Bulletin September 2013

Club Meeting

The next Club meeting is  at 20:00 on Thursday 10th October at St. Rumon’s.

Minutes of the Last Meeting

The minutes of the last meeting are here.

Photo Competition

Two months’ worth of results .

August’s winner was by Adie

Perran Speed

Perran Speed



















September’s winner by Ana

Playing in the sun

Playing in the sun

Quotation of the Month

On the theme of accidents and mistakes, here’s a good quote.

” It is the peculiar quality of a fool to perceive the faults of others and to forget his own.” Marcus Tullius Cicero



The AGM is coming soon. We will be voting for a new chairman, ( Dredgy’s 3 year tenure is now at an end), a new Secretary ( Chris W is going to be too busy) and a new bulletin editor ( we need a hangy  pilot to put the rigid’s point of view). Get your names in now before the big rush.


It’s Raymond’s 88th birthday the beginning of October. Happy Birthday to him. To celebrate he’s off to Turkey so will miss the next meeting. Ray, Bill N and I flew at Vault last week and I took this picture.

Bill and Ray

Bill and Ray


The BHPA latest news release is here. the BHPA Bulletin is here. The events calendar is here, and the BHPA homepage is here. The link to Skywings magazine is here. Download the new BHPA Elementary Training Guide here.

Safety Issues


How to be a safe Pilot

 By Adie

At the last meeting Steve Mcilduff (Safety Officer) was talking about safety, and it seemed that we were not getting the message, because out of 30 people at the meeting 5 of us have had a serious accident this year and this was not a very good percentage.

I don’t think any of the 5 including me would say that they were flying dangerously but had a lapse of reasoning and made a bad decision. Normally this decision is not a split second thing, there was a thought process that went with it and was made leading up to the accident. If we went through our thought process we will all see where it was flawed. Sometimes with experience comes complacency.

After my accident Phippsy pointed me in the direction of an article written in a book called the Pilots Training Manual, How to Survive a Career in Aviation. Ironically I own this book and never bothered to read it. It makes for a good read and I will just highlight some of the article here.


 Aviation is inherently dangerous; its one of the most dangerous things that you can do. It is sometimes forgiving; anyone who’s been in aviation for very long can tell you endless stories of pilots who suffered spectacular crashes and walked away from them. But Aviation does not forgive often enough, and it does not forgive with any sense of fairness. Pilots sometimes survive the grossest errors in judgment, while other times what seems like a simple mistake leads to a fatality.


You can survive a career in aviation. Furthermore what is required to survive is not any particular level of flying skill, or experience, or knowledge. Highly skilled experience and knowledgeable pilots kill themselves just as often as pilots with less of all these attributes. Only three things are required to be a safe pilot; the desire to be a safe pilot’ the understanding of where safety in aviation comes from, and the maturity and self discipline to act on your knowledge and desire.


Safety will often be as simple an act as just deciding not to fly, because on that day ,at that site, the conditions, or the site are just not comfortably enough within your abilities, or capabilities of your equipment. But if you really want to be a safe pilot, this is the kind of hard decision you have to make. This doesn’t mean that you will never try new things or never advance beyond where you are now. All pilots must “stretch the envelope” of their own skill and experience limitations in order to progress. But if you can pick your spots, give yourself an especially large extra margin for error when you venture into unfamiliar territory and evaluate the results of your decision on a continuing basis.


The problem is that safety is virtually entirely determined by the quality of pilot decision making, and pilots get rewarded for bad decisions. Look at it this way. For every situation in which you find yourself, each option you choose lies somewhere along a continuum of potential safety or danger. Good decisions are higher, bad ones are lower. Above some threshold level on that continuum, your success/survival rate is 100%.


However, at a point below that threshold, it may be only be 98% it is not good enough for long term safety. However at 98% the vast majority of your decisions will not result in a disaster and maybe not even any negative result at all. So what happens? You think you made a good decision. It had to be good decision (the right decision); it worked out, didn’t it? So when your decision at the 98% quality point (which is already not good enough) gets rewarded you lower your threshold to 95%. These get rewarded also (nothing goes wrong) and the threshold comes down further. Eventually, the laws of chance collide with your descending threshold, and you get caught. Maybe you’re lucky and it’s just an embarrassing accident that makes you look bad .Maybe you’re not so lucky and you get seriously hurt, or even killed.


So how does one address this problem as a safety conscious pilot desiring to survive?

What is required is that you actively involve in critically analyzing your decision both before and after the fact. You need to learn how to identify dad decisions that didn’t result in bad results


There is a saying that good judgment comes from experience and experience comes from bad judgement. Unfortunately, there is a lot of truth to that statement and many pilots (me included) only get conservative after they have seen or experienced a close call or accident first hand


Please read the full chapter it makes for some good reading I have the book if anyone wishes to borrow it.


I think by the end of the meeting some very good points were made.

If you do have an accident no matter how small report it so we can discuss it and see your thought process leading up to the accident, it may stop someone else doing it. Then we will take the piss out of you.

Steve felt that he had to constantly remind us about safety, this reminded me of my coaching course (and yes Fiona I did learn something’s from it)  We only retain 10% of what we are told so with my bad maths that works out that Steve has to remind us 10 times before we get it in our thick skulls

Phil Lyons made a very good  comment on Steve’s constant reminders about safety “how many accidents have you saved” and this goes for all of us  if you see someone doing something you deem to be  dangerous or  risky have  a word in their ear  you could save them or make them rethink the percentage game before they do it.


Aviation has made the world a lot smaller, but it is still pretty hard to miss it if you fall AC



At the last meeting I had a bit of a moan about feeling that safety wasn’t being taken seriously enough and that I felt that as a safety officer I wasn’t being supported. The reason for that was 1) hearing third or fourth hand about two members having accidents 2) the response of  pilots or other members when I  tackle an issue and 3) the number of accidents this year ( 5 club members plus 2 ex members). It’s not good for a safety officer when there are so many accidents. You begin to feel that you are not doing your job properly. I know sometimes the safety advice that is given out is basic and stating the obvious, I realise too that some of the recent accidents were due to exceptional circumstances, but most accidents are due to pilot error. It’s rare to get equipment failures or the type of dynamic weather conditions that cause big collapses of wings. So the emphasis of safety advice has to be a reinforcement of good practice. What is interesting, or concerning, is that all of the recent accidents have happened to experienced pilots. You would think that low airtime pilots would be the ones to make mistakes or bad decisions. This just goes to prove that no matter how many hours of flying you have, you should never be complacent.

Supporting a culture of safety within the club is something we can all do. We should learn from the mistakes and accidents of others, that’s why all incidents should be reported. We should intervene if we see other pilots doing things that may lead to an accident, after all you may save their life. It isn’t a matter of belittling anyone, we all make mistakes and poor decisions and sometimes we need someone else to make us see that. You should approach your flying with the correct attitude. It is not inevitable that you will have an accident. You don’t have to go to extremes to get pleasure from your flying, you can get satisfaction from doing the basics extremely well. Being able to take off and land effortlessly and elegantly will make the rest of the flight better as well as safer. SM


Firebird Eagle 2 – First Impressions  by Andy RogersEagle

Just to put this into context, I have been flying PG for over 3 years and have accumulated about 100 hours almost exclusively on my Ozone Buzz Z but also on a couple of other EN A and EN B gliders.  While the vast majority of my flying is at our coastal sites I have been venturing inland in search of thermalling and XC opportunities and for some time I have wanted to change my paraglider for something with a bit better performance but I don’t have enough cash to buy a new wing.


Step forward Simon Murphy of Simon Murphy’s Flying Circus!  Recently Firebird had decided to stop making paragliders in order to concentrate on their kite surfing market so Simon was left with a stock of brand new Firebird gliders to sell at knock-down prices.  Luckily for me he has some Eagle 2’s (the Firebird EN C glider) in my size and a range of colours.  A short drive to Devon saw me happily trading in my old Buzz Z in exchange for a brand new Eagle 2 in blue, yellow and white. I was surprised at how easily I parted with my trusted old friend, the Buzz.


Out of the bag my first impressions were that the lines were very, very skinny (dental floss sprang to mind) and the fabric was so smooth and light that it felt almost fluid.  The lines are a mix of sheathed and unsheathed with useful colour coding where it matters, in the lower parts where you want to be able to grab the correct lines in a hurry.  I also noticed that the brake handles are neoprene padded and have ‘acro handles’ fitted as standard, very useful.  While packing the glider and harness (an old Sup Air Evo XC) into the rucksack I found that the rucksack was much more narrow than I was used to and I hard to work hard to make everything fit.


I had to wait for 2 weeks before my first proper flight and this necessitated a 6 o’clock alarm call, sneaking out of the house and arriving at Perran before 7 o’clock. The wind was off to the North a bit but was still usable and blowing at 10-15 mph.  On launch the glider came up with little difficulty, although noticeably faster than the Buzz, and seemed easier to ground handle both backwards and when I’d turned around to launch.


In flight the Eagle 2 feels very solid with good feedback from the wing; there were no surprises today but I need to try the Eagle 2 out on a day that’s more lively before I come to a firm decision on this. It’s response to the speed bar is beautifully progressive and I was able to explore the full range of the ridge without any worries about not making it back to top land (I didn’t have time to walk up from the beach as I would have been late for work).  Even with full speed bar the glide performance didn’t appear to degrade at all; what a refreshing change.  The Eagle 2 is very responsive in turns and has given me confidence that I will find it easier to work thermals.  Within a few minutes I felt completely at home on my new glider and was able to throw it around the sky with gay abandon (no, before you ask ‘Gay Abandon’ isn’t Phil’s Saturday night alter ego) and despite the light lift I was easily back on top which is a hint of the much improved performance over the Buzz.


Pros:  Glide performance (with and without speed bar), turn response, comfy brake handles.


Cons: The rucksack is too skinny to comfortably take my harness and glider.


Mark B on his Eagle

Mark B on his Eagle

In summary, if you’re looking for a new paraglider and want to move up to an EN C wing then the Firebird Eagle 2 could be the glider for you.  Simon is offering some cracking deals and you could end up with a lot of glider for your money. AR

Forthcoming Events

27 people turned out for the end of summer do at Tricky Dickies, it was a great night the food was excellent the band were fantastic, the dancing was a bit iffy though

Due to the success, a few members have shown some interest for the Christmas do to be held there. The xmas menu is below, please tell me what you think and if you would be interested so we can send in a deposit. 

If you have some where else in mind we could discuss that as well at the meeting. We need to act fast if we want to book somewhere as they will be booking up fast.Could you all email me at adrian.chirgwin@sky.com so I can count numbers also email me if you are not interested so I can knock you off the list to save me ringing around later. We are hoping for a date of  Sat 14th Dec if we get our deposit in in time.  

Tricky’s website here. Location map here.

Christmas menu




Want a reason to take up Powered Paragliding, then watch this. It’s a PPG around the Roseland on a lovely sunny day.

The End