Jump to content

Flying near airfields: an accident waiting to happen


Recommended Posts

Let me begin by saying I am posting here as a concerned fellow aviator and I’m not looking for an argument. Please take what follows it in the spirit it is intended.

It is my hope that posting here prompts some constructive discussion in the paramotor community and you can work together to educate and enlighten those among you that may need educating and enlightening. 

This last Wednesday evening, 31st May, while at Brimpton airfield, West Berkshire, I witnessed 3 paramotors fly in to the airfield circuit and proceed the wrong way downwind at approximately circuit height, before crossing the upwind leg heading towards a restricted area.

I understand this sort of incident is not all that uncommon at other airfields.

I can’t emphasise enough how dangerous this was. Consider an inbound aircraft descending in to the high workload environment of the airfield circuit at potentially over 100mph meeting a paramotor coming the opposite (wrong) way. It doesn’t take much imagination to see how that could end badly for both parties.

Of course we keep a lookout but an aircraft can cover quite some ground while glancing inside the cockpit at, for example, an airspeed indicator or flap position indicator, and, as I’m sure anyone that flies will be aware, it can be very difficult to see other aircraft low in the sky at the best of times.

We do have air/ground radio (many small strips don’t) so would have been able to warn any incoming traffic as to the potential conflict but our radio isn’t always manned and, in any case, it is not uncommon (nor is it a legal requirement) for aircraft to be non-radio.

I don’t imagine any right-minded person would knowingly endanger their lives and the lives of others in this way, or (if they didn’t change track) would deliberately fly in to the restricted area of a nuclear facility, so can only assume they were unaware of the potential consequence of their actions.

I’m sure that it is only a small minority of the paramotor community that are unaware of the dangers of flying in and around airfields but it only takes one person to cause an incident.

Another consideration if that if the CAA keep receiving reports of paramotors acting dangerously or being where they shouldn’t be, before you know it your sport could become as regulated as GA flying, and I’m sure that wouldn’t be well received.

For those of you that aren’t familiar with it already, www.skydemonlight.com is a free web based flight planning app. It could be a useful tool to familiarise with hazards and obstacles in the area you intend to fly.

Take care out there!

P.S. 

I do not intend to contribute further to this thread so if anyone has any questions please PM me

  • Upvote 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I was trained to consult the CAA airspace chart (which is displayed under the "members map" on this site) and then check NOTAMS for the local area. All pilots are also supposed to carry the relevant airspace map with them. I live inside the DTV ATZ and have to travel 4 miles to Huton Rudby to be clear of it. I then have 3 other local airports, including the Cattrick Garrison field, all of which I need to keep clear of.I have an AirWare electronic airspace 'satnav' that allows me to be absolutely certain of not straying into controlled airspace or the local fields. Also, I did my paramotor training on a small grass airfield in Spain, where we had to learn to share with fixed wings! 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The route flown was in class G airspace. Although I agree, not ideal... not illegal. I was taught when flying Paramotors, planes and helicopters to keep a good look out. :-) 

Crikey, imagine if it were a Chinook what the closing speed would be.  (an issue we have to consider always as pilots I guess) but one that we deal with often at Membury which is most certainly the most active paramotor field in the country, with 3 active school planes, an active school heli, 20 odd private planes, and of course random people dropping in. (not always using the correct circuit or even runway I may add)

I do like to default to 'protecting club member' in cases like this and this to me seems like someone who is just upset and is unaware that the pilots concerned would be able to hold there own in an airspace and navigation pub quiz against any PPL pilot. :-) 

He has also wrongly 'assumed' that the track change to avoid the 'actual' airspace was accidental when in fact it was a part of a plotted route.  

In summary:

1. It's always a good idea to give runways a good bit of clearance even if in class G airspace.  

2. No law was broken here, all pilots acted legally ( I am sure the CAA would say the same if a complaint was made also ) 

3. Below is the CAA's definition of Class G Airspace 

In the UK class G airspace is uncontrolled. This means there are no restrictions on:

  • which aircraft can enter it,
  • what equipment the aircraft must carry,
  • the routes taken by the aircraft.

SW :D 

 

  • Upvote 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I was really with the original poster until he said this...

"Another consideration if that if the CAA keep receiving reports of paramotors acting dangerously or being where they shouldn’t be, before you know it your sport could become as regulated as GA flying, and I’m sure that wouldn’t be well received."

 

 I don't deny there were better areas for these guys to have been flying however if no aircraft was operating at the time (there was no mention of this being the case) then they were not "being where they shouldn't be" and "acting dangerously" is purely an individuals opinion. Present this to the CAA and they will tell you to stop wasting their time. Take a look at the CAA's CAP793 and you will find the advisory information that is good common sense recommendation. Yes, we should up our game to to comply with this non-mandatory guidance but lose the stick waving tone, The rest of the post was spot on.

Edited by MagMen
  • Upvote 3
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

 Share



  • Upcoming Events

    No upcoming events found
×
×
  • Create New...