Pendle Hill – Open Access Land Closure Lifted.

By Andy Archer on  July 20, 2022 09:19

We have taken the decision to re-open access for flying on Pendle Hill following last weeks closure.  We have had no further correspondence from Natural England despite trying to make contact.

If anyone is approached by Countryside Wardens on the hill please be courteous follow their instructions and report back to me.



PSC Sites Officer

Safety Notes July 2022 - Part deux

By Brian Stewart on  July 18, 2022 15:43

A couple more things to write about this month, as a sort of follow up to the earlier notes. Your safety officer has once again been out there, up there, trying out all the various ways in which a paraglider pilot can get into trouble. This is an entirely free service on behalf of the members of the PSC.

Last issue dealt with what can go wrong when your pre-flight check fails to reveal a knot in your lines, so to go one better I tried not one, but TWO knots. This came about after a sweaty hot morning sweltering on Bradwell waiting for the day to get going. The bemused faces of the shorts-and-T-shirt wearing walkers seeing 50 odd potential heatstroke victims, dressed in polar exploration layers, balaclavas, thick gloves etc were a sight to see. After my third clip-in, sweat-out, strip-off I was ready to go, but my wing wasn’t – during all the moving around it was in a bit of a state, but I built my wall and all looked good. First gaggle had already launched and were climbing, so time to get off the pot . . .

Gentle lift of the A’s, wing comes up and immediately rolls and yaws to the right, so I had to hop a few steps to correct it. Another look at the lines, all seemed OK, so maybe just me being clumsy (not unusual), or a bit of a change in wind direction, Error number 2 (Error 1 was not noticing anything wrong before launching). Off we go, turning right along the hill, all OK until I wanted to turn back, left brake a bit heavy, glider unwilling to go that way without me hanging out of the harness. Error number 3 was not landing immediately as there was something wrong, even if I couldn’t see it.

I found a bit of lift along with Simon, who was shouting at me, but I couldn’t see why as I wasn’t in his way. We climbed a bit and while I knew the glider wasn’t right, it all seemed controllable, and I started looking around the harness and riser to see what was wrong. Once away from the left-turning thermal, I was able to get into a right-turn mode, and the glider was fine, if a little bit too enthusiastically diving into the turns, so I carried on, bumbling over the back until I climbed out at Hathersage/Curbar joined by Jacob.

Now we’re cooking, an expert XC pilot to follow. Top of the climb off he goes, so I follow. Now I know he’s a much better pilot, on a better wing, but that didn’t explain why he left me standing. Have another good look at the lines, oh yes, there we are: wing tip brake lines tangled in 2 places, still not easy to see but I should have spotted them right back at the start. So, crippled glider that doesn’t really want to fly, and thoughts in my head about the consequences: recipe for landing, which all went fine, no issues. And of course the knots resolved themselves as soon as the tension came off the lines.

In my defence, I don’t recall ever launching with a knot in the lines, so didn’t really know what it would feel like. Anyway, here’s my suggestions for avoiding this issue in the future:

· When building the wall, have a really good look at all the lines, not just a casual glance

· As you launch, look for any unusual behaviour. Yaw or roll, or reluctance to rise could all be due to pilot input error or a change in wind speed or direction, but they could be signs of knotted lines.

· To avoid being hoofed up by an unflyable wing, kill it at the first sign of trouble and start again.

· If it does get to the point of being above your head, have another really good look before committing

· And if you get into my situation flying a wing that is compromised, head for a nice safe landing spot sooner rather than later.

I was given a tale recently about a pilot losing height away from the hill, and slowly descending to land in a field some way out in front, not a normal place. The pilot didn’t move, left the wing laid out in the field for long enough for those flying to become extremely concerned. Radio calls went unanswered, so someone went to investigate only to find our outlander having a power nap.

Please everyone, when you land, whether in the landing field or away, first job is to gather you glider up. You never know who is watching, concerned for your safety, so gathering up your wing and walking away, just a short distance, is a clear signal that all is well. Radios are not perfect, but much better to have one, tuned to a frequency that at least one other person on the hill can receive. Referring to my own incident, several people tried to warn me by radio (and shouting, but that never seems to work) that I had a problem, but it seems I have a connector problem that intermittently silences my earpiece. Not the first time it has caused a problem . . . .

Tight lines, everyone

Safety Notes July 2022

By Brian Stewart on  July 6, 2022 10:18

A couple of things to write about this month, a bit of a long read so strap in . . .

First up – Pre-flight checks.

We all know we need to check very carefully that every bit of our flying machine is in perfect condition for every flight (including ourselves . . .). We all do this every launch, don’t we? Here’s a report from an incident that went well but could have ended badly. Not me, but a very experienced and skilful pilot, and I don’t need to add anything as he has carefully analysed what happened and offered very useful tips on how to avoid this.

This was a typically busy day at Col de la Forclaz take off. I had launched from here earlier in the day where other pilots had told me to hurry up, so there was a certain amount of pressure.

On this launch, I unpacked and checked my glider and lines in the pen behind the launch area, clipped in and bunched the glider up to walk to launch. I did not observe any knots or issues with the lines. When a space was available in the launch area, I laid out the wing and prepared for launch as quickly as I could, due to the time pressure. I did do a test inflation ("building a wall") but this wasn't sufficient to fully check the status of the lines.

I then carried out a reverse launch. After turning and braking the wing, I did notice the right brake felt stiffer than normal. However, I was committed to the launch and did so. Once airborne I noticed a knot on the right hand side involving an A, C and brake lines. The inner portion of the right hand side of the wing was braked (trailing edge deflected), but fortunately this did not generate a large turning moment and the wing was stable and controllable.

I did attempt to undo the knot with brake input, a decision I regret as it could have made things worse, but fortunately did not. After I got over this urge, I took better actions by flying away from terrain, heading straight for the landing field and only carrying out left hand turns to reduce the risk of spinning the wing.

The landing at Doussard was uneventful, and the knot released as soon as the wing was unloaded, so I could not inspect it! I checked the lines and glider for any damage, but there the lines were fine and ground handling the glider was normal. I flew again later that day and all was well. I felt very lucky, it would have only taken one more realised hazard to have created a more severe incident or an accident.

Lessons I've considered:

- I had never had a knot in my lines in flight, so it shows complacency and that past success does not equal continued success

- Never rush pre-flight checks no matter what external pressures there are

- Check lines much more thoroughly before inflating the wing, particularly when launch conditions do not enable ground handling of the wing before committing

- Abort launch if something isn't right

- If knotted, don't try to recover it by pulling lines as it is unlikely and potentially risky

- I've changed how I bunch up the wing, by putting each loop of lines between the next two fingers and releasing in the reverse manner, making it much less likely to become knotted. From the rest of the trip, this has worked well.

Thermalling and Ridge Soaring

I’ve been asked to write something following some conflicts between pilots circling and ridge soaring. Both are essential skills and both are equally important and neither the ridge soaring pilot nor the circling one have any special rights. If everyone joins the thermal, and turns the same way, no problem. If it’s a ridge soaring day, provided some sort of order is set up about which beat is closer to the hill, equally problem-free. The issues arise when someone starts to turn in a thermal, close to the hill while others are using ridge lift. It’s easy to get focused on using the thermal to climb, that’s what we all want but the turning pilot needs to be fully aware of those who may not want to join in at that moment; a glider turning a circle close to the hill suddenly presents a massive obstacle to a ridge soaring wing. Equally the ridge soaring pilot needs to be aware that if a thermal comes along then pilots are going to turn in it, and mustn’t just blithely continue beating back and forth. No-one has priority, except to avoid a collision. It’s all part of being a pilot, and being aware of what everyone else is doing. I’ve been pointed towards the excellent 50k or Bust by Nigel Page – I have a copy and refer to it a lot, and several of his sources are in the public domain, and there is a wealth of good advice in there about this topic.

Tight lines, everyone

ADVANCE NOTICE – Winter Hill Gate Code Change on 27th May 2022 @ 3pm

By Andy Archer on  May 20, 2022 16:32

Hi All,

Just been notified by Arqiva that the Winter Hill gate code will be changed Friday 27th May @ 3pm.  Please contact a member of the committee for the new code.

The note continues to say:

The number of people that know the barrier code has been kept to a good level, thank you to everyone receiving this email for minimising the risk of the number being discovered by members of the public.

As a reminder:

Once you’ve passed through the barrier please lock it behind you without leaving it on the actual code, if I find evidence that someone is up the hill and they’ve left the gate open I will remove them/the organisation from this distribution list.

Thanks to everyone for helping to keep the code out of the public domain, as you can see Arqiva are taking access on to the top of the hill very seriously so please abide by the rules.



Pennine Soaring Club

Sites Officer