It is an unfortunate fact that a flying mishap can result in serious injury. When faced with an unconscious friend out on the moors in the middle of nowhere it will be too late to wish you had some idea of what to do and how to handle the situation.
Read these notes frequently. Download a copy of the Club Safety Card, print it out and keep it in your wallet.
Prevention is always better than cure. Be aware of your own experience, currency and limitations. Do not fly if the conditions are unsuitable for you; the primary requirement of living to become an old pilot is discretion.
If it becomes apparent that another pilot has less experience, be prepared to:
ADVISE where ignorance is apparent
ASSIST where necessary
EDUCATE where possible
Dealing with a Major Accident
1. TAKE CHARGE. Ideally a club coach should take charge, however anyone should be prepared to step forward. This prevents confusion and enables the incident to be tackled quickly and methodically. It also prevents multiple calls to the emergency services.
2. REMOVE FURTHER DANGER to yourself and then to the casualty and others. Do not become a second casualty. If the casualty is on high tension wires, on a steep cliff, or in rough water there may be nothing you can do other than get help. Be aware that whilst power line switchgear cuts out when a fault occurs, re-switching automatically tries to restore power. Get confirmation that power is off before attempting a rescue. In windy conditions stabilise a glider as follows:
a. HG. Secure the upwind edge of the wing or if the wing is facing the wind holding the nose wires. Unclip the pilot before moving the glider, detaching the base bar if necessary.
b. PG. Secure a trailing edge wing tip and drag it across wind then towards the pilot. Bundle the canopy and if necessary detach it from the pilot’s harness.
3. ADMINISTER ESSENTIAL FIRST AID (see first aid section). Keep it simple; attempting things beyond your experience might make things worse. Do not move anyone who may have a back or head injury unless they have stopped breathing or are in immediate danger. As the person in charge it may be better to delegate the job of providing first aid to someone more experienced, leaving you to co-ordinate.
4. CALL THE EMERGENCY SERVICES. Mobile phones and radios are extremely useful but do not always work. You should know the location of the nearest public phone. Send 2 people (if practical) to call the emergency services. Call 999 and explain the situation. You must have the following information written down: Casualty information (e.g. type/ extent of injuries and state of consciousness), grid reference, access information. One person should wait at the access point to guide the emergency services in whilst the other returns to the scene to offer the reassurance that help is coming. The quality of information supplied to the 999 operator will determine which services are sent and how quickly.
5. HELICOPTER EVACUATION. Where a helicopter is expected it is important to get all pilots out of the way with their equipment stowed safely. Those flying should be alerted by radio and should expedite their landing (PG using big ears to alert those without radios). A large ‘H’ should be constructed on the ground to tell pilots to clear the air and attract the helicopter. The ‘H’ should either be removed or secured prior to the arrival of the helicopter.
6. RECORD BUT DO NOT DISTURB EQUIPMENT. Use a camera, video, note book, or whatever means you have at your disposal to record the scene. This can be extremely unpleasant but it is essential to the investigation process.
7. IDENTIFY WITNESSES. Take names and addresses of all witnesses. Passers-by make good witnesses as their statements cannot be influenced by knowledge (or lack of it) of the activity.
8. GET WITNESS STATEMENTS. If possible take witness statements there and then. Keep witnesses apart to prevent conferring. Although it may seem counter intuitive, BHPA advice is NOT to sign police witness statements until you have taken legal advice. (The reasoning is that, having signed, you can be compelled to give evidence in court, and a hostile prosecuter could make you or somebody else appear liable.)
9. NOTIFY RELATIVES. In fatal or very serious cases leave this to the police. In less serious cases the person in charge should ensure that it gets done, ideally by someone who knows the relative. Follow up visits will be organised by the Club.
10. INFORM THE BHPA. Serious cases (including unusual equipment failures as well as accidents resulting in injury) should be reported to the BHPA using an Incident Report form within 48 hours, with a copy to the Club Safety Officer.
11. MEDIA. Often, especially at the scene of a fatality, the local or national press will appear. Give them a simple statement of fact along the lines of, “There has been a PG/HG accident and the casualty is being dealt with. The club will publish a statement in due course and can register your interest via the contacts list on our website.” They will attempt to press for more information but stick to your original statement and refer them on. Never speculate as to the cause: they may misquote you in order to make a good story, and the more you say the more they can get wrong! Resist the temptation to comment on Social Media.
We owe it to ourselves, and to other pilots to report all accidents & incidents, so we can all learn from each other’s mistakes and mishaps.
Historically, the sport has taken the view that it’s the responsibility of those involved in accidents to make the report.
Sadly we have many accidents and incidents which involve pilots who are untrained and/or not members of the BHPA and a local club. It’s safe to say these pilots are unlikely to report an accident.
If DHPC members see or hear about an accident or incident that isn’t likely to be reported please take the time to report what is known. It can do no harm, and will help us to keep tabs on how many rogue pilots are causing and suffering accidents.
Reporting can now be done online via the BHPA’s website. When you submit an online report you will receive an email acknowledgement containing all the details. For any reports of incidents that happen on Dales sites (or involve Dales pilots) please forward this to the Club Safety Officer.
(Courtesy of St. John Ambulance)
It is not within the scope of this handbook to teach you how to become a competent at First Aider. These notes are intended only as a guide. If you really want to make a difference, do a course. These are available from the St. John Ambulance and the British Red Cross.
Life saving Procedures
The priorities when dealing with a casualty are always the same:
A primary survey of a casualty will establish your priorities. If the casualty appears unconscious check this by shouting ‘Can you hear me; open your eyes?’ and gently shaking their shoulders.
If there is a response and there is no further danger, leave the casualty in position. Wait; most casualties will be able to discuss their injuries after a few minutes. If still dazed after 3 minutes call an ambulance. Treat any condition found and monitor vital signs - level of response, pulse and breathing. Continue monitoring the casualty either until help arrives or he recovers.
If there is no response shout for help. Check their breathing. It is better if you can do this without moving them, but you will probably have to turn them onto their back.
When dealing with an unconscious casualty you should open and maintain their airway as your first priority. If the airway becomes obstructed, possibly by the tongue falling to the back of the throat, then the casualty, unable to breathe, will die.
Open the airway by placing one hand on the casualty’s forehead, gently tilting the head back, and then lift the chin using 2 fingers only. This will move the casualty's tongue away from the back of the mouth.
Look, listen and feel for no more than 10 seconds to see if the casualty is breathing normally. Look to see if the chest is rising and falling. Listen for breathing. Feel for breath against your cheek.
If the casualty is breathing do not move them, unless you are sure that there is no spinal injury, in which case put them in the recovery position.
If the casualty has stopped breathing you can assist them by performing a combination of chest compressions and rescue breaths.
Give 30 chest compressions:
Place heel of your hand in the centre of the chest.
Place other hand on top and interlock fingers.
Keeping your arms straight and your fingers off the chest, press down by four to five centimetres. Then release the pressure, keeping your hands in place.
Repeat the compressions 30 times, at a rate of 100 per minute.
Give 2 rescue breaths:
Ensure the airway is open.
Pinch nose firmly closed.
Take a deep breath and seal your lips around the casualty’s mouth.
Blow into the mouth until the chest rises.
Remove your mouth and allow the chest to fall.
Repeat once more.
Continue resuscitation 30 compressions to two rescue breaths.
Do not stop unless:
Emergency help arrives and takes over or
The casualty breathes normally or
You become so exhausted that you cannot carry on.
Wounds and Bleeding
If bleeding badly, apply pressure, ideally with a clean/sterile pad to control the bleeding. Consider raising the limb if it isn’t broken.
HG pilots are particularly susceptible to head injuries and concussion; PG pilots to leg and spine injuries. Any indication of a head or spinal injury takes priority over other fractures and warrants immediate evacuation. Other fractured limbs should be supported as found, doing whatever makes the casualty comfortable. Do not attempt to correct any serious deformity.
In the case of a serious accident, and once you have treated any obvious injuries and called an ambulance, watch for signs of shock. These can take up to an hour to set in. The symptoms are: Pale face; Cold, clammy skin; Fast, shallow breathing; Rapid, weak pulse; Yawning; Sighing; In extreme cases, unconsciousness.
Lay the casualty down, raise and support their legs. Use a coat or blanket to keep them warm and comfortable – but not smothered. Do not give them anything to eat or drink. Check breathing and pulse frequently. Give lots of comfort and reassurance.
Severe hypothermia is often fatal whereas moderate hypothermia can usually be completely reversed, so it is important to recognise the early symptoms:
Shivering and pale; cold, dry skin.
Disorientation, apathy or irrational behaviour; occasionally belligerence.
Impaired consciousness or lethargy.
Slow and shallow breathing.
Slow and weakening pulse.
Warm them up with additional dry clothing, and insulate them from the ground. Administer warm drinks and high energy foods such as chocolate.
Aerial Collision Avoidance Regulations – Rules of the air
These are few and simple. They are a common sense way of avoiding collisions with other aircraft. Only the rules to do with avoiding other aircraft are illustrated here. As you progress through the pilot rating scheme you will become aware of others, together they are enshrined in law in the Rules of the Air (Rule 17) section of the Air Navigation Order.
The prime rule is that it is every pilot’s ultimate responsibility to avoid a collision with any other aircraft.
An aircraft shall not be flown so close to another aircraft as to create a danger of collision.
No formation flying unless all the pilots have agreed.
When required by these Rules to give way, an aircraft shall avoid passing over, under or ahead, of another unless well clear.
An aircraft that has ‘right of way’ under these Rules shall maintain its course and speed.
When approaching head-on
When approaching approximately head-on with a risk of collision both aircraft shall alter course to the right.
When two gliders are approaching each other in opposite directions on a ridge, the glider with the hill to his or her left should give way. The pilot with the hill on their right will be unable to make a right turn to avoid a conflict, (this is in fact not a legal rule but common sense).
When hill soaring the safest course of action is often to turn back rather than to overtake. If you do need to overtake you must give way, making sure you pass well clear of the other glider, allowing it enough room to turn. It may not be aware that you are there.
(The overtaking and head-on rules take precedence over this one.)
A powered aircraft shall give way to airships, gliders and balloons.
An airship shall give way to gliders and balloons.
A glider shall give way to balloons.
When two aircraft of the same classification converge at approximately the same altitude the one with the other on its right shall give way.
Give way to both gliders that are flying and especially to glider that are landing. Observe any specific sites rules for the separation of Paragliders, Hang gliders and other craft.
Conform to any prescribed landing rules or patterns for the site (see site guides and local site information boards). Land well clear of other aircraft.
An aircraft landing or on final approach has right of way over all other aircraft in the air or on the ground. The lowest aircraft of any on an approach to land has right of way provided it does not cut in front of, or overtake, any aircraft on final approach.
After landing you must clear the landing area as soon as possible. If somebody lands on your parked glider don’t expect an insurance claim to work to your advantage if you have simply left it in the way.
Overcrowding often manifest itself when several pilots are attempting to use a small area of lift. Keep a safe distance from other pilots and keep a good lookout. If the air is too crowded for you – it’s time to come down.
Only the rules to do with avoiding other aircraft are illustrated here. As you progress through the pilot rating scheme you will become aware of others. Together they are enshrined in law in the Rules of the Air (Rule 17) section of the Air Navigation Order.
A glider joining another in a thermal should circle in the same direction as that established by the first glider.
A glider below others in a gaggle does NOT have right of way, but gliders with other rising beneath them should be aware that they may not be visible to the gliders below and be prepared to take avoiding action.
Rules of the air vary significantly outside UK. Ensure that you are properly briefed on the rules that apply where you will be flying.
Airspace and Air Law
The Yorkshire Dales is a military low flying training area. This means military aircraft may undertake low level manoeuvres, usually in pairs or larger formations at high speed, between 250ft and 2000ft above ground level. Helicopters can fly down to ground level. This is the same height as most hang gliding and paragliding activity. Most of this flying takes place Monday to Friday, but in certain circumstances may also take place at weekends. Weekend activity is usually NOTAM'd by the RAF.
The dangers of all this low flying are obvious. To avoid a possible conflict, and the subsequent physical and political damage, a system known as the Civilian Air Notification Procedure (CANP) was set up some years ago (known incorrectly to some pilots as NOTAMs).
Don’t be frightened to list multiple sites and don’t worry about how many people will turn up (say 5+ if asked). They will need to know the following:
1. The date for the notification.
2. Activity: paragliding/hang gliding.
3. Site Name and grid reference.
4. The timings for the notification in local time.
5. Your name and a contact telephone number.
The RAF staff will acknowledge your notification by email with a reference number. Your notification will appear as a NOTAM of 2nm radius up to 2,000' AGL. This does not guarantee you exclusive use of the sky - it simply informs other pilots of your intentions. It's important to understand that all the boundaries are porous: there is nothing to stop you leaving and nothing to stop other pilots entering.
An example might look like this:
Please could I make the following notification for tomorrow; [Day/Date]:
1. Stags Fell - SD 870927. 2. Windbank - SD 966704. 3. Brant Side - SD 778866.
From 1000hrs - 1800hrs local.
Your phone number.
It is important that this procedure is used; failure to do so implies that there will be no gliding activity and as such, military pilots will not be expecting to encounter gliders. Although it doesn’t cover cross country flights it will alert military pilots to the fact that gliding activity is taking place.
If you feel that safety has been compromised because of an encounter with another air user then you should fill in a CAA AIRPROX Report and send it to the authority. This form is available from the Club Safety Officer and is your official notification and/or complaint to the authority.
1. A hang glider or paraglider shall not be operated in a negligent or reckless manner so as to endanger life or property, nor flown in such proximity to another as to create danger of collision, nor in formation without prior agreement of the other pilots.
2. An aircraft shall not fly over any congested area or town below a height that would allow them to glide and land clear of the area and without danger to people, or less than 1500 feet above the highest fixed object within 600m of the aircraft, whichever is higher.
3. An aircraft shall not fly over or within 3000ft of any open air assembly of more than 1000 persons.
4. An aircraft shall not fly closer than 500ft to any person, vehicle, vessel, or structure. (Exemptions exist for normal take-off and landing and for gliders hill soaring.)
Visual Flight Rules and Visual Meteorological Conditions
Gliders must fly under Visual Flight Rules (VFR). We can only operate in Visual Meteorological Conditions (VMC), which for us, below 3,000’ AMSL, normally means remaining clear of cloud and in sight of the surface.
Gliders are not permitted to enter or cross Airways or Air lanes. These are controlled airspace in the form of corridors 10 nautical miles wide. Permanent Instrument Flight Rules (IFR) apply at all times. The top and bottom limits of an Airway are given either:
a) As heights Above Mean Sea Level (AMSL) expressed in feet, usually for heights up to 3000ft.
b) As Flight Levels (FL). These are based on an atmospheric pressure datum of 1013.2mb and are defined as the altimeter reading in hundreds of feet. For example if an altimeter, is set to the pressure altitude (1013.2mb), reads 5,500ft this could be called FL55.
If the atmospheric pressure drops at sea level, then the air lane will drop its altitude (e.g. FL55 will be below 5,500ft - when the atmospheric pressure at sea level is below 1013.2mb). Remember, low pressure means low flight levels (by about 30’ per mb).
If you fly under an airway, remember that light aircraft tend to fly just below them to take advantage of their navigational facilities. They commonly adopt a starboard pattern, keeping to the right side of the airway.
Part of Amber 1 airway is within our area. Check a current air chart for details.
Aerodromes are surrounded by Controlled airspace with an Aerodrome Traffic Zone (ATZ) centred on the mid-point of the longest runway. Zones come down to ground level whereas Areas have a base at a specified height or flight level. In nearly all cases, permission is required to enter these zones and areas. Since most hang gliders and paragliders are not equipped with Airband radio, or practised in the procedures and rules that govern these Zones and Areas, you are not likely to be given permission to enter them.
As a general rule: IF IN DOUBT - STAY OUT.
Several aerodromes exist in the Dales area, both Civil and Military; check a current air chart for details.
A Danger Area is an airspace of defined dimensions within which activities dangerous to the flight of an aircraft may exist at specified times. If red and green star projectiles are fired in your direction this means that you are in, or about to enter, an active Danger Area and you must leave immediately or alter course to avoid the Danger Area.
Several danger areas exist in the Dales area, mainly around Catterick Garrison and to the North near Appleby. All pilots are strongly advised to purchase an up to date Aeronautical Chart to check the boundaries and periods of activity. The ‘if in doubt - stay out’ rule applies here too.
Areas of Intense Aerial Activity
Usually abbreviated to AIAA, these areas are just what they say they are. The one we have to be most concerned about is the Vale of York AIAA which is stuffed full with MATZ, Gliding Clubs, Microlights, airstrips and light aircraft (very often piloted by inexperienced pilots practising for their PPL). As at all times, it is important to maintain a constant vigilance. SEE AND BE SEEN.
Airspace restrictions and classifications do change from time to time so all pilots are strongly advised to purchase, and study, up to date issues of the relevant ICAO Aeronautical Charts for our area. These can be bought from most hang gliding and paragliding schools.
The charts most relevant for our area are:
ICAO 1:500,000 Sheet 2171AB Northern England and Northern Ireland.
1:25,000 charts are also available but it should be noted that these charts only show airspace below 3000ft.