Safety Notes August

By Brian Stewart on  August 5, 2019 18:40

PSC Safety Bulletin

August 2019 BOLO

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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.

Tight lines.

Brian

PSC Safety Bulletin July 2019

By Brian Stewart on  July 19, 2019 16:31

Landing Direction

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We all know which way to land, don’t we? Into wind, of course. I got a timely reminder recently of how important it is to keep monitoring the wind direction during a flight. The LCC was on Blease Fell, forecast was a light SSW. Very light at first, which had me and Jim thinking triangles as we weren’t in the comp, but after trying to penetrate into wind, that clearly wasn’t going to happen without switching to a Zeno. As the speed picked up, there were reports of pilots getting blown into awkward situations, and some elected to abort the task early and land in the football field.

I left the summit of Blencathra at base, well above any turbulence and there was a great looking cloudstreet over Carrock and on towards Carlisle, confirming the forecast direction veering to SW later. The blue sky showed a sea breeze pushing in from the west, over the Solway Firth, so I was dog-legging away from the coast, eventually turning east to follow the A69 Carlisle-Newcastle road, belting along at 60 km/hr. All good, and all so predictable.

Serious turbulence and a big change in the thermal consistency showed something had changed, and I opted to land at Low Row where I had a chance of hitching a lift. When I set up for a landing out, I build a picture in my head of the terrain, the wind direction and strength, trying to visualise what I might encounter and planning the best approach. Fortunately, I had plenty of height: after my first circle above my chosen field, I had to do another one as I couldn’t reconcile what I could see happening, and what my instruments told me, with my mental image. The wind was 180 degrees wrong – blowing from the East, and strong! No drama, plenty of room to adjust my approach, but I could have had a nasty surprise trying to land into the wind I thought was there. The presence of layers of wind in opposite directions also explains the violent turbulence earlier, but I saw nothing in any forecast predicting an easterly wind in that location. So the moral of the story is to always keep monitoring the conditions, especially when moving into different terrain.

Tight lines.

Brian

The Paramotor Code

By Carl Fairhurst on  June 14, 2019 17:31

Over the last few months, the BHPA has been working with the CAA to try to educate those who fly Paramotors with no training. Together they have worked up the Paramotor Code.

SIV etc.

By Brian Stewart on  May 23, 2019 19:52

PSC Safety Bulletin

May 2019 Some thoughts from my recent SIV course. And other thoughts

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This was my third SIV course; I still learned loads, and discovered how much more I don’t know. Top tip: buy a cheap Chinese radio and headset (other Nationalities are available)that you won’t care too much about getting wet. Trying to listen to a radio speaker, inside a waterproof case, while the world is going nuts around you is almost impossible. The wind noise from some of the manoeuvres wipes out everything.

Wingovers. These are more complex than they look – done well they are a delight: that feeling of body and glider in perfect harmony carving accurate, graceful arcs through the sky. Done badly, they have the potential to bite hard, and are more difficult than they look. So, please take care trying them out over land or near the terrain. We’ve had members seriously hurt doing wingovers and SATs close to the hill – you need loads of clearance horizontally and vertically, to give enough time to sort thigs out if you get it wrong. This is not the place to talk about how they’re done (and I’m not the person to do that, either), but make sure you learn progressively, in the right environment, with sound guidance.

The guidance and supervision are so important. Someone trying tumbles in Olu Deniz fell into his wing and hit the water. While there will have been some drag from the trailing fabric, he must have reached a big percentage of human terminal velocity. Sadly, he did not survive. I never found out if he was under any form of instruction but given the poor entry into his manoeuvre, I doubt it – any instructor would have been screaming at him to stop after the first loop, which clearly lacked enough energy. Water does not guarantee a soft landing.

In the papers, there are reports of a paraglider pilot airlifted to hospital from Pendle last Sunday (19th May). The Air Accident Investigation Bureau have informed the BHPA; so far the victim is unidentified, and there are conflicting reports about the severity of his (her?) injuries. Perhaps it wasn’t one of our members, but if he/she was BHPA there is a legal duty to submit an incident report. If you have any knowledge of the incident, then please complete the online report form (https://contact.bhpa.co.uk/incident.php). Every bit of data regarding flight incidents helps to build a fuller picture of the hazards we all face.

NOTAMs. Are we all checking these carefully before picking our site and/or route? https://notaminfo.com/ is easy to use and you can set your own preferences for which areas of the country and type of NOTAM you want to see displayed. If, like me, you see very few NOTAMs on the map, have a look at your local settings – mine had somehow changed to exclude the western half of the country.

CANP. Midweek flying is likely to bring you into conflict with the military, especially in training hotspots like the Dales, Lake District and Yorkshire. It’s far from perfect, as there is little scope for XC flying, but it’s easy to use and could be a life-saver. http://www.bhpa.co.uk/documents/safety/canp/

Brian