Yesterday at Mt. Caburn

Steve Purdie's picture

As usual the spring mayhem returned with a vengeance with the sea breeze!

Why is it that pilots put their gliders away in September and think that they will be perfectly competent when their wings next see the light of day in February or March?

Granted there were a couple of low airtime pilots who were not exactly helping the reputation of red ribbon pilots, but the majority of the people flying badly were of at least 'intermediate' level, if not actually very high airtime pilots.

Some of the pilot's causing concern were not UK trained and not Polish! Sebastian has intimated that he would like to help integrate these pilots into the club as they may feel too intimidated or whatever to approach our existing coaches for guidance. I can only applaud this initiative - over to you Seb!

All this winging about poor piloting does no real good when the pilots concerned do not realise what it is that they are doing wrong, so I'll start a list:

- Telegraph your intentions to other pilots
- Fly predictably
- Avoid creating 'boxes' of gliders to trap one another.
- Think about the nearby pilots and their options and intentions
- Small changes of course to make the next pilot's life easier will usually make them less stressed and ultimately make your life easier.
- Observe air law, but remember that the rules are for collision avoidance; If you are out from the ridge but with it on your right, you cannot expect an oncoming glider which is tight to the ridge to move out in the expectation that you will move in! Only move in when it is safe to do so and then take your rightful place close to the hill.
- Observe build-ups of craft in any particular region and fly in the opposite direction! We managed to safely and without conflict complete a number of soaring tasks and top landings with a number of pilots through the afternoon. We only had to stop for a very short while in the middle of the afternoon when there were no unoccupied regions of the sky.
- Other than the fairly short period I mentioned above, it was not overcrowded per se on Sunday, so operating the red banner to close launch would not have helped. It was just that the few pilots who were there were flying so inconsiderately that they made it seem busy. If you think it is too busy for you, don't launch. If you cannot keep away from other pilots, whether you feel that it is them flying poorly or not, it is time for you to land. Remember, a good pilot will find more thermals than a bad one, even though there is a large amount of luck involved in locating them. This same 'luck' is involved in whether a pilot finds the sky overcrowded or not. The difference is that the pilot who is overwhelmed by the level of crowding they perceive will hurt someone...
- If you think it is too busy and you cannot be certain to fly in a manner not to make it worse, don't launch! There were a number of very experienced pilots who felt that the mayhem would have put their lives at risk and so they chose to wait until the culprits had exhausted themselves mentally and had to leave for an early bath, after which it became pleasantly uncrowded :0)

P.S. I am so glad that the Dyke webcam is down! I would not like to see a general weather forecast page/section that would encourage a zillion people to go to an already crowded site, though I would like to see one to encourage people to try sites further afield.

TTFN
SteveP
SHGC SAFETY OFFICER

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AIRWORKS PARAGLIDING & HANG GLIDING
The Old Station
Glynde
BN8 6SS