Due to the requirements of the site landowners, generally the National Trust, all Derbyshire Soaring Club sites are for MEMBERS ONLY, or for guests invited by the D.S.C. Committee, e.g. for competitions. No reciprocal membership schemes currently exist. All our sites are paid for by the club from member subscriptions. No training other than club coaching of members is allowed on club sites without the prior consent of the DSC committee. Please remember that the negotiations to secure the use of these sites are conducted by the club’s officers for your benefit, and that this can be a very delicate and difficult process, requiring much time and effort. Every member, therefore, has a responsibility to maintain the credibility and good name of the DSC with landowners and local residents. Members must make every effort to abide by the norms of good behaviour in the countryside, and to obey any specific rules presented in this guide. They are there for good reason!
Flying SAFELY and CONSIDERATELY is non-negotiable! DSC members, visiting pilots and guests must abide by the FAI Sporting Code on Thermalling Rules and Techniques (section 3 of this document).
If a you witness another pilot breaking these rules or flying in an aggressive or dangerous manner then:
- Try to identify the pilot and if possible speak to them. Be respectful and calm – not always easy! This is about improving awareness and safety, not about blame. The same comment applies if someone highlights something you may have slipped up on.
- If this is not possible or you encounter a bad reaction then contact a member of the committee (ideally the safety officer) and report the incident.
The ethos of the club is to promote safe flying practices. We ALL have an equal responsibility to police our club and sites and to tackle behaviour which is inconsiderate and dangerous.
Farming and flying
The land that we use for flying is all owned or rented by someone, and we use it for our sport by consent, not by right. While we use the land for pleasure, the farmer uses it to make their living. In the Peak District much of the land is marginal, as is the income a farmer can make from it. Naturally they will be concerned about anything that may disturb crops or animals and affect their living. This work is essential, our activities are not, so we must all try to behave in a way that will not cost a farmer money and make our sport unpopular.
In the spring, when the thermals are good and flying skills might be rusty, the farmer is starting production for the year. Calves and lambs are being born, the crops are starting to grow. Upsetting pregnant animals can cause them to abort, or startling young animals can cause injuries, and the farmer will have lost a part of their income.
In early summer the farmer cuts grass to make hay and silage to feed thier animals in the winter (grass is a crop too!). If you trample down long grass then it cannot be cut, and the farmer will lose essential winter feed.
In autumn some calves are also being born, and the rams are put in with the ewes, so disturbing sheep at this time might well mean fewer lambs next spring, and yet another loss to the farmer.
Remember that farmers are reasonable people and visiting the farmhouse to say hello, have a brief friendly chat (and to apologise if need be!) can work wonders. Treated in a decent and courteous manner they can be friends, not enemies.
Always follow these simple guidelines:
- Drive and park with consideration for other motorists and pedestrians, especially on narrow roads and lanes. Cars with gliders on the roof speeding through villages en route to a flying site are highly visible and are not good PR for our sport. Park in the recognised places and be careful not to obstruct gates or tracks. Do not obstruct public footpaths adjacent to take-off areas, and be careful not to endanger walkers on these paths.
- Be polite and considerate to anyone you may meet on site – they have just as much right to be there as you have (and they may own it!).
- Do not leave any litter on sites, take it home.
- Dogs accompanying pilots and their friends should be kept on leads at all DSC sites.
Flying and the environment
The National Trust and the Peak Park have asked pilots to think in environmental terms, and to try to minimise the damage to land caused by our activities. Paraglider pilots should try to avoid unnecessary slope landings and walking straight back up the hill.
If you see someone breaking site rules then, for the sake of the club and the site, politely explain this, so as to avoid a recurrence and loss of this site.
Do not climb over dry stone walls, instead, walk to the nearest gate or stile, and close gates after use, so that animals cannot wander. Damage caused to a wall by climbing is very expensive to repair.
If you have to land out, select and approach your landing field with great care, whenever possible avoiding power lines, buildings and trees and look for fields crossed by footpaths. Try to avoid livestock so that you don’t cause them to stampede or disrupt their grazing, and avoid crops or long grass (which is itself a crop), instead choose a field where the grass has already been cut.
If you are forced to land in a field with long grass or crops, do not de-rig where you are. Walk in the shortest straight line to the edge of the field, and then round the edge to a gate, so as to do the minimum of damage.
If, despite all your care, you do cause some damage, don’t just make your escape. Report what has happened to the farmer, or if they are out leave your name and address and contact them later. You are, after all, insured for any damage you may cause, so it will only cost you a few minutes of your time and may prevent an unpleasant situation for the next pilot who lands there.
If you land near the farm, it’s a good idea to call in and apologise for landing without permission, and you never know they might offer you a lift back!
It is your responsibility to be aware of any restrictions of flying as notified by the AIS NOTAM service. An easy way to access this information is by calling the recorded message service on 0500354802 which will give you a list of any temporary restrictions of flying for the day.
You can also register on the AIS website at www.ais.org.uk and view the NOTAMs there, or use one of the many web portals such as www.skydemonlight.com or www.notamplot.com etc.
This service for midweek flying allows you to notify the RAF of your operations. This notification DOES NOT mean that the site will be avoided by low flying jets, but they will have been warned to keep a special lookout in that area. Even if the site has Avoidance Area status this is worth doing. Give as much notice as possible, preferably the evening before, as it takes time to get the message out to the airfields. To use this service dial 0800 515544, and say that you wish to make a Hang Gliding or Paragliding Notification. Give them your name, address, and contact telephone number, the site code if you have it, or if not the Grid Reference of the site (2 letters, 6 figures) and the distance and direction of the nearest town.
Give the date and time of your flying, the number of gliders expected and your likely maximum height. You will be given a reference number for your notification, so have a pencil and paper ready. Use the service whenever you are flying midweek, it is provided for your safety and that of the RAF’s pilots. If, after you have given a notification the weather turns bad, you can always cancel, so if in doubt use the service.
FREEPHONE 0800 515544 and give the relevant site code or Grid Reference
Cats Tor: 8.051
Curbar Edge: 8.010
Stanage Edge: 8.009
Lords Seat & Mam Tor: 8.002
Dale Head, Eyam Edge, Treak Cliff, Long Cliff, Broadlee Bank do not have codes
For information on the location of Red Arrows displays call 0500 354802
Flying with model aircraft
An agreement has been reached with the major landowner, the National Trust, and representatives of aeromodelling clubs, to limit the potentially dangerous conflict between DSC pilots and model aircraft operators. Modellers are not fly within 1k of any National Trust site being used by the DSC for hang gliding or paragliding. In practice this means that models will have to move to a different site when we operate. The agreed alternatives for model aircraft pilots are;
Easterlies – Dale Head to be used instead of Mam Tor east face.
Southerlies – Mam Tor south face to be used instead of Rushup Edge.
Northerlies – The north side of the Mam Tor to Hollins Cross ridge instead of Lord’s Seat.
If you encounter model pilots on the hill, politely inform them that the agreement is in force and has the full backing of the landowner, and that to continue to fly would create a risk of collision with potentially serious consequences. If you cannot resolve the situation, consider calling the National Trust warden on 01433-670368.
Use of radios
Use of radio by hang gliders and paragliders is restricted to a limited number of channels on airband (AM sets). The following conditions apply for legal operation.
1: The radio equipment used must be CAA type approved.
2: The radio installation must be licensed. Details of licensing may be obtained from Aeronautical Licensing, Department of Trade and Industry.
3: It must not be possible to change the frequency of the radio in flight to a channel for which you are not licensed unless you hold a Pilots RT Rating.
When using radio you are sharing the channel with many others who have an equal right to good communication. Remember that you might be heard more than one hundred miles away, so always listen before transmitting to make sure that you do not interfere with someone else’s message. Do not transmit unnecessarily, ask yourself if your message really needs to be sent, and use good radio procedure. Speak slowly and clearly, using the transmit button properly so that the start and end of words are not cut off, and when necessary use the recognised phonetic alphabet to ensure clarity. One of the best, readily available, guides is the CAA publication P4l3, Radiotelephony Procedure. Radio can be a valuable aid, but when you find yourself switching off because of someone else prattling you will appreciate how important it is to use it responsibly.
The legal hang gliding and paragliding frequency is 118.675 MHz and the shared backup is 129.9 Mhz
The DSC frequency is 143.95Mhz
Pilots, whether of hang gliders or paragliders, with less than ten hours experience are strongly urged to fly with Red Streamers to indicate their inexperience to other pilots. It is nothing to be embarrassed about, everyone else has passed through this stage. All novice pilots are strongly advised to take full advantage of the Coaching Schemes the club offers, and should actively seek advice from more experienced pilots on the hill. A list of current club coaches can be found on the Coaches page on the club website.
Experienced pilots are urged to show tolerance and consideration to less experienced flyers, and to make their experience and knowledge freely available when asked, or if assistance appears to be needed.
Landing field safety
The DSC landing sites are often busy and are used by both paragliders and hang gliders. Hang gliders in particular require more space to land, and land faster and with less margin for last-minute course corrections. All pilots should move to the edge of the field after landing, and before packing up. This ensures that the landing area is left clear. Paragliders ground-handling in stronger winds should remember that whilst it may be blown-out for them, that hang gliders may still be flying, and also landing. Therefore paragliders must ensure that they do not ground-handle in areas which could cause any obstruction to hang gliders landing.
Contact the Chief Coach for details of the coaching system and how to get in touch with coaches. Coaches are not necessarily ‘Sky Gods’ but are those who wish to put something back into their sport, have the right attitude and have been commended for the role. It is not just newly qualified pilots who benefit from coaching – those with lower airtime, or perhaps returning after a long lay off or accident would certainly find it useful to get in touch with a club coach to ease them back into the air. Alternatively, you may be a more experienced pilot who wants to develop a particular aspect of your flying technique or correct a potentially dangerous bad habit before it catches you out! There are coaches available for all skill levels and disciplines.
If you are a careful and experienced pilot (CP + 10 hours minimum) with a bit of patience and an ability to communicate, why not consider volunteering as a coach? It can be very personally rewarding, and coaching is an extremely vital aspect of pilot development within the club. If you’re interested, contact the DSC chief coach (or any other member of the committee) for info on what coaching entails.
Vehicle security and parking
Please note that the number of thefts from vehicles in the Peak National Park is very high. These thefts are occurring even in very popular and well used car parks (especially Mam Nick and Stanage car parks) but be cautious in remote places also.
Do not leave valuables in your car and use one of the ‘Forget It’ badges provided by the Police and Peak Park staff to mark your car as a waste of time to potential thieves. Also if, as a result of flying a very long way, you have to leave your car in a car park overnight, inform the local Police. In the past searches have started in the hills when cars have been left like this.
Pay and Display sites are operated by the Peak Park at Curbar and Mam Nick. Please pay for your parking, the proceeds of which go towards the upkeep of the Peak Park. A concessionary permit is available from Aldern House, Bakewell which covers all parking on such sites and may cut your costs.