Home Forums Safety “Landing” field safety

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    John Benario
    General Member

    Jerome recently linked to the USHPA RRG page referencing Soboba.

    The page mentions that because of two pilot to pilot lawsuits the RRG is going to run a loss this year, and warns of long term viability because of suits like these.  One of the suits being about

    “ a collision between a kiting glider and a glider coming in to land.”

    David posted this video two weeks ago for everyone’s enjoyment

    Animated Kiting

    which shows the entire upwind half of AJX covered by three rows of kiting gliders.  I was flying the green HG that came in to land.  Fully 50% of the landing field was not available for landing.

    If a pilot came in to land and went long with 50% of the landing field occupied by kiting PGs there would likely be a serious accident.

    It would probably be a good idea for the BOD to get together with the PG instructors to create guidelines about a max number of kiting PGs at one time so that there is always a path that a long landing glider could take to make it safely to the overrun field below.





    David Webb
    General Member

    Copy that, John. We’ll talk through that to see what might work. Definitely don’t want an unusable LZ due to overcrowding.


    Existing guidelines mention:

    1)  All kiting should be confined to the southwest corner of the LZ.
    2) If pilots in the air are observed to be setting up their downwind, base, or final approach, all gliders should be grounded. This helps to indicate to pilots in the air that those on the ground can see them making their approach.

    People not respecting existing guidelines is the main issue. Also, independent pilots (not just students) may be kiting without instructors present, so it is not just a school/instructor issue.

    Extra info: This is the USHPA web page referenced. It states (but not where the accidents happened)…

    One case involved a midair, and the other involved a collision between a kiting glider and a glider coming in to land..

    Ken Howells
    General Member

    When the RRG started the Safety Director, in the course of working-up the site safety stuff for that, made some orange markers delineate (limit) the kiting area.  It’s on the web somewhere.


    David Webb
    General Member

    Well-put, Jérôme and Ken. It definitely is club policy already that kiting should be confined to the SW corner of the LZ (completely on the PG side of the LZ), and that PGs are to be grounded when pilots are landing, but if just having a policy about that (that folks aren’t following) is inadequate, Maine we need to discuss other actions. Perhaps more cones on the PG side for a “kiting area” or more clear information on the site about those policies?

    John Benario
    General Member

    Once again Jerome has the info.  I had not looked at the kiting info (since I don’t kite)  but the club does indeed have the policies in place to prevent this issue.  As evidenced by the video, the paraglider instructors need to be more insistent with their students about the club policies.  People may note that I reference instructors more than students, I am a helicopter CFI and CFII and instructed for many years.  Liability issues with helicopters are huge so instructors have to ensure their students follow the rules.  HG and PG should not be different.  There may not legalities or lawsuits at issue, but serious injury or worse is always a possibility from not following policy or good advice.


    Tim Ward
    General Member

    Yep, and the orange markers are in the shade container in the bottom two drawers of the filing cabinet.

    I have used them as markers for my mowing,  but I don’t see people getting them out much for their intended use.

    Jonathan Dietch
    General Member

    Why not carry a whistle when you fly? They’re mandatory at Torrey and they are at least somewhat effective.
    I rarely hear anyone hollering when the LZ is blocked. Sometimes a good shout will get the attention of people in the way.
    It’s not just PGs kiting. I have had stray kids and others enter my landing path  and create an obstruction.
    What about RLF skills? If half the LZ is covered by 8 PGs that’s a good indication that there’s plenty of wind and this means that much less room is required to land an HG.
    I invested thousands of dollars of my own funds in re-developing and existing drogue chute design into modern materials and construction. It’s very reliable and stable yet few pilots bought one when they were available and even fewer pilots who own one use it. A friend of mine now has permanent brain damage in large part because he was discouraged from using his other perfectly good drogue and crashed face-first. In fact a similar thing happened to the former USHPA HG safely analyst.
    Honestly, the PGs need a spotter on the ground  to alert them of incoming traffic but we know this will never happen.
    And here’s another thing that points to the whining hypocrisy of HG pilots. I have lost count of the fly-ins where more than half the LZ was covered by assembled HGs and nobody took responsibility for getting pilots to break their gear down yet there were still a dozen people in the air who needed to land on far less than half the LZ. This double-standard is typical and ridiculous.
    Anyhow, take responsibility for your own landing safely and the safety of others. This is not the Wild West. Get out there and politely ask the kiters to  provide a spotter. Learn to yell real loud. Carry a whistle. Use a drogue chute. Get your RLF sign-off. And above all–don’t whine. 

    Side Note: USHPA is failing to take responsibility for its role in any number of serious and fatal accidents. It’s fortunate that we even have an organization and liability pool still in existence.

    The truth is that we are in the Wild West whether we like it or not. That means we all need to get along with our neighbors in the air and on the ground regardless of personal differences. Communicate, communicate, communicate!


    Well-said Jonathan, and others. Let’s be considerate of each other and do a better job of sharing our LZ.

    I recently put together a paraglider/hang glider approach diagram that I hope will help people stay a little safer. I had guidance from Stephen, Dan & Jordan. Keep in mind that this diagram should not make anyone feel like they’re entitled to the marked space, or that everyone must adhere to it at all times. I know that the wind direction & other conditions can change depending on what time of day people are landing, and (as Jordan mentioned to me) that some paraglider pilots like to make their approach over the parking lot. I also understand that not everyone will have perfect approaches and might need additional landing area, even if that means cutting into the kiting area. We should all keep an eye out and make space when necessary.



    Paragliding instructors do ask students to watch for incoming traffic and stay out of the hang glider landing area when kiting. These are brand new people probably on their first or second day lesson, and everything is so new to them. They’re in the process of learning so many new things! Sometimes they are full of adrenaline, preoccupied with a challenging task, and they forget that they should be watching for pilots coming in. The instructors keep an eye out as much as possible and ask their students to put their wings down or move when they see someone setting up an approach overhead, but once in a while a student might get dragged past the cone at the wrong time, or the hang glider needs more space than might be anticipated by those on the ground.

    If you see someone in the wrong place at the wrong time, don’t hesitate to go up to them and let them know they need to move. Please be nice about it. Let’s keep a positive, friendly atmosphere for visitors and newcomers whenever possible. We all make mistakes and nobody enjoys getting raged on. It might be a new visiting pilot, or a student practicing kiting without an instructor present who may not be aware, or has forgotten where they’re supposed to be. It happens! Nobody is perfect. 😉 Driving instructors ask us not to speed or tailgate when we’re working on our drivers license, but many of us still end up doing these things (not always on purpose) once we’re out of their sight. Humans! We’re imperfect! 😳😅


    John Benario
    General Member

    Pointing out a safety concern is not whining.  I had a bad landing 4 years ago.  Jonathon, you had a bad landing last year (2 years?).  Both you and I would have collided with a kiting pilot if the field had been covered as in the video.  When I was on approach that day I thought I had my landing under control, I am sure you thought the same.  Following good practices is what allows us to mess up and come out with a broken arm rather than colliding with another pilot and risking more serious injury to two individuals.

    Jana’s pictures  look good.  Maybe truncate the kiting area a little on the east edge to keep an overshoot path open.   The point of my original post was that there was no way an overshooting HG would have been able to make the bailout without colliding with a PG.

    Bille Floyd
    General Member

    A Playing Field , Line Striping Machine , can be had for under $100 ; why

    not just run a line up the center of the HG/PG field , and tell PG pilots to

    stay to the appropriate side of that line, or they get a $50 fine


    escorted out by the police,  for trespassing ?


    I plan to fly here at CSS  soon ; bottom line for me is that it

    might be safer to go land on that nice wide/flat dirt road , down below,

    than take the chance of hitting someone with my 330-Lb Exxtacy, rigid wing .

    Yes 330-lb rolling mas of glider, pilot, and harness, with reserve ; and it ain’t gonna

    stop very fast ; if there is a PG pilot , ((kiting on the landing cone)). A Rag

    wing only weighs 25-Lb less than my rigid ; and some guy’s do use wheels

    to roll in on.


    If i have to land on that dirt road ; then there isn’t much need

    for me to be paying your club, (money) — to use a landing aria

    that doesn’t really exist ?


    Tuesday evening , (June 2) i was drinking a beer, and looking

    at kiters in the HG landing aria ; one guy decided to pack his

    PG right next to the HG spot landing cone.


    REALITY CHECK people :

    If the RRG goes out of business ; both HG and PG pilots

    will need to find somewhere else to fly than CSS ; no insurance

    then —– this place gets Shut-Down (.)

    Any part of that ; Ya don’t understand ?




    Fining people for crossing the line seems unrealistic, since the whole field should be open to anyone who needs to use it (unless it’s a busy afternoon with a lot of incoming traffic). Do we then fine hang gliders who can’t land in their own part of the field? Or just paragliders kiting their wing too close to the line? Who would volunteer to stand there and fine people all day for doing that? Calling the police? No way.

    We have hundreds (if not thousands) of landings at AJX every year without incident. Hang gliders and paragliders are able to share the area quite well, especially when two skilled & aware pilots are coming in at the same time. It’s very rare that anyone needs to use the extra space to land whatever they’re flying, and most people with good training are able to have a good landing just in front of mid-field.

    Personally I’ve only really seen a couple of visiting pilots needing to go all the way to the SW corner, or overshoot. That was usually in the morning, or at noon when there wasn’t much head wind. When there’s not much wind, the conditions for kiting are poor anyway. I don’t know what goes on during the weekdays, but on weekends when I’m there, it all seems to work out OK.

    I’ve had a visiting hang glider pilot walk right in front of me carrying his wing across the PG section without looking around first. I was over the grass making my final approach, and I had a choice; I could either land on top of his glider into the wind, or go land elsewhere and run it out. I ran it out. I didn’t go lose my s**t on him, I figured he made a mistake and someone else already said something to him about it. So everyone, please try to be civil.

    We don’t need fines, we don’t need to call the police, we don’t need raging. We need good communication skills. As they say, it takes a village. If you see someone doing something wrong, walk up to them, smile, introduce yourself and say “Hi, how you doin’? Just wanted to let you know that there’s people landing behind/in front of you, so you’ll need to ball up your wing and take it over to the shade structure to clear the landing area as soon as you can. Thanks a bunch and happy flying!” Not only will the person be more likely to comply, but they won’t walk away feeling hurt or angry, more likely to be spiteful. They’ll even want to come back to AJX and maybe pass the info onto their flying friends. Just my $0.02.

    Gary Anderson
    General Member


    Bille Floyd
    General Member

    For ME , the solution is simple :  i can separate the controls to my

    spoilers , by adding sliders , and now i have independent control

    surfaces, for massive drag , to be used for short field landings ; bin doing that on

    the Fledge , with rudders, since 1980 ; so it’s is a kinda simple technique, that i’m

    already use to.

    Now a rag-wing pilot has No real , (viable) glide ratio control ; if he encounters

    lift, on his approach , then there is a decent chance of an over-shoot, and there

    is no way around it.


    @ Jana Pivkova

    I think you should read what, “John Benario” had to say , (again) :

    — “The page mentions that because of two pilot to pilot lawsuits the RRG is going to run a loss this year, and warns of long term viability because of suits like these.  One of the suits being about”

    “ a collision between a kiting glider and a glider coming in to land.


    Jana wrote  : “Do we then fine hang gliders who can’t land in their own part of the field? Or just paragliders kiting their wing too close to the line” ?

    Seriously ? You Really said that ?? You honestly think that kiting a PG

    is more important , than a pilot attempting to Land their glider ,(PG or HG) ??

    Before you answer ; re-read what John Benario had to say , above.

    Do Ya get it now ? Because i believe the usage permit that CSS has

    for their club members ability to fly ; i think it’s contingent upon an insurance

    policy, being  in place ? What are ya gonna do , when it’s gone ? Or maybe

    you haven’t thought it ? If something isn’t done promptly ; it is an

    accident waiting to happen , and another lawsuit , just waiting to

    take the RRG under. I already have a plan in place, if that happens , and i’m

    still gonna get to soar gliders legally ; what are you going to do ?









    Bille Floyd
    General Member

    I don’t wanna sound, bias, towards HG ; i Also fly PG

    SO …

    I’ve seen  days when the break-down aria for HG’s, is 4 rows

    thick ; it cuts the PG landing aria down , by a LOT ! HG pilots

    land , and put their gliders in that nice grassy aria ; then just

    LEAVE it there for Hours . GURRR !!!! OK so if you don’t wanna

    break down your glider  ; then why not put it over by the north end

    of the parking lot , (where it won’t make landing a PG more difficult) ?

    I watched a tandem PG pilot, nearly crash into the 4’th row of parked

    gliders one day ; he could’a really used that space, for a way easier landing,

    without the unnecessary headache. BTW — that tandem pilot who had

    the  incident; he’s one of the best flyers , in the club , so YEA , it can happen

    to anyone !



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