Bradwell flying Sunday 28 May

Bradwell flying Sunday 28 May


Whilst at the committee meeting at the gliding club on Sunday evening we were approached by one of the senior insrtuctors at the DLGC to complain about what he saw as a shocking display of airmanship by paraglider pilots on that day.


It was not the all too common complaint about pg pilots interfering with the winch operations or obstructing the landing approach which is covered by the notices displayed on the hill but rather an unusual problem caused perhaps by ignorance, and by the unusual conditions of the day.


Usually when pgs are soaring the ridge and finding bits of lift we are only a couple of hundred feet above the edge and when thermals begin to kick in we circle up to base and spread out so that there is plenty of space. Sailplanes can thus normally launch  and release at their usual height of 800 to 100 feet above the edge (2000-2200 ft asl) and have clear air to carry out their sport and the exercises that they are working on. They can soar the ridge and seek lift at around that height and plan and carry out their circuits with minimal interference from pgs.


On Sunday however it appears that patches of lift were enabling pgs to attain and maintain just about that height so that even a few would have created issues for sailplane pilots. However it seems that there were more than a few, almost stationary at this critical height, above the gliding club end of the ridge (Durham edge) for some extended periods. This meant that the pilots in sailplanes, often trainees, could not soar the ridge and find time and space to plan or execute their circuits safely and so were struggling to carry out their sport without endangering themselves and us!


It was pointed out again that sailplanes have no choice about where they take off and land and if we do not give them space to operate disaster will ensue at some point. They would like us to stay clear of Durham edge altogether but are realistic enough to know that this is a big ask in some conditions and that if we understand their problems and practices we can fly with little interference in one another’s activities.


So if you really must go to that end of the ridge…please…


  • Do so only in small numbers and try not to cluster together particularly in front of the winch or above the ridge.
  • Push out from the ridge as much as possible.
  • Don’t hang about in the gulley between Bradwell edge and Durham edge (landing approach)
  • Don’t circle back over the gliding club field below 3200 asl.
  • Be aware of the issues above at around the height that the winch is releasing.



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