Latest Safety Notices

Hairy Dave's picture

Jojo wings Instinct Paraglider

BHPA safety notice attached.

Steve Purdie's picture

Spring has sprung 2017

I'm sure there's an echo in here? here? here?


Do not spend £200 on an EN1077 class B helmet as that is far too much for a chamber pot and that is the only real use for such an artefact. Meager head fairings are the sole preserve of those with meager heads...

When did YOU last pack your reserve? I recommend a 3 month cycle – it makes a huge difference! If you fly a two-liner I strongly suggest that you fit two reserves, repack them frequently and practice the twin handle swimming stroke every time you fly.

Land on your feet. No other part of your anatomy is designed for this and therefore anything else is an unnatural act.

Once upon a time in the Southern Club there was gentlemanly behaviour in the sky and it was Good:

Pilots on the ground were aware that they are the lowest form of aviation and justly gave way to all those above them, even if they were actually below them. They even looked to check.

Pilots thermalling were conventionally given right of way and ridge soaring pilots would turn back before interrupting the thermalling pilot's 360. The thermalling pilot would however not impact upon the soaring patterns of the ridge soaring pilots as he would know that he was more skilled and was better placed to avoid them.

When it was seen to be getting too busy, pilots would either thermal away or gracefully bow out after a few minutes ridge soaring to allow others the chance to do so. We would often land unbidden to allow a waiting group of hang glider pilots free use of the sky. It would usually take only a few minutes before they were high enough to permit usual service to resume.

Fly predictably and telegraph your next move as clearly as possible. I'm not saying give hand signals, though that is not a bad idea, just make it obvious where you are planning to go and try not to make erratic course changes when other are in close. Also try to predict what other pilots may want to do.

Avoid flying line abreast and thereby creating a wall of cloth (a curtain?) which oncoming traffic struggle to avoid.

Please don't sit just behind and outside a ridge soaring glider as this effectively prevents them from turning back, almost as if you were overtaking them on the outside. If you are closely following another ridge soaring glider, aim to be directly behind or better still towards the ridge, regardless of aircraft type.

When top landing, get your glider pointing into wind, even if you have already landed. This will slow your progress across the ground significantly and may save you having to explain yourself to an irate pilot who's laid out wing you just trashed. With a paraglider it is never too late to be able to turn into wind, just too late to choose to do so. By the way, hang gliders can cost the best part of £20,000 nowadays. You have been warned!

When slope landing, or actually any landing, if the ground speed seems high it is! Either turn out and fly to the bottom or make a 180 degree turn and land in the opposite direction. There have already been three broken limbs this spring, all to experienced but rusty pilots failing to do just this.

If it is too crowded for you, don't launch. If by launching you will make it too crowded for the pilots already airborne, don't launch. If it is too crowded for you and you are in the air, immediately make your way to a safe landing.

It is common courtesy for paragliders to slope land if there are hang gliders airborne and struggling to maintain height. The inconvenience of stopping your flight for a few moments hugely outweighs the inconvenience of being forced to bottom land a hang glider, with the attendant hour or so of de-rigging and rigging.

ANY pilot can call for a red ribbon half hour. You don't need to seek anyone's permission, though of course you will be expected to justify your actions to the growing angry mob of pilots waiting to launch. If in doubt, ask your Matt, your new red ribbon guruji.

Beware of the gust fronts associated with approaching rain showers and land in good time.

The biggest hazard, as always, is the human factor. You may have had a long lay off waiting for flyable conditions at the weekend. Consider watching the forecast and planning a midweek day flying. At this time of year the forecasts are pretty useless though, so be prepared for last minute changes of plan. In which regard, we are often subject to more wind than the Thames Valley, so do consider venturing further afield.

When you get to the hill, if it is too windy don't push your luck, the hill will still be there tomorrow! Remember, if you break yourself, you'll miss much more flying than a few minutes gale hanging... And the more experienced you are, the more it just becomes a numbers game.

The advancing sea breeze is often, though not always, betrayed by either a clearing of cumulus development towards the sea or by an advancing line of from curtain cloud to fracto-cumulus again with little or no cloud on the seaward side. The sea breeze can be very rough when it first arrives and is usually stronger when it first comes in, settling down after half an hour or so. As always, if you see a linear cloud feature approaching, if you are at all unsure, land and wait for it to pass.

At inland facing sites such as the Dyke or more so Ditchling, the advancing sea breeze will tend to back up behind the hill, then pour over in a big turbulent rush. No pilot who doesn't enjoy being tossed about like a cork in a storm wants to be in the air when this occurs so keep your mind open.

Air temperatures are still pretty low, so dress for altitude and fly far!

It is a pretty good idea to install Livetrack24 to your phone so that others can watch your epic XC flights online as they happen and would also know where you fell off the radar if the worst happened.

Steve Purdie's picture

Quick Out safety notice - Don't be an idiot...

Quick‐Out carabiner safety notice ‐ 7. December 2016

Dear customers,

On 15 November 2016, the faulty assembly of a Quick‐Out carabiner lead to its accidental opening. The pilot had dismounted both of the Quick‐Out's release buttons and later re‐installed them in swapped positions.
Swapping the release buttons is dangerous to life. In our instruction manual, we hence point out that the release button located on the opposite side of the installation slot must not be dismounted when attaching the carabiner to the harness. It may only be removed for cleaning purposes after the carabiner had been exposed to salt water. However, to prevent swapping the release buttons, only one button at a time may be dismounted!
There are approx. 16.000 Quick‐Out carabiners in circulation. As unfortunately not all pilots are aware of the fact that non‐compliance with instruction manuals is dangerous ‐ particularly in aviation ‐ we would hereby like to point this out again. The Quick‐Out carabiner's instruction manual can be downloaded anytime from the "Downloads" section of our website.

The image on the left shows a Quick‐Out carabiner with improperly installed release buttons.

The release buttons have been swapped!

To install the carabiner at the harness, only the button located on the side of the installation slot needs to be removed

Finsterwalder GmbH • Pagodenburgstr.8 • D‐81247 München

Tel.: +49 89 8116528 • Mail: office@finsterwalder‐ • www.finsterwalder‐

Steve Purdie's picture

Gin Carabiners

A faulty gin carabiner has been brought to my attention.

The internal spring has become displaced or suchlike such that it appears to close but has not actually engaged with the locking pin. See picture.

Steve Purdie's picture

Lightness 2 Lumbar strap

A lightness two lumbar strap failed in flight recently.
The harness in question had been SIv'd and had a few hours on it but was not in generally worn condition.
Please check your lumbar straps where they pass through the adjustment buckles.

Steve Purdie's picture

Sup'Air harness buckles - no doubt other brands to follow. Different buckle to previous S/N

Unfortunately only in French at present:

Approximately translated as 'the safety T lock buckles numbered in the S/N have opened unpredictably in flight. The fault is not visible. stop flying any harness so equipped now...'

Steve Purdie's picture

Acro in front of launch

Performing aerobatics over or in front of launch is a really great way to demonstrate that you are an incompetent muppet.

Take off, clear launch.

If you wish to perform acro, find an empty part of the sky well away from any launch or landing areas. Then confine yourself to that area until you wish to return to normal flight.

Check that the airspace is clear before approaching any landing area. join any landing pattern in an orderly manner. Do not spiral or wagga your way to the front of the queue.

Steve Purdie's picture

Finsterwalder CLICK-LOCK and T-LOCK buckles in the chest strap

DHV flying ban for many harnesses, several of which are not listed specifically below.

The DHV have grounded a large number of harnesses with chest straps using automatic T-lock and Click-lock buckles (HSi10) made by the company, Finsterwalder Charly. This concerns numerous harnesses made by Advance, Ava-Sports, Apco, Finsterwalder & Charly, Karpofly, Sky Paragliders, Skytrekking, Sol and Woody Valley, as well as some harnesses used for paramotoring.

The DHV have issued a Safety Notice, legally binding in Germany, to stop using harnesses thus equipped, at the latest, four years after their production or, to be more precise, since the final control when they left the factory. The owners of such harnesses are asked to contact the manufacturer.

This knee jerk reaction was no doubt, triggered by the fatal accident involving a Polish pilot at the beginning of May in addition to another incident during a SAT. In both cases, the automatic Click-lock buckles apparently opened under load. The T-locks haven’t been involved in an incident yet but their design is identical to the Click-locks.

The problem, according to the DHV, is the repetitive loading on these buckles or, more precisely, the cycles of diagonal load/unload which can, over a long time, wear out this piece of equipment. As a consequence, opening unexpectedly when loaded diagonally, can’t be ruled out.

This only applies to the chest buckles, which are loaded and unloaded, unlike the buckles on the thigh straps which have hardly any pressure on them in flight. For buckles which are subjected to static, non cyclical load, the manufacturer has specified a 10 year life (the normal length of time in Germany).

It is thought (and special care should be taken with this information which isn’t in the DHV statement), that the risk could in particular concern harnesses with ‘Get-Up’ type fastenings with two waist buckles. In flight they are regularly loaded and then unloaded. If one of them releases, there is a high risk of falling out.

An English version of the DHV’s statement can be read here:

In the past three months, there have been two incidents involving older paraglider harnesses equipped with CLICK-LOCK buckles (HSi10) in the chest strap. The buckles had opened unintentionally during flight while they were under load. In one of the cases this happened during a SAT maneuver (spreading of the chest strap due to the pilot resting on the riser), in the other case the reason was presumably the load applied by the body weight of the pilot who was hanging only in the leg straps.

Finsterwalder has conducted a technical investigation and found the following: The hooks of the metal tongue can wear out through the frequent diagonal load changes the chest strap is subject to. This might lead to decreased load capacity and – in the case of sufficiently high diagonal load transmission – the buckle might open unintentionally.
As a consequence of this finding, Finsterwalder has limited the respective buckles’ service time to 4 years if they are used in paraglider chest straps. The harness manufacturers have already been informed accordingly.

To date, there have been no unintentional openings of T-LOCK buckles. However, since their mechanism resembles that of CLICK-LOCK buckles, the problem is likely to be the same.

Finsterwalder calls on all owners of harnesses equipped with CLICK-LOCKs (HSi10) or T-LOCKs in the chest strap to determine their buckles’ previous usage time by checking the routine test date on the sample inspection label. If this date indicates a usage time of more than 4 years, the harness is not airworthy for now and may not be used for flying anymore. Affected owners should contact their harness manufacturer.

The service time limitation applies only to CLICK-LOCK and T-LOCK buckles that are used in paraglider chest straps. When used for applications where only static loads are involved, the CLICK-LOCK and T-LOCK buckles’ service life is 10 years.

The following harness manufacturers have used the mentioned buckles in one or more of their models: Advance, AVA Sport, APCO, Finsterwalder & Charly, KARPO FLY, SKY Paragliders, SkyTrekking, SOL, Woody Valley. Besides the buckles are used in paramotor harnesses of several manufacturers.

Finsterwalder GmbH
81247 München


Steve Purdie's picture

Skyman Emotion and Independence Looping harnesses.

We had a skyman emotion harness tear the airbag skyman when the reserve was deployed and the velcro tunnel for the bridle did not open fully.

The temporary recommendation is to open the velcro tunnel and extract the bridle from the parachute container to the curve at the hip.

Steve Purdie's picture

Hang-gliding harnesses with back plates - Updated safety notice

Ref. no.: FSC.SC13 amended British Hang Gliding Date: 02/2016 Pages: 1 (Pink) and Paragliding Association Ltd
8 Merus Court
Meridian Business Park Leicester
LE19 1RJ
Tel: 0116 2894 316 Fax: 0116 289 8741
Issued by Angus Pinkerton - Chairman of the Flying & Safety Committee 15 February, 2016.
All Hang Glider Pilots must READ, DIGEST AND TAKE ACTION on the contents of this Notice and keep it for future reference.
This notice will remain available on the BHPA website and in the Technical manual.

Hang-gliding harnesses with back plates
In 2015 a BHPA member suffered severe injuries as a result of a poor landing on his flex-wing hang-glider. The investigation on the incident found that there were several factors that contributed to this accident. The main factor was found to be the decision of the pilot to make the final approach and flare with his hands positioned on the base bar of the glider, rather than on the uprights of the control frame.

A significant factor in this decision was that the harness being used featured an articulated back –plate design, which offers significant resistance to the pilot when trying to rotate upright and change their grip. Several models of high–performance harnesses have similar characteristics.

Whilst subsequent testing confirmed that this harness was not faulty in any way, the design does require significant effort and a corresponding reduction in control during the rotation process, and for this reason several pilots have routinely preferred to perform a landing approach without rotating upright until the last moment.

Pilots are advised that making a landing approach, particularly in very light wind conditions without rotating into the upright position is potentially very hazardous, and considerably more likely to result in injury in the case of a failed landing than if the pilot is vertical and gripping the control frame uprights.

All harnesses should be set up so that rotation is easy and all pilots should adopt the upright position in good time during approach.
The use of base bar wheels is also strongly recommended.