Safety Notes September 2023

By Brian Stewart on  September 19, 2023 11:30

It’s been a fairly quiet year as far as incidents go so far . . . Probably tempting fate by writing that, but I don’t believe in that nonsense, so there.

Equipment Checks

We all do these, don’t we? Daily inspection, pre-flight checks etc. One of our members received a harness with his reserve re-packed back from a well-known PG service centre. During a pre-flight check the bridle zipper was seen to be starting to open and was re-closed. This happened again at the next flight. Further checking showed a mistake in re-packing the reserve and closing the container. AFAIK this is still unresolved between the pilot and the service centre. This shows the importance of doing your own inspections and checks every time you launch. You know it makes sense.

Another recent incident involved a near-miss for a member when one set of risers became trapped inside the carabiner of the opposite riser. Fortunately, he was sufficiently aware to abort the launch before getting lifted too far, but still got dragged. The carabiners in this case were the screwgate type, not the more common twist-lock gate, which require two separate actions to unlock the gate (slide and twist). The screwgates on both carabiners had not been tightened up to lock, so were both free to open. Again, this shows how important it is to include such a check in your list if you have these carabiners. Also remember the advice about replacing carabiners every 5 years or 500 flight hours. As they are subject to repeated load cycles the alloys used in them will work-harden over time and become brittle.

Calder Valley Search and Rescue Team

Earlier this year the CVSRT got in touch to find out more about our sport and the equipment we use. It’s the eastern sites like Blackstone Edge, Nont Sarah’s and Pule that are more likely to be within their region, and it’s the recent increase in use of these sites that has brought us to their attention. They had a couple of calls from concerned members of the public reporting PGs in distress. Despite searching, including with helicopter, they found nothing but wanted to know more.

Mark Shaw, BHPA Technical Officer came up to their Mytholmroyd HQ las week and gave them a presentation about our sport which I attended, covering all aspects from speed flying to powered hang gliding. It was interesting to find how little they knew of what we do – the outsider’s view that we’re a bunch of reckless thrill-seekers wasn’t so prevalent (much more respect for us as fellow users of the outdoors) – but the realisation that we actually fly distances was quite an eye-opener for some. A useful lesson learned that our activities are not confined to specific locations. Their HQ is very impressive, and the team all turned out in their mountain rescue kit – they are a very professional organisation with 45-50 registered responders with a wealth of medical knowledge and expertise between them. One subject that we discussed at length was the issue of alerting soaring pilots to the arrival of a helimed. The MRT members all carry smoke flares – these are deployed to guide the heli to the spot and indicate wind conditions. The suggestion that one could be set off as soon as the heli was requested will be carried forward by Mark to the BHPA with a view to establishing a code of practice.

This was a very useful evening, and was great for making contact with the people who do such great work on the ground saving lives.

Tight lines, everyone

Please Do Not Fly Pendle Hill East Face

By Andy Archer on  April 11, 2023 19:46

As a reminder, please do not fly Pendle east face, this area is strictly out of bounds for flying at the landowner's request and does not form part of our licence agreement with Lancashire County Council.

Our activities on Pendle are very visible and we have had complaints by various stakeholders.  Without the landowners express permission, paragliding and hang gliding activities are in contravention of the Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000 (CROW Act) . 

Pendle is one of our best sites and we would not want to lose use of the main face due to pilots flying the east.  We have other easterly sites that can be used.

Note: Any flights flown from the east face will not score in the Pennine League.

Please re-familiarise yourself with the sites guide here:


Area marked in red is ‘Out of Bounds’ for paragliding & hang gliding

Safety Notes March 2023

By Brian Stewart on  March 6, 2023 16:43

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

Pennine Social Night January 9th 2023

By Carl Fairhurst on  January 26, 2023 11:34


On Monday 9th January we kicked off the new year with Francis Waring, Jacob Cleverley and John Oliver highlighting their best flights over the past year.