Pilot Briefing Notes

General Points and Principles

1. All pilots have individual responsibility to obey Aviation Law, to abide by the BGA Laws and Rules, and like it or not , obey the Laws of Physics.

2. If you stick to these , and apply all the priniciples you have learned through your BGA approved training and your previous mistakes ( experience), you should have no problems at all. In fact you may not need to read on, having no risk whatsoever of breaking anything, or hurting yourself or other people. The following notes are more for those other people.

3. Aha- still reading! You are an ambassador for Edensoaring. Please don’t make noise - gliders with engines must not use them to launch themselves ( a Planning condition). You may not use your engine within 5 nautical miles of, and below 1000 feet above the site at Skelling Farm (which is 600 feet above sea level). Please don’t scare animals or people and don’t abuse the ridge-soaring exception to get closer to people, animals, or structures than you really need.

4. Gliding is an adventure sport with its own risks. Landing out is a normal part of gliding. We (all of us please) help retrieve pilots who land out, we don't make fun of them like small-minded non-soaring pilots do.

5. Edensoaring encourages young people and disabled people to become involved in gliding.

6. All members, including visiting reciprocal daily members, are asked to share in the effort of running the site such as retrieving launch cables, landed gliders, help at the launch point, etc, etc. Help in winching may be appreciated at times, but please ensure that you are regarded as an "approved Skylaunch winchdriver" first.

Visiting pilots from other clubs should ideally be current particularly in winch-launching, and skilled in launching/landing in cross-winds. Your expectations may be best discussed with your own CFI, club group instructor if coming with one, or our own instructors. However, the decision of our own CFI or Duty Instructor would be final.

Instruction in a club two-seater will be available from our Instructor Team. Site checks will be available if required in line with the Flying Orders. Training for visiting pilots, for example to gain currency in winch launching or flying in cross winds, hill or wave soaring, will be available. We use a combination of the old "list system" where pilots take pot luck and fly in order of the names on the list and also booking via our bookings co-ordinator by email (phone number TBA).

Good Airmanship

All pilots flying P1 must comply with Aviation Law so individual preparation must include Notams and weather forecast relevant to the intended flight, and flying with an up to date aviation map showing airspace. The current CAA 1:500,000 chart for the area should be carried.

Good preparation before visiting should include revision of "Safe Winch Launching" on the BGA website. Read it, watch the video clips and do the quiz. (Again)

Good preparation would also include studying "Site Information", the "Aerial Photo" and "A Walk Around The Site" which can be found on the Information, Pilot Information menus on this website. Why not print them out and bring them with you so that you can literally have your guided "walk around the site" before you fly at Skelling - but please don't disrupt flying.

We keep a 50m width free of obstructions at each end of the site for approaches, marked by traffic cones. Feel free to move on any people / cars / gliders who are loitering there!

The Winch Launch

1. Prepare for “eventualities” such as cable break/launch failure. see 7. below

2. It is the pilot’s responsibility to check that the weak link is the correct one for the glider.

3. The winch is very powerful and can provide rapid acceleration in the early phase. Ensure straps are tight and, in line with current BGA advice, be ready with hand on release knob to release if the wing starts to go down. The tendency for the wing to go down may be ameliorated by asking the wing tip holder to keep the wings parallel to the slope of the ground ( rather than actually horizontal), if there is one.

4. Control the rotation into the climb, using the advice to be found in the BGA’s “Safe winch launching” . Essentially it means taking about 6 seconds to achieve the full climb of approx. 40 degrees.

5. Our current practice is for the launch marshall to give the glider type and cable to the winch driver by CB radio at the launch-point. Unless the winch confirms this informatiom the launch cannot proceed further. Launching is signaled by lights ONLY.  A downwind radio call from any returning glider , on 129.975, is appreciated. If you able to stay soaring nearby then it would be very courteous to ask if launching is planned before electing to approach the airfield for a landing.

6. The strip is relatively narrow, and cross winds common. PLEASE THEREFORE ENSURE THAT YOU “LAY OFF THE DRIFT” so that the cable drops inside the field.

7. Eventualities:- When launching from Skelling you should reconsider the knee-jerk reaction of "turning downwind". IF a turn is appropriate after  recovering attitude and acheiving a safe manouvering speed. We recommend a turn to the western side of the field and to consider the options for diagonal uphill landings. Please ask the Duty Instructor if this is not explained and understood.

Getting Away

Before flight, consider which part of the hill to use to get away, depending on wind direction. Feel free to talk to people who know the hill well.

Consider what the minimum safe height might be to allow safe return to Skelling if you fail to soar ( we would recommend a 800ft , above site, minimum. Remember Skelling is approximately 600 feet amsl.

There should be copies of 1 inch maps available to allow a clear understanding of the local gullies and knolls which can help or hinder one’s attempts to soar.

The Clutching Hand effect can be found if one ventures too far into a gully, or into the curl-over on the down-wind side of a knoll. When low, short beats and turns in lift are safest. All too often we see people turning in sink at the end of their beat.

Soaring the ridge

From a distance the ridge looks like a simple escarpment. It is in reality quite a complex one, with indentation by gullies or valleys, and local escarpments found at low level up to the highest levels. THERE ARE LARGE EXPANSES OF SHALLOW SLOPES which provide the greatest risk. They can tempt one to fly close and slow to increase the chance of soaring, whilst reducing the options for safety. Please have a look at some of the photos available and compare them with the 1 inch maps. The top of the hill is generally quite flat and very expansive moorland. It should not need to be said that care must be taken to avoid inadvertent drift across it in westerly winds.

Soaring below hill-top means losing one’s horizon, or perhaps using a local “horizon” which is far from horizontal. Speed control takes extra care here.

Cloud-base can often be below the hill-tops, and the scene can be quite grey. Flying near cloud-base in these conditions increases the risk of head-on collisions. LOOK OUT! Why not stay that bit further away from cloud-base? Orographic cloud can develop very quickly and surround your glider in seconds.

Keep your soaring and safety options in mind at all times. Field selection is relatively easy in the middle part and southern parts of the ridge, but the fields are less good in the last 10 miles further North towards Castle Carrock, particularly close to the hill where they tend to be small and undulating. Remember that ground level varies and is usually 600 to 700 feet amsl near the foot of the hill but can be higher in places. Again some preparation may be advisable to check heights of potential landing areas.

There is a microlight strip at Glassonby (frequency 129.825, East/West runway, low at the ends, there is an aerial photo on Pete Whitehead's photo gallery. ) about 3 miles out from the Hartside Bowl. There is another microlight strip at Bedlands Gate (frequency 129.825, field slopes to west, NW runway downhill), to the east of the M6 NE of Shap. Both owners, Robin Rowley, and Hugh Lowther,respectively, are friendly and helpul to us.

Carlisle Airport may be available for landing but you would need to have an RT Licence and use 123.6 before entering their ATZ. Not advisable as you would have no crew to remove the glider from an active runway. Holding up the traffic will be unwelcome and costly. A true motor glider should be OK there.

Returning to the site

At the northern end, watch for the optical illusion as you approach at too shallow an angle over the upsloping, unlandable, "undershoot" field.

At the southern end please avoid overflying gilders waiting for a launch. If you can't avoid this then please maintain a safe height above them and land long. 

Danger Area D407

It is not permitted to enter the Danger Area ( Warcop) at the southern end of the ridge. It extends up to 10,000 feet amsl for good reason, artillery and tank shell fragments, as well as their target fragments travel skywards to this level. It is your responsibility to avoid entry, and advisable to mark your map and know the extent on the ground before flight. SeeYou or similar PDA programmes are helpful here.

However, after 1 pm local time on Sundays ( only) there is no activity and we can use the full extent of the ridge. We may be able to have some local agreement for access at other times in the future. *See "Access to Warcop 20xx" in the "information for pilots" menu.

Other Airspace

Please use an up to date CAA map for Northern England.

We can climb to FL 195 over the site and over the Pennines. The base of the Airway N601, to the west of us and over the Lake District, is FL 125 ( negotiations may allow this to rise to perhaps FL 140 in future) in the daytime, and lowers to FL 95 between 2000 and 0700 local time. Please check your map re this, we take no responsibility for the accuracy of this information which can be obtained from the CAA charts.


We are here to have some serious fun, and do it time and time again, in safety. Hope you enjoy flying at Edensoaring!

22.10.2015 JC

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