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We are the Sydney Paragliding & Hang Gliding Club, based on the Northern Beaches of Sydney, Australia. We fly and manage flying sites along the Northern Beaches of Sydney. We meet at the Harbord Bowls club on the first Tuesday of each month at 7pm.
Contact the club through the Contact Us page. If you are intending to fly one of our sites for the first time, please contact a safety officer. The club has many safety officers, all most approachable, you will often find one on the hill or in the air.
Do come to one of our meetings to meet other local pilots. Pilots and potential pilots of all experience are welcome.
Greg Hurst wrote this explanation for a novice pilot on Memberchat to describe what conditions could be like on a hot westerly day. It's a great explanation so with his permission we have posted it below:
I just got a message from a keen pilot wanting to know if it would be flyable as it may go NE.
The answer is not an easy one. As discussed at last weeks club meeting the weather is getting hotter and the seabreeze will start to strengthen - but be careful. It is Spring and therefore the wind is more likely to be changeable and you don't want to be in the air when it changes to the opposite direction. Today may end up being flyable but it may also be risky so please be cautious.
There is a lot of westerly wind action pushing out from a high pressure system over central Qld. This of course will be encouraged by the land breeze throughout the morning. However, this westerly movement comes up against a NNE also from the double headed high off the coast of NSW and that will be encouraged further by a developing seabreeze during the afternoon. You can see this on BOMs four day forecast:
BOMs marine wind gives a better overall picture and is my preferred tool. The arrows on the Sydney coastal region for the14:00 forecast shows a tussle between the westerly winds and the NNE. The 17:00 forecast shows a zone of uncertainty right over the peninsula.
This is why I like BOM's marine Wind because you do not get a one dimensional set of arrows, you get to see the arrows all around Sydney and you can make a better judgement. If you then put this into the context for NSW you get a complete picture of what is happening. It is the same story from Nowra to Seal Rocks:
Now this does not mean it is not flyable. I expect that the seabreeze will develop and there may be times that it is solid on launch, particularly Long Reef which sticks out further. However, there is also a good chance that the W forces and NE forces will continue to tussle. It may be flyable for 10 minutes and not the next.
As discussed at the meeting do not just 'feel' the wind on launch. Do not just rely on another wing in the air. Go to BOM's doppler wind radar to give you the best information. Before you launch you want to be convinced that the blue coloured zone has settled in enough and dominated the yellow coloured zone: Check this site out:
As I write this the wind is clearly westerly with everything blue to the left (west) of Terry Hills where the radar is situated and everything to the right (east) is yellow. This is to be expected at 9 am. As you will see on the radar scale below the map: when yellow to red the wind is away and light blue to dark blue is towards the radar. Furthermore right now (9.30 am) there is a slight angle to the line of colour change. The approx line runs from SSW to NNE which indicated a somewhat NW wind - which all the Seabreeze sites current wind readings back up.
Later in the day, as the seabreeze builds, if it is flyable the colours will be reversed with blue on the right side and yellow on the left. However, what you are likely to see later today when it may seem flyable on launch is one of the following scenarios:
A. Blue to the right and blue to the left of Terry Hills with a patchy or speckly zone somewhere in between. This will show where the conflict zone is between the W and NE. There may even be some convergence somewhere around that zone but be aware that while convergence can lift you it can also spit you out on the wrong side and can be risky on the coast.
B. A lot of yellow, blue and white patches or speckling over a large area of the map. This indicates that the wind is changeable, patchy and highly unreliable. This is what it looks like when someone 'flicks the switch' - you are flying happily one minute, the it feels unsettled, then you drop down down down.
C. If the blue from the NE dominates and pushes through to Terry Hills then it is likely to be reliable for flying - not guaranteed but likely. It does not matter if there is some speckling to the west of Terry Hills and even some blue out western Sydney, as long as the easterly forces have pushed in solidly enough to Terry Hills.
Hmmm, have I lost you? Not the easiest thing to describe quickly in an email. Give it a go, have a look, learn how to use these valuable tools and your flying will improve because you will make intelligent decisions.
So back to the question - is it flyable today. The answer is that later in the day it might be. Sometimes it might be and sometimes it definitely will not be. The decison needs to be made on launch after looking at the all the relevant information. The combo of BOM's doppler, Seabreeze readings for the entire Sydney coast (don't worry about what Fort Denison says) and Willweather's Terry Hills reading will give you an informed decision to back up what you feel on launch.
If in doubt, regardless of what sites say, or other pilots say, don't fly.
Now that the flying season is well under way, we’re already seeing times where we have more pilots on site than can safely fly at the same time. To allow everyone a chance to fly and still maintain safe separation we all need to work together and follow a few simple guidelines.
Good launch and landing etiquette helps to keep the site working safely and efficiently:
Set your equipment up away from the launch/landing area and don’t move it onto launch until you are ready to fly.When you land, bunch up straight away and move your gear from the LZ.
Don’t kite your wing unnecessarily in the landing area.
Avoid congestion by considering using another site:
Whilst supervised rated pilots are limited in their choice of sites, other pilots may be able to fly other sites such as Warriewood which can handle more aircraft and subsequently reduce the load on Cook’s Terrace and Long Reef.
Limit your flight time to share the site fairly.
If, whilst you are flying, you can see that other pilots are set up to launch, but appear to be waiting, there is a good chance that they are waiting for space to fly. Even though you may feel that there is room for another aircraft you should remember that we are a community which includes lower airtime and/or less confident pilots than yourself and that we all deserve the opportunity to fly. Share the air by having several short flights rather than one or two longer ones.
Avoid “overloading” when moving from adjoining sites.
If you decide to cross from one site to another (particularly from Warriewood or Mona Vale towards Cooks Terrace) be aware that you may be increasing traffic beyond the limit that the other pilots or possibly a duty pilot may have in place at that time. The pilots flying should give way to allow you to get safely into lift but, if there are other pilots waiting to launch or it is indicated to you, you should land immediately or leave the site.
As well as being a requirement whenever supervised rated pilots wish to fly, duty pilots are invaluable to us when sites become congested.
As a general rule, if there are more than 6 pilots at any of our sites a duty pilot should be nominated in accordance with the operations manual.
Help the duty pilot by listening to their advice and obeying their instructions. Remember that they have volunteered to take on the position to assist you. The duty pilot will try to allow everyone an equal opportunity to fly so make sure that you introduce yourself and let them know when you are ready to fly.
It is the responsibility of the duty pilot to assess the number of aircraft which can safely operate in the prevailing conditions and with regards to their knowledge of the pilots' experience. This could be as low as 1 pilot if conditions are poor and/or the pilot is low airtime but not more than 6 pilots (max 3 supervised) in optimal conditions at Cooks Terrace or Long Reef and a maximum of 8 at Warriewood.
Although we’re getting a bit congested on occasions I’m really impressed with the patience and consideration shown by the majority of our pilots. Thank you all for making this a great community and for your ongoing support.
On the Tuesday afternoon of June 30, 9 pilots from the Sydney Paragliding & Hang Gliding Club met at Long Reef headland to participate in a working bee. All pilots that have flown the Long Reef NE site have seen the serious hazard posed by the areas of wire mesh fencing and star posts on the grassy section at the eastern end of the ridge. While not a designated landing area, this grassy patch is an important landing option particularly when the tide is high and the front beach and the sand spit become inundated. This fencing was part of a native grass regeneration trial, that has long since been abandoned.
Tom Hazell is the bushcare volunteer coordinator for Warringah council, as well as being club pilot Doug's dad. Tom was able to liaise with council about the safety benefits of removing this hazard and gain approval, as well as organizing vehicle access to the site, tools, and disposal of the material at the council depot.
A couple of hours of hard labor was put in by enthusiastic club members to remove approximately 60 meters of mesh and about 50 star posts. One keen volunteer even took advantage of a 2 knot puff of NE wind to fly a quick sleddy into the improved grassy area. This work has substantially improved the safety of this site, and the club would like to acknowledge the help of all involved, particularly Tom Hazell, and Warringah Council's Volunteer Coordinator Michael Kneip who arranged the loan of equipment, disposal of material removed & authorised vehicle access. Following the work some of the regular bushcare volunteers have had a look at the site and are appreciative of the clubs effort not only because it improves site safety for paragliders, but has also improved the aesthetic value of the area.