In the early days of flying in the Dales a note stuffed in the dry stone wall at the bottom of Windbank was used to tell people “where it was at” for the day. More recently, a shoutbox on the home page of the website was used to post quick messages on where you were going. This was removed in May 2020 as more functional and mobile apps took over.
1. Routine Communication
With the plethora of potential communication channels available now, unless it is tightly managed, key club information could easily become fragmented and difficult for members to keep track of. We therefore take the approach below.
“Formal” club communication
The website www.DHPC.org.uk is the authoritative source of information about the club. All club announcements, significant news stories and updates, releases of the club magazine Skywords etc will be on the website. Accurate site status, club contact details, instructions for visiting pilots and other potentially useful public information are on the publicly accessible area of the website. Members also have access to the forum, where they can share flying reports, photos/videos, detailed chat about flying plans, and general information. This area also includes safety reports, details of club meetings etc.
Keeping up to date with what is going on can be made easy by subscribing to notifications of new posts in the forum. To do this, go to the forum, click on the area you are interested in (eg General Discussions / Site Issues, etc) scroll to the bottom of the first page, and UNTICK Subscribe forum – the button will change to say “unsubscribe forum”. You can check which tabs you are subscribed to by checking your user control panel, accessed by clicking your username at the top right of the forum screen. Once subscribed you will receive e-mail notifications of new posts for that area of the forum.
What is it for?
“DHPC Flying Plans” is a place for DHPC members and visiting pilots to help decide where and when to fly in the Dales and beyond. It is intended as a place to share your thoughts, plans and site reports in order to help meet up with other pilots and get the best out of any free flying opportunities that arise.
Who is it for?
The group is intended for people who have attained at least a Club Pilot or equivalent rating, for either paragliding or hang gliding. All DHPC members are invited to join and contribute. Our club welcomes visiting pilots and the group is also open to pilots from neighbouring clubs and other BHPA members, as well as suitably-qualified visiting pilots from overseas.
Joining and leaving
Bear in mind that joining the WhatsApp group does not necessarily give you permission to fly at all DHPC sites. Please respect our site rules. All pilots should have third party insurance cover (included as part of BHPA membership) to fly at any or our sites. Landowners and your fellow pilots expect you to hold suitable (£5M) third party liability cover. Also as part of our negotiations with landowners a small number of our sites are designated as members-only. The latest information about our sites can always be found at www.dhpc.org.uk/site-guide .
It’s a fairly large group and can be quite active on and around good flying days. If the number of notifications bothers you remember that you can temporarily or permanently mute them in WhatsApp if you like. But if you decide to leave the group you can do so at any time – we’ll be sorry to see you go!
Posting and content
Experienced and novice pilots alike use this group to share thoughts and opinions about weather conditions and suitable flying sites, and to post site reports in “real-time”. Low airtime pilots and those new to the area may find the group useful to help with the process of meeting other pilots and choosing where to go flying. We aim to provide a friendly and supportive environment and encourage everyone to “have a go” and offer your own thoughts and suggestions rather than wait for someone else to tell you – it’ll help build your experience much more quickly, and you’ll find others more inclined to offer their advice and opinion if you do so.
It's quite a large group so it’s important not to stray off topic. For DHPC members the forum on our website is more suitable for in-depth discussion and analysis before and after flying, and other topics not directly related to going flying. Photos or screen-shots can be useful, for example to illustrate weather forecasts or site reports but people won’t necessarily thank you for posting lots of hi-resolution images, or video clips.
We do moderate the group and while we like to cut people a bit of slack please keep the banter to a minimum, it can easily get out of hand! However abusive or offensive posts will not be tolerated and moderators reserve the right to remove offenders from the group without notice.
It is possible that some important club announcements on the website will sometimes be linked from this group – but it should not be used as your source of all important information, as this is not its function.
DHPC Telegram XC Retrieve group.
For pilots going XC we have a Telegram group set up within the national XC retrieve system (XCRT.aero). This enables you to drop a pin with your location when you land out and say where you are trying to get back to. Again, this is open to non members. A key aspect of the system is that, if used properly, all pins will appear on the same map, making multiple retrieves easier. Instructions, and access to the group can be found through https://flyaszent.com/xc-retrieve/. Again, important club announcements on the website will sometimes be linked from this group – but it should not be used as your source of all important information, as this is not its function.
DHPC Facebook page
You can follow us at https://www.facebook.com/DalesHangGlidingParaglidingClub/ . This page is a social media presence for the club and is primarily used to signpost important announcements on the club’s website. Again though, it will NOT signpost ALL the information on the website.
In addition to these “formal” club groups, there are a number of smaller “flying buddy” groups set up by members that use telegram or WA. As you develop your own networks and buddies within the club and outside you may naturally join these groups, or indeed may form your own. The club has no control over these groups, and the channels detailed above will remain the sources of all club information.
Mobile phone coverage once you are out and about can still patchy in the Dales. https://checker.ofcom.org.uk/mobile-coverage will give you some comparative information on coverage and reliability of the network providers. Our southern sites generally have good coverage on most networks. There are free-to-use WiFi hotspots available for customers at pubs and cafés throughout the Dales. For the price of a pint of beer (after flying!) or a cup of tea and a cake you can browse all you like.
Pilots with 2m band radios are encouraged to use 143.850MHz when flying in the Dales.
2. Emergency Communication
The Emergency SMS service is designed to allow deaf people to text 999, but it could be very useful to us where mobile reception is patchy. You have to register first but it’s very easy - just text 'register' to 999 and wait for the text reply.
In a wider sense, you should also familiarise yourself with the Europe wide emergency 112 service (http://www.sos112.info/uk.htm) . As ever, beware of misinformation, even if it is well intended: http://www.mountainsafety.co.uk/EP-999-or-112-Which-is-Best-aspx#emergencysms