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Skywings News - 2020

CANP reporting online!

CANP app screenshotBHPA members Pete Logan and Chris Williams have developed an online app that makes filing a CANP request a work of seconds.

Previously, requesting a NOTAM via CANP (Civil Aircraft Notification Procedure) by phone or e-mail, to notify low-level military aircrew and others of our activities, could be a slow and cumbersome process.

The new app is simplicity itself. If you are planning weekday flying, go to CANP for free fliers.

Ideally do this the previous day before 20:00. Check to see if anyone has already requested a NOTAM for your site for the day. If not, fill in the online form including the site and date, add your contact details and press SUBMIT. It couldn't be easier!

An overview of the CANP system and further information about the CANP for free fliers app are available in the safety documents area of this website.

 

Posted: 12 June 2020
By: J. Schofield


Wayne Seeley

XC star Wayne SeeleyOn June 2nd southern paragliding XC star Wayne Seeley, 40, died following a collision with power cables when landing out at Eastington near Stroud, not far from his home.

Wayne was one of our sport's great personalities who had been flying since he was 15. Learning his craft from Richard Westgate, Graham Steel and others, he went on to log nearly 50 100km flights, many from the XCLent winch and his home site of Frocester.

Many pilots who knew or had been helped to improve by Wayne will join us in offering our sympathies to his friends and family, not least his partner Leanna.

Posted: 12 June 2020
By: J. Schofield


Longest European flight of 2020

Ukrainian paraglider pilot Bogdan Baziuk1 On May 21st Ukrainian paraglider pilot Bogdan Baziuk flew 353.3km across the flatlands of Ukraine - the longest flight to date in Europe this season.

Bogdan made the flight at an average speed of over 46km/h on an EN C Nova Sector.

Bogdan already holds the European straight-distance record at 429km, set in 2015. Is 500km possible in Europe? Are the flatlands over Ukraine, Belarus and Poland about to become the new Brazil?

Posted: 12 June 2020
By: J. Schofield


BHPA guidelines on flying XC in England

In the light of the English Government's amended guidelines issued on 4 June 2020, the BHPA guidelines on flying XC can now change.

You can now fly XC in England when you have a retrieve arranged from an outlanding with someone from your own household in a private car.

XC in Scotland and Wales remains prohibited by their national rules. It is also not permitted to fly XC from England into Scotland or Wales.

Posted: 7 June 2020
By: Paul Dancey


Coronavirus – Covid-19 Update

Here is the promised update for flying in the UK, outside England.

Apologies for the length of this posting - we suggest you scroll down to the Country you are interested in.

One issue appears clear, except in very unusual circumstances ( for instance you live within 100 metres of a border ) you should neither fly nor drive across national borders for the purposes of hang gliding or paragliding.

Let's start with a reminder of the overarching guidelines which apply to all of the UK:

* Comply with any guidance from the local BHPA club, who you must contact before visiting any area with the intention of flying;

* Ensure that the landowner's permission has been gained before you go to a flying site;

* Be aware that Mountain Rescue cover may be limited or not currently available in some areas;

* Try to minimise travel distances, and travel in a private vehicle only with members of your own household;

* Maintain social distancing and don't share unsterilised equipment;

* Be alert to the risks of touching locks and gates; use a suitable hand sanitiser before and after contact;

* You may approach one other person from outside your household, but only if you maintain 2m distancing;

* Other than this one person, you should maintain a significant separation from all other people (to avoid any suggestion of creating a gathering);

[These distancing requirements do not apply in an emergency situation]

* Do not fly XC in Great Britain. ( England, Scotland or Wales )

* Be safe, and aware of the risks that your own lack of currency creates, and remember that you may be sharing the air with other pilots who are at least as rusty;

* Wash your hands before and after you go.

Turning to the individual Countries:

WALES

After receiving further information and clarification on the situation in Wales it now appears that there can be a limited return of flying in Wales, subject to conditions about staying local (approx. 5 miles from home) and social distancing.

Please also note that you should not be travelling outside of your local area into Wales either.

The government in Wales states:-

Can I travel to do sports outside my local area?

If your preferred form of exercise or leisure is one that can only be undertaken in specific locations, this still needs to be carried out locally. Examples of this might include golf, angling or watersports. If there is a place where you can do these within your local area, then you are free to do so, but it would not be permissible to drive outside your local area for these purposes. That said, it is important not to risk spreading the virus by breaking that exercise and stopping or congregating with others outside your local area. Crowded places should be avoided, and social distancing should be maintained. The rules on gathering with others also mean that while you can now exercise with people from one other household, group activities are still not allowed.

Outdoor activity.

Developing scientific evidence demonstrates that virus that caused Covid-19 decays quickly (a few minutes) in strong sunlight (SAGE paper SAGE35-2d). This means that being outdoors gives a much lower risk of transmission than being indoors. In light of this, there are no longer legal restrictions on the type of outdoor activity you can undertake within your local area, how often you can go outdoors or how long you spend outside. Indeed, exercise and other outdoor recreation is generally beneficial for health and wellbeing, and so it is strongly encouraged.

Useful Links

Welsh Government - Stay local to keep Wales safe
Welsh Government - Guidance Changes Coronavirus Regulations 1 June 2020
Welsh Government - Changes Coronavirus Regulations 1 June 2020 FAQ

SCOTLAND

Guidance from the Scottish Hang Gliding and Paragliding Federation ( SHPF )

Following the First Minister's announcement today, here is the SHPF's guidance document aimed at getting pilots back to flying, where possible, safely and within the government regulations. This has been prepared in collaboration with the Scottish Government and, after quite a bit of editing, has been officially approved by them this morning. We are grateful to Sport Scotland in helping us achieve this official approval for our sports. There is a lot of detail in the document. The key messages are: *Lockdown phase 1 starts from tomorrow - 29th May. *'Exercise' will be allowed reasonably close to your home - advice is circa 5 miles. This will include ground handling and local flying for those who can reach a launch. *XC (landing out), acro, aerotow and winch operations are not allowed. Tandems within the same household only. *All travel and activity must take place with public health and safety as the foremost concern and the numerous appropriate measures explained in the document should be observed. *STAY LOCAL * TAKE IT EASY * PLAN AHEAD * BE RESPONSIBLE This is only the first step in getting us flying and obviously doesn't help those of us who do not live anywhere near a launch. However, to be able to get out and ground handle is a good step forward. We don't know when we will enter Phase 2 - when we can travel further to fly but the indications are that (as long as infection rates do not go up again) this could be in about a month.

Introduction

The aim of this document is to equip the free flying community with the information that they may need in order to reach their own decisions about returning to free flying in Scotland, as the Scottish Government's coronavirus restrictions are eased,
which will start in a phased manner on 29th May 2020.

The SHPF exists to represent the sports of hang gliding and paragliding within Scotland. The SHPF represents eight constituent clubs and schools, and is itself a member of the
BHPA, which represents free flight sports at the UK level. The SHPF is not a regulatory body, and does not seek to create or enforce rules governing free flight. It is, however, a strong proponent of the BHPA-led approach to free flying.

An Easing of Lockdown Restrictions

The response of the Scottish free flying community to the Covid-19 crisis has been exemplary; thank you to everybody who has resisted the frustration and temptation that we have all experienced, and refrained from flying during the lockdown.
As the lockdown restrictions will now be eased from 29th May, many will be wondering how and when they can take to the air once more. The keys to this will be for individuals to take a sensible and measured approach, while keeping within the law and Covid-19 related guidance, following BHPA & SHPF guidance, and bearing in mind the consequences of their actions on the free flying and wider communities. It cannot be stressed enough that the easing of lockdown does not mean a return to normal.

The Scottish Government have made the following points very clear to us:

● Phase 1 of the easing of lockdown should be considered an extension of exercise,not a return to sport.
● You may travel to take part in exercise activities within five miles of your home (broadly) but where possible you are advised to walk or cycle.
● All activity must be consistent with current Scottish Government guidance on health, physical distancing and hygiene.
● IMPORTANT: Do not leave your home to undertake exercise or outdoor activity if Scottish Government advice means you should stay at home because you or someone you live with has or has had symptoms of COVID-19, or you are in the most vulnerable category and have been advised to shield from the coronavirus.
● The Scottish Government is keen to keep a return to exercise and sport rolling forward, but this relies upon us all following the guidance and safeguarding the public and ourselves.

Flying Law

The CAA's position on General Aviation during the lockdown was that General Aviation was precluded by the “Stay at Home” order. Once that order is lifted or eased so that pilots can reach launch, there is no legal obstacle to free flight, as we understand it.

The SHPF have been in liaison with the BHPA on this matter and will update the community if anything changes.

BHPA and Insurance
The BHPA's advice will be updated on its website and Facebook page. Please bear in mind that some guidance issued by the BHPA relates to England and is not compatible with Phase 1 in Scotland, where tighter restrictions remain in place. BHPA members' third-party liability insurance has not changed throughout the lockdown period. However, it is vital to remember that your BHPA insurance only covers you if you are adhering to BHPA rules and the law, and 'take reasonable precautions to prevent any occurrence which may give rise to liability'. The advice of the SHPF to its members is that if
you fly outwith the guidance offered in this document, with regard to the phases, you may find yourself uninsured in the event of an incident.

Communication

The SHPF will also seek to inform members as the situation changes throughout the various phases of lockdown. This will allow pilots to respond rapidly to the changing environment,
based on the best information available.

Scottish Government Phased Approach to Easing Lockdown

In late May the Scottish Government announced its plan for a four-phase approach to releasing lockdown. Central to this plan is the fact that if Covid cases go back up, or if individual sports are perceived to be putting the public at risk, we will be moved back into a higher state of lockdown.

The SHPF have worked with the Scottish Government to agree a set of guidelines for the free flying community under the various phases. Phases 2-4 are still under consideration.

Guidance for Phase 1 is as follows:

Yes to: ground handling and flying at sites that you can walk, cycle or drive to broadly within five miles of your home. The First Minister stated on 22 May that five miles will not be a strict limit, but it is a guide.

Tandem flying within the same household only.

No to: cross country flying (landing out), aerobatics, aerotow, winch operations or face-to face schooling.

Key Risks

The SHPF perceive three main risks in the return to free flying in a Covid-19 environment.

They are:

1. Risk of spreading Covid-19.
2. Risk of accident and the impact on both pilot and emergency services.
3. Risk of reputational damage to our sports.

The following tackles these risks in turn.

1. Risk of spreading Covid-19 Until a pilot launches, they are basically a hill walker. Please follow the Mountaineering
Scotland website for excellent advice on accessing the hills in a Covid-19 environment. The following is our guidance on how to get to launch safely and within the government's public
health guidelines.

Social Distancing
As we go out ground handling and to flying sites. It will be important to maintain social distancing (2m apart) from other hillwalkers, pilots and the general public. Some things to
consider:

● Stay at home if you are showing symptoms of Covid-19 or should be self-isolating from contact with someone suspected to be infected with Covid-19.
● If you fall within a high-risk group, do not risk infection through joining others, even though it is outdoors and with special measures in place.
● Bear in mind that you may be asymptomatic, and act accordingly, maintaining social distancing.
● If, in the later phases, you wish to fly cross country, think about your retrieve.
Hitchhiking and public transport are not good options for the time being. Can you arrange a private retrieve? Fly an out and return or triangle? Be prepared for a long
walk!
● Avoid sites with a high footfall of the general public - so-called 'honeypots'.
● Don't share vehicles or equipment with other pilots.
Health, Safety & Hygiene
● Until better data is available, assume the virus is resilient outdoors and take measures to avoid transmission. Follow Health Protection Scotland's guidance regarding hand-washing. Be vigilant with hand hygiene when touching surfaces, such as gates, equipment etc. In particular, use gloves or alcohol gel/wipes after touching any surfaces.
● Bring your own food and water out with you, so as to avoid shops. And bear in mind that many public toilets will be closed.
● Follow travel restrictions outlined by the Scottish Government, which can be found on
the ScotGov website. (About five miles in phase 1.)

2. Risk of accident and the impact on both pilot and emergency services.
Currency and Risk Management
The following tools are advised for pilots of all levels as they approach their first flight after a long period of lay-off during lockdown.
● Every activity you partake in should be dynamically risk assessed with the key consideration being safety first, particularly your safety and minimising the risk of infection or transmission.
● Low airtime pilots should consider seeking advice from club coaches.
● One or more sessions of ground handling before your first flight would be an excellent idea.
● Thoroughly check your kit, including that your reserve is secure, and conduct comprehensive pre-flight checks.

After a long period of no flying, none of us is current. On launch, ask yourself some hard questions:
● Am I unfamiliar with the site?
● Is the launch difficult, daunting, or unforgiving of mistakes?
● Have others ever been concerned about my attitude, competence, or safety?
● Are the forecast or actual conditions even slightly concerning to me?
Now more than ever, avoiding an accident is vitally important. Think about your margins. Temper your ambition. Now is not the time to be pushing your limits, nor to be drawn off the
hill just because others are flying and you don't want to miss out. If you answered yes to any of the above questions, consider waiting for a better opportunity to fly with more margin for error; perhaps a morning or evening flight off a known local hill.

If you decide to fly, let someone know your intentions, discuss conditions with other pilots (while adhering to all government advice on safe physical separation), use your SPOT or inReach, and fly with others.

The Impact of an Accident on You and Emergency Services

The following advice is issued through consultation with Chris diRollo, Chief Medical Officer of the Dundonnell Mountain Rescue Team.

The pressures and restrictions that Covid-19 place on medical staff and emergency services will have a significant impact on the way you would be rescued and treated in the event of an
accident.

It is important to consider some of the following:
● Until there is a vaccine for Covid-19, emergency services have to wear PPE when attending casualties. This means that helicopters will almost certainly not attend accidents unless life is at risk as crew cannot wear PPE, which is incompatible with their equipment.
● The complications of rescue in a Covid-19 environment mean that rescue may take a lot longer than normal.
● Mountain Rescue Teams (MRTs) are currently advised not to administer airway adjuncts or CPR.
● Pressure on frontline medical staff may affect the way in which you are treated in hospital.
● Remember that in the Covid 19 environment, a rescue is likely to place unique stress on the members of all agencies involved. The Scottish Mountain Rescue website is a good source of information about the challenges of mountain
rescues in the Covid-19 environment.
“The single biggest issue in rescuing a casualty from an outdoor setting during the current situation is the amount of personnel involved. All rescues are multi-agency, usually involving the Police, Mountain Rescue, Ambulance Service, Coastguard SAR and possibly the Air Ambulance and Fire Service. A casualty that is Covid positive could expose all those people involved and their families that they return to. All rescue personnel will assume that a casualty is positive, so will require full PPE.”

Chris DiRollo, Dundonnell MRT

3. Risk of reputational damage to our sports.

Landowner Relationships

Remember that our behaviour during the Covid-19 crisis may affect our relationship with landowners for a long time into the future. This will be particularly relevant where special
arrangements and vehicular access has been negotiated historically. The key will be to communicate with farmers and other landowners as appropriate. Regional Clubs will know which sites require conversations with particular landowners.

Outdoor Access

While the Scottish Outdoor Access Code remains in place, please be aware that the access that you have enjoyed across private land previously may not be automatically granted during this crisis. Please read the guidance issued for access during the pandemic.

Please be aware that Forest and Land Scotland (formerly Forestry Commission) car parks were closed under the lockdown. This may change - keep an eye on the Forest & Land Scotland website.

Public Perception, PR and Press

Also be aware that, even after flying is legal again, public perception towards pilots may vary. Think about how you would react in the event of being challenged. Also think before
you post flying photos or videos on social media. It only takes one person to copy your images to the wrong place and we could have a public relations problem, which could negatively affect us all.

SHPF Support

In the event of an incident or if you encounter a problem that you think could have repercussions on the free flying community, please contact us. We are here to help if we can
- committee@shpf.co.uk

NORTHERN IRELAND

During the COVID-19 pandemic many outdoor recreation sites and associated facilities across Northern Ireland have been closed or had reduced access. As restrictions are easing, sites and facilities are gradually reopening on a phased basis.

Enjoy a healthy and safe visit to our outdoors

Plan ahead

Plan your day around your needs and what will be available.

Check the site and facilities you need, such as car parks and toilets, are open before you leave home.

You can travel for outdoor recreation, but consider if you need to until all the services you need are open again - for example, car parks, toilets, baby changing, playgrounds.

Before you go check websites for ideas of places to visit close to you and to check whether facilities are open.

If the site is very busy, social distancing may be difficult and it would be wise to consider another venues.

Keep roads clear
Car parks may be full so don't park outside of designated parking spaces or on verges or gateways. Make sure the Emergency Services, local farmers or local residents will be able to pass by and to access fields, forests, or houses. If a car park is full, go somewhere else.

Stay safe and healthy
The following tips should help you and others stay safe and healthy when visiting outdoor sites as restrictions are gradually lifted. Continue to be considerate to others and don't put stresses on the NHS and other emergency services. These are in addition to government protocols and public health guidelines.

-be especially mindful of not gathering or lingering around key points such as car parks, bridges, gates, information points, summits or for photos

-barbeques take time, can be a fire risk and are hard to clear up after - for now have them at home but not in outdoor recreation spaces

-consider using face masks in more frequently used areas such as car parks

-choose a quiet location, a quiet time and be considerate of other visitors/users

-stay a few hours, not all day

-avoid popular sites - if there are lots of people it will be more difficult to stay two metres apart from others and observe social distancing

-respect staff and volunteers and signage are there to help to keep everyone safe and healthy - follow their instructions
don't risk injury - protect the NHS and emergency services - now is not the time to end up in hospital

-for now choose familiar locations - choose a safer activity - choose an activity within your existing skills and experience level - stick to low risk routes that you are familiar and comfortable with

-if you're planning a visit to the coast then check the weather forecast and tide times - follow safety advice, keep a close eye on your family - and don't use inflatables

Health advice

Hand hygiene
Clean your hands before and after your visit. Follow public health guidelines on handwashing and remember hand hygiene if you touch any surfaces.

Toilets and facilities may not be open so consider this when planning your visit and make other arrangements for keeping your hands clean as required.

'Leave No Trace'

keep your dog under control - don't let your dog go near other people and their dogs, cyclists, livestock and wildlife - it is difficult to retrieve a dog while observing social distancing.
never let your dog worry or attack farm animals wildlife may have got used to you not being there and nested somewhere close by - please give nature some space to flourish leave gates as you find them

Take your rubbish home

You can help everyone by taking your own litter home with you, especially at a time when staff and volunteers may be deployed elsewhere on site or reduced in numbers due to shielding.

Outdoor recreation sites updates

Find up-to-date information about the current status of opening of informal outdoor recreation sites, such as country parks, forests, beaches, nature reserves - and associated facilities across Northern Ireland run by government, council and non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and others.

ISLE OF MAN, JERSEY AND GUERNSEY

Please refer to each government's websites and liaise with the local BHPA Club.

The guidance offered on the government websites is often contradictory. For instance the Manx government advice on Recreational GA appears to have completely overlooked our existence. ( Which may or may not be a good thing )

Marc Asquith
BHPA Chairman

Posted: 31 May 2020
By: Paul Dancey


BHPA Preparation Checklist Solo Flying in England

Here is the BHPA's preparation checklist for solo flying in England following the relaxation on travel announced on Wednesday.

* Comply with any guidance from the local BHPA club, who you must contact before visiting any area with the intention of flying;

* Ensure that the landowner's permission has been gained before you go to a flying site;

* Be aware that Mountain Rescue cover may be limited or not currently available in some areas;

* Try to minimise travel distances, and travel in a private vehicle only with members of your own household;

* Maintain social distancing and don't share unsterilised equipment;

* Be alert to the risks of touching locks and gates; use a suitable hand sanitiser before and after contact;

* You may approach one other person from outside your household, but only if you maintain 2m distancing;

* Other than this one person, you should maintain a significant separation from all other people (to avoid any suggestion of creating a gathering);

[These distancing requirements do not apply in an emergency situation]

* Do not fly XC.

* Be safe, and aware of the risks that your own lack of currency creates, and remember that you may be sharing the air with other pilots who are at least as rusty;

* Wash your hands before and after you go.

These arrangements only apply to England. In Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland, the devolved administrations have not yet altered their advice, or the law, which does not include flying as a necessary reason for travel.

Posted: 16 May 2020
By: Paul Dancey


Coronavirus – Covid-19 Update

Prior to the Prime Minister's announcement on Sunday 10 May 2020 it became clear that there was likely to be a relaxation of the restrictions upon outdoor sporting activities. I therefore wrote to the Department for Culture Media and Sport (DCMS) asking that our sports be amongst those to benefit from such a relaxation.

Once the Prime Minister had made his announcement, all airsports began to press the Department for Transport and the CAA to change their stance that the guidelines precluded Recreational General Aviation. That change is coming, but simple operational problems within the Department have meant that they have not been able to publish them yet.

In the mean time the DCMS replied, confirming that all forms of outdoor sport were now permitted without limit.

The BHPA Executive Council take the view that this now allows us to resume our flying activities.

We set out below the guidelines which we believe will allow flying to take place without further spreading the virus.

Copies of the letters between the BHPA and DCMS can be downloaded below.

BHPA Letter 6 May 2020

DCMS Letter 4 May 2020.pdf

Pilots might consider carrying a printed copy with them when out flying, just in case they find themselves facing a zealous member of the public or police officer

COVID 19 - BHPA recovery plan for flying activities.

This recovery plan sets out guidelines which the BHPA believes will allow a resumption of the sports of Hang Gliding and Paragliding, including powered variants.

It must be borne in mind that initially it only applies to flying within England. With 4 governments over the home nations, together with the smaller islands with their own forms of Parliament, it is inevitable that flying will be possible in the different parts of the United Kingdom and the Crown Dependencies before it is possible in others.

It is imperative that pilots do not try to cross national borders in order to fly. Travel into or out of England to fly would likely constitute an offence under the national regulations of the other country.

At this stage, even in England, flying is possible in some regions whilst not in others. In particular, Cumbria, being mountainous, has problems with its Mountain Rescue Teams coping with casualties who potentially carry the Covid-19 virus. As is always the case, the BHPA defers to the local clubs to open their sites as and when local conditions allow. Pilots should confirm whether a club's sites are open before travelling to an area.

The BHPA anticipates a three-phase restarting of its activities, beginning with an initial phase of flying activity by qualified pilots only (Club Pilot and above) in any form of launch environment ( Hill, tow, Aerotow, Power ) - Phase 1. Phase 2 will be solo training at BHPA schools. Phase 3 will be dual air experience flights and dual flights for passengers who are not members of the pilot's household. Phase 3 will only be authorised upon the issuing of guidance on proximity between members of the public that can be applied effectively to dual flying.

In England therefore, we are now entering Phase 1.

OVERARCHING PRINCIPLES

• Stay at home if you are showing symptoms of Covid 19, or should be self-isolating having had contact with someone suspected to be infected with Covid 19.

• If you are in a high-risk group consider carefully if you wish to risk infection through joining others, even though it is outdoors and with special measures in place.

• Bear in mind that you may be asymptomatic - act accordingly, maintaining social distancing and be vigilant with hand hygiene when touching surfaces.

• In general, a two-metre distance must always be maintained. Only in specific situations can this distance be

reduced. In these situations, effective measures must be taken to ensure the protection of those involved.

SPECIFIC GUIDELINES FOR INDIVIDUAL PILOTS

General

• Every member carries individual responsibility for adhering to the rules to minimise the risk of infection or transmission of the disease.

• Maintain a two-metre distance in all situations, unless required to provide essential first aid.

• Carry hand sanitising gel.

• Inform yourself of your Club's - and any site-specific - guidance before travelling to fly.

Access to the flying site

• Club members should travel to and from flying locations individually in separate vehicles until Government advice changes to allow sharing. When this is not possible, club members must follow the guidance from UK Government on distancing in vehicles / on public transport.

• Before and after contact with any surfaces outdoors (stiles, gates and gate latches, etc), the BHPA recommends the use of hand sanitising gel.

On the site

• Only unpack and set up your equipment if intending to fly. On landing, immediately clear the landing area and carry your equipment to an appropriate unoccupied area to pack up.

• Use your own equipment. Try not to come into contact with another pilot's equipment. If you are required to touch a piece of equipment that comes into contact with others, the BHPA recommends the use of hand sanitising gel applied before and after use (however this may not be appropriate for application on certain types of equipment).

• Providing assistance to a pilot - hang check. Avoid “hands on” contact and check remotely from a two-metre distance, allowing extra time to perform the checks.

• Providing assistance - e.g. pull-starting another pilot's paramotor. Do not undertake this activity as it is not possible to maintain a two-metre distance.

• Dual flights are only allowed if both pilot and passenger live in the same household. In the current situation, dual pilots are strongly advised not to operate in conditions where a launch assistant may be needed.

• Providing assistance - launch assistant for dual paragliding. It is impossible to undertake this role and maintain a two-metre distance. As well as the usual requirements for launch assistants, the launch assistant must be a member of the same household as the pilot and passenger.

• In general terms, you should not be flying cross country - any “retrieve” journey may not adhere to Covid 19 travel guidelines. For the time being, only undertake flights local to your site.

• Do not share food and drinks and dispose of waste at home.

After flying

• Upon arrival back home, decontamination should take place by washing hands and quarantining any equipment for as long as possible, either outside or in a dedicated separate space indoors.

Protect the NHS

The inherent risk to aviation participants has not changed because of Covid 19, however there are measures that individuals can take to further reduce the risk of an incident whilst allowing activities to re-commence.

• Undertake any flying activity at a level well within your ability. Normal springtime conditions and currency precautions apply.

• Low airtime pilots and those recently qualified are advised to seek advice from a Club Coach before re-commencing flying.

• All pilots are advised to re-acquaint themselves with their flying equipment by setting it up in an isolated outdoor space and checking it (e.g. in garden), before resuming flying.

• All pilots are advised to initially undertake flight activity in light winds to minimise the need for another pilot to intervene.

GUIDELINES FOR GROUP ACTIVITIES SUCH AS TOW AND AEROTOW GROUPS AND FOR COACHES AND OPERATORS

Any club member organising a coaching session / towing activity is advised to inform club members who are planning to take part about these guidelines at least one day before the start of the coaching / activity.

Any club official or licence holder organising a coaching or training session must ask club members at the beginning of the coaching session if they feel ill or have symptoms of Covid 19. If necessary, they must be excluded from the activity.

If a club member who has taken part in the coaching session subsequently falls ill, he/she must immediately inform the club official / licence holder who conducted the coaching / activity. This official will check which other persons in the coaching session he/she has been in contact with and will inform these people immediately.

General

• Maintain a two-metre distance in all situations, unless required to provide essential first aid.

• Be aware of positioning - avoid standing directly upwind/downwind of a pilot (even when briefing from two metres away).

• Carry hand sanitising gel.

• Physical intervention on launch / landing should be avoided unless required in an emergency to prevent an incident.

• Restrict access to club buildings to essential personnel only.

• Where a qualified first-aider is required to enable an operation to take place, the first-aider should update him or herself with the latest advice from their certificate provider or NHS advice for first aiders. The Resuscitation Council has specific advice on risk of transmission of Covid 19 and performing resuscitation.

Specific guidelines for Coaching

• First refresh your coaching basic skills by using guidance material / coaching resources.

• Encourage Club Pilots you are coaching to undertake tasks that involve flying in the local area (do not undertake supervised cross-country flights for Club Pilots for the foreseeable future).

• Encourage Club Pilots you are coaching to initially undertake flights in light winds to reduce the need to physically intervene.

• During briefing/de-briefing use a “hands-off” manner. Allow extra time to conduct demos, and brief/debrief maintaining 2m distance.

Specific guidelines for tow / aerotow operations

• Segregate the launch queue to allow social distancing to be maintained.

• All winch / tow vehicle controls and ancillary equipment (e.g. signal bats, radios) to be thoroughly sanitised before and after use. Avoid user changes if possible. If the user changes, the equipment must be appropriately sanitised when changing user.

• If radios are used they should be sanitised with suitable wipes when changing user.

• The Launch Marshal should conduct verbal checks from at least two metres and to the side of the pilot.

• The Launch Marshal is advised to hold the end of the hang glider keel instead of the nose (for example to position the glider on the aerotow trolley).

• Tow groups must agree and write down a procedure to minimise person-to-person contact via the tow rope, connections and glider launch trolleys, ensuring that appropriate sanitation is carried out on all surfaces to minimise risk of transference of Covid 19. The procedure is to be circulated and followed by all pilots, operators, tug pilots, launch marshals and coaches involved in the activity.

Guidelines for solo training and dual flights will be released in due course.

Marc Asquith, BHPA Chairman, May 15th 2020

Posted: 15 May 2020
By: Paul Dancey


Unlockdown caution!

Now we have been given a tentative green light on flying in England, subject to a number of stipulations, we need to temper our enthusiasm with a note of caution.

Should you find yourself on the hill or the tow field, and not in conflict with advice from any UK national government, please recognise that you will not be current. The powerful thermals of spring will mostly have passed us by; nevertheless you will be about to commit aviation after a long layoff. Some pilots may not have flown all winter.  

This will be an unprecedented situation. Even those who were lucky enough to get an overseas trip in before the shut-down won't have flown for a couple of months. So pick a calm day when the conditions - gusting winds, off-the-hill winds, difficult terrain, heavy traffic, etc, etc - won't be adding further layers of difficulty.

And take it slowly. Assemble your glider and gear carefully; concentrate on the task in hand rather than nattering to folk you haven't seen for a while; brief yourself initially for a short and simple flight; don't skip the Will Gordie Have His Cat Aboard Today mnemonic.

You will have had plenty of time to overhaul and update your gear. If you will be flying with something - anything! - new, remember that you will be unfamiliar with it. Check your instruments and radio and that you can remember how to operate them. 

When lacking recent flying practice, all pilots need to be extra careful in assessing the conditions and give themselves wider safety margins than usual. Acknowledge that you will be rusty and take things slowly.

Resist the urge to fly if conditions aren't suitable, and land if you're uncomfortable. The only way that you will regain currency is by flying, but pick another day if conditions are not ideal.

Finally, bear in mind the increased risk of mid-air collision from the mix of hang gliders and paragliders, all with rusty skills and none heading off XC, particularly on light-wind days. Be vigilant. 

Posted: 12 May 2020
By: J. Schofield


Skywings news last updated: 19 July 2020 at 12:03:28 PM

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