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And so the season begins... I have just had a call from Enforcement that they are investigating a report from the Senior Duty Manager at Denham. At 1330 on Sunday the 18th Feb a paramotor was observed within their circuit pattern (over the lakes area according to the description) for 30 minutes. It caused all sorts of carnage to their operations. I don’t have any more details as yet however I will speak to Denham later and try to do a bit of placating. Does anyone here have any knowledge about this?

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Hopefully, nobody posted their youtube video of it ?

Seriously though, with no identification markings, it will be difficult to find the culprit.

Hopefully, this is not a regular occurrence because if it becomes so, regulation may ultimately follow.

Flying into an ATZ is a bit clumsy though. They are fairly small and not difficult to navigate around or over.

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I'm probably quite fortunate where I live in that there's only one small active airfield which I simply treat as a no-go zone, but what I don't understand is, firstly if that was someone flying locally, they have no excuse that area is a ATZ minefield.

Even if this was an untrained person, 10 minutes googling how to fly a paramotor would highlight this sort of info.  Also when they were flying, presumably they saw an airfield with planes around on the ground or in the air.  I can't believe that even the most stupid person on the earth wouldnt go through the thought process of 'oh look an airport, I hope it's okay to fly here!'  

Secondly the other potential is that it was someone flying in unfamiliar airspace.  Even me as a complete novice, my very first thought is.....check an airmap, get an idea of what sort of airspace im gonna be flying in.  Is it and area I can even fly in at all.....is it an area I can fly in but is so dotted with controlled airspace that it's simply not worth it.  or is incompletely free and open and I can go have some fun.

This surely can't be a case of naivety, you can't get into flying paramotors without any consideration at all into the rules of the air and airspace.  I get it if this was someone doing an XC and by miss-judgment strayed into an area they shouldn't be, but surely not someone who simply doesn't know any rules.  It can only be the XC error or someone who just doesn't give a flying f*** and is one of these people that thinks they can do what they like.   And if it's the latter, lets hope they are identified and shopped and get a big fine.  If it was an error and oversight then I still hope they are identified but instead some friendly education is given.

 

Andy.

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Absolutely, but how many people actually carry paper maps now, I bet it's not many.  I used to carry cut up section in my leg map pocket.  But I don't think I ever used it, i relied on GPS.  (Never did any XC's)

I'm willing to bet that this 'pilot' didn't have a paper map with them.....or a clue  xD 

 

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Some year back I managed to fly into an ATZ Southend airport was subsequently shut down for two hours. So basically I took off with map in hand no glasses and managed to turn up and follow the wrong river and infringed the Southend airspace. Kinda knew how wrong I’d in fact got it when they were waving at me from the control tower. Anyways I landed got in phone and said it was me they were very pleased I had called and advised that they would have to contact CAA. A week later a CAA man called me and we had a lengthy conversation and he then said it would have to go to their enforcement team their police but again a nice polite informative conversation both ways. A few days later a had a phone call and a meeting was set up at my home with their policeman. We had about a three out meeting I showed him my gear and we spoke about the infringement at length looked at maps of the area and his recommendations were that I spoke with Southend ATC and a stern warning not to fly over the upcoming Olyimpics as he predicted I wouldn’t survive. So another week passed and was then invited to Southend ATC for a meeting with the manager we were shown around ATC and had a good chat about what we do. We then agreed that we would call ATC everytime we fly so that they would be aware of us and direct air traffic to be on look out. 

This work well so well in fact when Southend extended its ATZ which took in our field we were invited back for another meeting to discuss a way that we could continue using our field a fly. An agreement was drawn up with CAA approval which we sign every year and it’s working well. 

None of this would have been possible if 

a, I didn’t own up b, talk and listen c, by new glasses. 

My point I’m trying to make is yes we are all annoyed at what’s happened and I’m sure the culprit is equally annoyed at what his actions have caused but hanging them out to dry is not really the best action, but rather educate and talk (& listen) to all involved maybe the culprit would be more likely to own up if he she knew the outcome would be good rather than a punishment. 

Just saying from experience 

Neilzy

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Good post Neilzy.  A good example to all. I suspect a lot of paramotor pilots assume that the rest of the aviation world hates them and are therefore best avoided but actually, when you do make contact with a local airfield or ATC, it seems that they are generally really happy to hear from you and they are more interested in helping you to fly safely and giving useful advice than getting in your way.  That's their job after all. There are a few grumpy old men who hate these 'unregulated cowboys' but I think they are a minority.  Actions like Neilzy's actually do a lot to help the reputation (the owning up, not the infringement!).  

I recently crossed to the dark side and have been doing some fixed wing training.  I initially kept quiet about my PPG experience thinking it would go down badly but actually, everyone is really interested in it.  What I've learned from my experience of crossing over is that there's far more support than you realise and if in doubt, get on the phone and you may be surprised at the positive and welcoming response you get.

However, that said, maybe I'm just lucky!

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