DIY Pilot - please look out for him

Hairy Dave's picture

Over the last few weeks an untrained (and therefore non BHPA, non-insured) paraglider pilot has been seen on our hills and spoken to several times.

He is a danger to himself, others and to our site agreements.

Please can everyone look out for him and explain the need for training, insurance and club membership. All those things are required to gain the land owner's permission to fly and to comply with the law.

You can put him in touch with me (Dave Lewis, Chief Coach) and I can sort out how best for him to join the BHPA and get his ratings.

He's flying a red and dark blue Apco Tetra. Name of Matt.

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After stopping from this

After stopping from this sport due to unreasonable and selfish pilots it doesn't look that great trying to get back to crowded skies and untrained pilots..

Hairy Dave's picture

Don't worry, untrained

Don't worry, untrained pilots are a rarity and with everyone looking for them they'll soon be trained or go away. Crowds are available on certain days and on certain sites, but easily avoided. Just don't go to the Dyke at 11 am on a sunny Saturday in a WNW for example.

Apco Tetra

Not sure if this is useful but I assume this is our friends kit:

John Templeton's picture

DIY Piiot

What are the chances that every time Matt turns up at a SHGC site, a passing hooiigan ( of the sort that often wears heavy boots and thick gloves) lets down one of his car"s tyres?

Mr Flibble's picture

naught, naughty

I believe Dover and Folkstone have used that ploy in the past, but letting Robbie talk to him would probably be more effective :)

Nigel's picture

DIY Pilot

He turned up at the Dyke yesterday (20th) and I had a word with him. As I walked away I noticed all my words had come out of his other ear and were lying on the ground. He then proceeded to try and inflate his virtually new APCO Tetra! (Poor bugger was clearly on a hiding to nothing from the get-go)

Then, Carlo and I had yet more words with him (which joined mine on the ground as well). Then Massie joined in. After the standard circular conversation about public space/insurance/permission, he got the humph and decided to go off and do some ground handling 'somewhere over the other side of the bowl' - scrunched up his glider and stormed off.

...he was then trailed by Robbie.

The two sat talking at a table on the patio at the Dyke and after about 90 minutes, I saw him leave Robbie and wander off - clearly with suicide on his mind.

We didn't see him again.

He's called Matt (If I remember correctly) - He seemed reasonable for an unreasonable type of person.


flybrazil's picture

diy pilot

I'd think that we all pilots as a community should lend a hand to the club and act proactively and maybe as soon as we've spot him, perhaps we should all land, gather around him in numbers and try to reinforce the message? But it will take ALL of us.
If this situation don't get addressed asap,others will find ok to do the same?
And then what?

diy pilot

I cannot wait till he lands down at the bottom of the Dyke and meets me and my mates the Lea brothers lol.


Not if Darwin gets in there first ;-)

Until our next encounter ...

I can safely (not sure that is the word) this guy will be back very soon. Having tried both the softly softly approach along with the more formal dressing down from others, this guy both doesn't understand and does not appear to be interested since he's clearly more experienced than the rest of us :(

Amongst his other pursuits, he taught himself skiing in addition to sailing to France where he admitted he had a close encounter with a large tanker.

He considers himself suitably experienced with around 30 mins ground handling and a just few minutes airborne.

While attempting to show him how there is a little more to it than simply flying a big kite, I introduced him to evaluating possible conditions while pointing out an experienced pilot in a pod pulling big ears. On asking why he might be doing this, he initially suggested it was to signal other paragliders. After suggesting he thinks again, he correctly guessed it might have something to do with getting down but didn't quite understand why an experienced pilot would want to when it was so good.

Before leaving him, I suggest he's been very lucky so far but I doubt he'll survive a further 5 hours without getting seriously hurt at best and appealed to get in contact with one of the local schools.

I naively thought buying the guy a drink and hoping I could talk some sense into him might at least appeal to his conscience but while I know you're all going to say, "I told you so", I think it was wasted. I really should have listened to him when he asked why I wouldn't rather be flying than talking to him ;-)

It has been suggested to me by another coach that for now, we should just keep a wide birth while in the air with him but I think this may be easier said than done. Why? Because it appears he plans to teach himself by closely following others, literally!

I hate the heavy approach but I think it is the only way and I think we should all chip in for a very big padlock unless we plan to sit this out and let Darwin do his thing ...

Nigel's picture

Well done...

Robbie for spending the time - and yes, while you were trying the flying was good. I did see you walk to launch as it all ended and I did feel for you.

Personally I think the approach should be one of, you can't fly here without the land owners permission (as per The Chief Coach's post). If you want to go down to Saddlescombe farm (in the case of the Dyke) and ask Charlie (the manager), then feel free (BTW I hear he hates us), and if you can get a letter confirming you can fly then, hey-ho go for it. (not going to happen). Without that permission, can I suggest you go to one of the hills between the Bowl and Truleigh and smear yourself there.

You're not launching here, the paddock or the bowl (although I would like to see you fly an APCO Tetra from there)


JTurczak's picture

empty hills

Could be worth other pilots pointing out to him that if he wants to avoid all the hastle then there is a lovely empty hill at newtimber he can throw himself off.Just make sure we have also informed him that as an untrained pilot we dont recommend that he tries to fly anywhere. Then give him an envelope and ask him to open it if he has an accident. Inside there is a card saying "Told you so"