Bulletin October 2013

Club Meeting

The next Club meeting is  at 20:00 on Thursday 14th November at St. Rumon’s

Minutes of the Last Meeting

The minutes from the last meeting are here.

Photo Competition

Fantastic photo this month featuring a textbook asymmetric inflation by a popular virile club member. A fiver is just not enough recompense for the enjoyment you will get from looking at it.

Asymmetric Launch

Asymmetric Launch

Quotation of the Month

The faults of the burglar are the qualities of the financier. –George Bernard Shaw


Pilot Exam Result

Well done to Wyn Davies. After his success in ‘It Ain’t Half Hot Mum’ and his foray into the charts with Don Estelle, Wyn turns his talents to passing the pilot exam.

Election of Club Officers

At the AGM in January 2014 we will elect members for all the following positions. If you want to propose yourself or someone else for those posts please let Dredgy/Daisy/Chris W/ or Steve M know as soon as possible so we can let  everyone else know who is in the running . It’s your club and you all have a chance to decide it’s future.
Election of Officers.
Chief Coach:
Club Contact:
Treasurer & Membership Secretary:
Bulletin Editor:
Web Master :
Publicity Officer:
Safety Officer HG:
Safety Officer PG:
Sites Officers:
Competition Secretary HG:
Competition Secretary PG:
XC Co-ordinator:
Social Secretary:


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

Praa Sands

Jerry Ovens has spoken to the Senior ATCO at Culdrose regarding flying at Praa Sands (inside the MATZ). Providing someone calls 01326 552415 prior to flying and on completion there should be no problems. It should be noted that the number is only manned when Culdrose is open for flying. If there is no answer on that number then carry on flying!

Accidental Reserve Deployment

At Chapel Porth a paraglider pilot suffered an accidental reserve deployment. It seems that the deployment handle got caught in a taller bit of the gorse and as the pilot moved the reserve was pulled out. This is an inconvenience after landing, but, had it happened prior to take off, could have been disasterous. For all pilots the last thing you should do immediately before every flight is to check your helmet, harness and reserve.


Fly Piedrahita 

By Jon Speake

Piedrahita Take Off

Piedrahita Take Off

Last month I went on a paragliding trip with the military to get my first experience of XC flying.  The expedition was organised by jerry Ovens who selected Piedrahita in Spain, a location with world record flying distance potential and hoped that many of the participating pilots could achieve personal best distances.  The location lived up to expectations providing superb weather, high cloud bases and excellent thermals for the whole week.

The support, accommodation and local guiding  was provided by Steve Ham through his company “Fly Piedrahita” and his whole set up proved to be exceptional,  giving  great service and support throughout.  The accommodation was in house located on the edge of the small medieval town of Piedrahita which was very well placed for easy access to the local bars and restaurants but more importantly only about 100 yards from the town landing site allowing great freedom and ready access to the accommodation on completion of some flights.

The daily routine was dependant on the expected conditions but generally commenced with a thorough briefing at the accommodation around 1100, discussing the conditions and suggested best routes for long XC potential.  Following this the transport took us directly to the launch site, 5km above the village on a winding road taking about 20-30 minutes.  There was the opportunity to fly 3 times a day, the first generally being a top to bottom back to the village if the thermals were not forecast to pick up early in the day.  The main flight of the day usually commenced shortly after lunch and offered the opportunity to fly NE to Avilla or SW to Barco (and return on many occasions). Pilots were regularly airborne for 3-4 hours achieving distances of up to 90 km.  Height gains of up to 5000 feet above launch (and much more after descents into the valley) were consistently achieved throughout the week.  Steve Ham would launch with the group and provide guidance to all,  but primarily lead more experienced pilots to potentially attain long XC distances.

Fly Piedrahita supplied GPS trackers, which not only provided information to the recovery drivers but also a real time feed to the internet allowing those that banged out early to enviously watch the progress of their colleagues or study the successful route selections for subsequent flights.  The recovery drivers were extremely helpful, and since our group consisted of 12 pilots, Steve had provided 2 drivers which resulted in very little waiting time at the end of most XC flights.

The final flight of the day was usually around 1800 and came courtesy of the restitution provided as the valley released the thermal energy it had accrued during the day – some pilots achieved another 2 hour flight and some considerable distances on the more generous days.

Piedrahita landing

Piedrahita landing



I arrived at Piedrahita with only 17 hours flying experience, most of which had been achieved ridge soaring on coastal sites.  By the end of the week I had achieved another17 hours of flying, regular height gains of 5000 feet (at up to 1200 fpm) and an XC flight of 65km on the final day after I eventually made it across the pass and progressed NE to Avila.  The more experienced pilots achieved a great deal more!

I thoroughly enjoyed the week, had a number of new experiences (flying!), learning some new skills as well as completing a large number of Task Book requirements.  Although I have no experience of other XC venues I would thoroughly recommend this as a location and particularly Steve Ham and  Fly Piedrahita (www.flypiedrahita.com).


 OPINION by Ex French champion, designer and test pilot for Ozone, David Dagault

A recent article in Parapente magazine made me reflect. The editorial team asked, “Safety, what do you think?” In doing so they gave me the chance to speak, so I took it! It allowed me to help others a little and there’s a tiny little bit of ego that likes to grab the opportunity too.


I’ve been flying for 20 years, and. in those years I’ve seen the sport evolve: equipment, pilots, mental approaches, testing regimes, techniques. Yet despite this drive to make the sport safer, accidents continue to happen. Most of my paragliding friends are experienced. Some of the time, a few of them fly competition wings, but they don’t do competitions any more. Why do they continue to fly race wings, which they can’t use to the full potential? The category below LTF 2-3 or EN D would be more than enough.                                   “But they don’t fly as well, the feeling is not as good!”   they tell me. What’s not said, but is often the internal argument that carries the biggest weight is, “I’m the local top dog, with the biggest willy, and I don’t envisage belittling myself by flying,a wing in a lower category!”

From developing all of the Ozone range, from school to competition glider, I’ve got some idea of the differences in performance between the categories. Nowadays a 2-3 (or D) flies just about like a comp wing, especially if the pilot only uses the first part of the speed system.

Climb rate and min sink? There is a small difference, but in very strong thermals close to the slopes, we finish our 360 on a wing with an AR of 6 whilst we move away from the slope and crap ourselves on a wing with an AR of 8!

Feeling? Yes, there is a difference. But even if we have a little less of the slippery glide feeling with a wing in a lower category, all of a sudden we have better handling, more of a solid feeling, we tire ourselves out less and we fly for longer.

To put it in an extreme way: we feel better in the air under a 2-3 wing than we would in a hospital bed, no? Easily said, but true. It’s when you’ve spent several weeks in a hospital that you become aware of the little things that you take for granted in more normal times. After years of discussion, hoping for a change, I’m pleased to see that the: majority of my friends have followed this path . and have never equalled the pleasure they now experience under less demanding wings. And me, contemplating the world and my friends around me, I feel better.

I’ve taken the example of the difference between a comp wing and a 2-3, but it’s true at all levels. It would be in the interests of all pilots on LTF 2 gliders to consider dropping down to 1-2s.


There are no ‘holes in the air’ or ‘inevitable collapses’, there are only pilots, flying with equipment more or less suited to their level, with more or less experience, in conditions more or less turbulent than they can handle. It’s difficult for me to go back to basics on the subject of equipment as I get the impression that this goes in one ear and out of the other! Ego and pride do not make for a good mix with paraglidingl There’s a small risk here of buying a Ferrari to park outside to impress the neighbours, but that same risk gets even greater when we ‘over equip’ or buy above our skill level in paragliding.

Flying with equipment suited to your ability is the key to everything!

It’s easier to take off, it’s less tiring to fly and you get more from flying. In flight you’re more at ease, so you concentrate more on what’s happening around you, where you are going, how to maximise your climbs, the ongoing changes in conditions, or simply enjoying the view of the countryside. Less stressed, not so tense, makes for more pleasure!

A wise old man once said (No, it was Jocky Sanderson actually) “it’s better to fly a wing with a glide ratio of 8 at 100% than to fly an 8.2 wing at 50%.” Have you ever calculated the difference in height after a transition of 5 km at 36 km/h between two wings with a half a point (which is enormous) glide angle difference? Answer: 19 metres! (Difference is based on a glide angle of 11 for the better/comp wing versus a 2-3/D level wing) Buying higher level equipment is a very poorly thought out way to go! I’m sure if we put all pilots on gliders one level down, we’d do better on all levels!

Experience cannot be bought, it’s acquired over the passage of time. Flying hours are important, but the variety of sites flown and the types of flights made also feature. Fly elsewhere, change your habits, make yourself think about things, analyse them, and then share your thoughts with others. Do the various flying courses to hone your skills, your feel for the air and your understanding of your wing. Flying is a very perception based activity where high demands are placed on your senses. To be able to see better, thus work out more effectively what is happening, will lead to better reactions. Courses on cross country flying, SIV and trips away are all good for feeding your mind full of new things which will allow you, in difficulties, to have already worked through the situation and to manage things better (less stressed, having the right reactions).

Spend flying time on the ground! Ground handling is a fantastic way to develop your feeling for a wing, and an understanding of the machine. To be at ease with the wing on take off is a great indicator of the level of glider control in the air, there is no doubt about this. When you can do what you want with your wing on the ground, it will be the same in the air, and vice versa. If your take offs are dodgy, then you can say that the main risk you face in the air is from the wing above your head.

“It is better to be on the ground regretting that you haven’t taken off, than to be in the air regretting that you have!” runs the old saying that’s made the whole world smile. Have you already experienced its truth? I hope not otherwise it won’t make you laugh anymore. If today isn’t good, tomorrow’s another day. If it’s a poor spring or summer, there will be other springs where you can fly every day. Anything that makes us put ourselves on the limit is not a hobby.

It’s not just a combination of all the above that affects your chances of a safe and successful flight. Your current emotional state of mind plays just as big a part in determining the outcome of your day. Were there lots of good looking women on take off (or if you’re a woman, lots of admiring glances from the SAT guys)? Or were your friends egging you on to show them your latest cool acro stunt? Maybe you were still a little bit hung over? Or had you already made several aborted attempts at take off and were hot, sweaty and a bit nervous. Or are hassles in everyday life getting on top of you at the moment? There’s a whole heap of reasons you could be tied up with. In the air you are under a wing you control for better or for worse, so it’s a good idea not to burden yourself with other useless baggage.

• Paragliding must only be a pleasure, never frightening or painful.

• It’s you who is participating, it’s you in the air, it’s your equipment, your experience, your decisions, your physical condition and your state of mind at that moment that make the difference.

• Give yourself a bit of a margin. The higher you are, the more slack you can cut yourself. Pay attention to the topography. A gently sloping hillside means you’ll need to move out a little bit, to give yourself that crucial space beneath your feet, Just in case. That extra margin for error is also a great way to reduce stress and risk. • Anticipate! Learning to counter a collapse is not the only safety precaution. Prevention is far better than the cure. Only ever fly in the conditions where your abilities will not be exceeded, and fly actively. Having control of your wing in pitch and roll is the key to active flying. Those aspects are helped by the hours of ground handling you’ve done. A collapse is a pilot error, an event you should have anticipated and then prevented.

• Conditions change. Even though conditions were perfect for you when you took off at 11 am, one hour later it could be a completely different story. Conditions can change in a  spectacular fashion! The wind could have become surprisingly strong, creating a convergence, there could be a wind shear or cu-nims may be forming close by.

• You change. Flying is stressful and consequently very tiring. Generally the less experienced you are the more tiring it is. Your flying ability and capacity for analysing and decision-making will deteriorate with fatigue and stress. This is when accidents happen. Monitor your mental and emotional condition in the air and if you think you are tiring, go down and land.
One final word goes to my fellow professional test pilots. There’s a golden rule we need to remember all the time. It’s not a competition to look better, or test lower, than our colleagues, so give yourself a bit of a margin with the terrain, and listen to each other. If today isn’t top notch don’t force it, tomorrow will be another day. Once again, I reiterate: paragliding must always be a pleasure, never a fear or a pain.

(We have permission to reproduce some of the old XC articles, so if you see something interesting, let me know. Below is the exchange of e~mails between myself and XC Mag

Hello Ed, thanks for that, very good of you. I know many of our members get your mag, but for those that don’t, reproduction of interesting articles may lead them to it. By the way the ‘Tuesday Tip’ is excellent, we featured it in the bulletin late last year and I hope many of our members have subscribed to it.


Steve McIlduff

From: Stephen McIlduff <s.mcilduff@btinternet.com>

Subject: using xc mag content.

Hello. I compile the bulletin for our club, Kernow Hang Gliding & Paragliding Association (KHPA). One of our members sent an article for inclusion in the October edition. I found out it is from edition 121 page 67, ‘opinion’ by David Dagault. I have included it the bulletin, with proper reference and credit to your magazine, but I thought I should contact you to get your permission to keep the article on our website and bulletin. Our website is www.khpa.co.uk, and the link to the bulletin is http://www.khpa.co.uk/?page_id=2403.
If you want me to remove the copied article I will do so immediately, but I feel that the inclusion of the article is a positive thing for your magazine.
I look forward to hearing from you.
Regards S.McIlduff

From: “Ed Ewing, xcmag” <editor@xcmag.com>
To: s.mcilduff@btinternet.com
Sent: Tuesday, 5 November 2013, 8:53
Subject: RE: using xc mag content.

Hi Steve,


Thanks for your email – no problem at all, happy to have it out there. We get a bit huffy if people rip off the current magazine and post it online (people pay for it, they get annoyed if they see it online before it’s come through the door…), but this is old archive content, so no problem.


If you ever want to reproduce any articles for training and club nights etc, then give me a shout. We can do a pdf with our logo and your logo for you to print out. We’ve done it for things like the Big Fat Repack for Thames Valley Club etc,


Cheers and all best







Another scary but informative video here. Goes with the safety item above about final checks before you take off.

The End