduced additional testing procedures for the final inspection of the Quick-Out
carabiners to reliably prevent such errors in the future.
Link to download the operating instructions:
The picture on the right shows a Quick-Out carabiner with a faulty mounted release button:


Finsterwalder GmbH • Pagodenburgstr.8 • D-81247 Munich
Phone: +49 89 8116528 • Mail: •

Beware of the gulley!

By Barry Sayer on  March 26, 2019 14:59

Lesson of the day,,,, beware of the gulley! (all the gulleys).

Saturday 23rd March.

All forecasts for Parlick looked promising, so I arrived at the hill 9.00am sharp grabbing a vip parking spot right next to the gate and off I went.

After the usual slog up the hill myself and a couple of other pilots sheltered behind the wall on the west face, talking parabollocks and waiting for the wind to drop slightly, which it did 30mins later.

Everyone did the usual set up and launch into nice smooth conditions around 10.30ish.

I'd set my self a bit of a goal to get to Fairsnpe so off I puteled on my own scraping round the bowl at ridge height, not great in a wnw and with not much height, as soon as I got onto the corner quite low I anticipated a struggle to regain altitude.

Making it around the corner of Fairsnpe I was low, the wall was getting closer so I figured the best option would be slope land, walk up and re-launch again. I then make a speedy dash back to the safety of Parlick. All went well except for the 15 minutes wasted walking the rather steep rocky hill to get to a grassy patch for take-off.


Landing back at the Parlick west just below the wall was predictable and easy, had a chat, drink, chill, then set up and off again for more flying fun.

Had a nice boat about chasing gulls, got a few thermals and then decided to go for another slope landing in the same spot.

I knew I'd ****ed up on the approach. The wind had picked up slightly, plus it had a bit more north in it of a few extra degrees. I had lost my height out front to scoop in off that wsw shoulder to the usual launch /landing area. On the down wind leg of the approach I left it far to late to break left and had drifted to far south

I went to far round the corner, hit massive sink, and the increased wind speed that funnels round the hill reduced my forward speed to a snails pace. Going down I glanced over my right shoulder realising how close I was to one of the many large gulleys, this is not the place I wanted to be, possibly rocks and rotor. Uncross the legs getting ready for the inevitable dump I was mentally prepared,  then as soon as my feet touched mother earth I was going backwards falling backwards onto my arse! A fast shock stall yank on the brakes brought the wing down immediately and I jumped back onto my feet rather relieved to gather my glider and make the walk of shame back round the corner of the originally planed landing area. Maybe I should have had hold of the C's on touchdown?


Lucky to get away with it unscathed sprang to mind.

Stay safe out there folks

YouTube link of the event-

Regards, Barry

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