Skerrywherry and Agnew's Hill West

Flying at these sites is restricted from April until mid-June due to nesting Grouse.

Anyone planning to fly there around those times should contact the gamekeeper, Alex Rodgers for advice. His mobile 'phone number is 07463124241.

FLYING AT SLIEVE GULLION (near NEWRY)

Following a recent incident at Slieve Gullion, all pilots should be aware of the sensitivity of this site.  Full details are available here

Please make any other pilots who are not on the UHPC or IHPA mailing lists, aware of this message.

RESERVE PARACHUTE REPACK

The UHPC annual reserve parachute repack night - FREE for all UHPC members - was held at the Antrim Forum on Thursday the 23rd February 2017 from 6pm to 10pm.

VERY IMPORTANT AIRSPACE INFORMATION

There are important airspace changes about to occur on Thursday 26 May 2016 that directly affect a number of our commonly used sites. 

Please read this message very carefully. See also 'Other Documents' links in the Members' Area for further details and background.

 On Thursday 26-May-2016 all Class E airspace in the Belfast TMA was reclassified to Class D.

Paragliders and hang gliders are permitted to fly in Class E without contacting Air Traffic Control (ATC) but this is not the case for Class D. 

Class D is effectively closed to us.

This reclassification affects the following sites:-

Site

Soarable Wind Direction

Hill Height

Class D (formerly Class E)
Altitude

1.1 Knockagh Monument (S-SE)

S-SE

865

2000

1.2 Agnew's Hill (E-SE)

E-SE

1555

2000

1.3 Shane’s Hill (SE)

SE

1555

2000

1.4 Big Collin (S-SE)

S-SE

1158

2000

1.5 Divis & Cavehill

E-SE

1698 (mast)

Class D

1.6 Slieve Croob (N-E)

N-E

1752

3500

1.7 Slieve Donard

All

2789

3500

The UHPC, BHPA and UGC all strenuously opposed the airspace change and submitted independent but coordinated objections within the consultation period. 

Although unable to prevent the airspace change from going ahead, the CAA did make it a condition that Aldergrove ATC must agree and sign a Letter of Agreement (LOA) with the UHPC before implementation.

After a number of meetings and negotiations the LOA was signed yesterday. It defines five “designated areas” or boxes within Class D airspace that UHPC members can  activate for our use.

1.            Big Collin/Agnews

2.            Knockagh

3.            Slieve Croob

4.            Slieve Donard

5.            Divis/Cave Hill (not yet available to fly as negotiations with National Trust continue)

 

It is possible to soar all these sites (except Divis) without the need to contact ATC provided Class D airspace is not infringed. 

This is particularly an issue at Agnew's where Class D starts only 445 feet above the top of the hill - easily reached in good soaring conditions.

If XC flights or high soaring flights are possible then it is essential to contact ATC to activate the 'designated areas' and obtain clearance to fly.

 

So if you wish to fly in Class D airspace you MUST:

1. Read the Letter of Agreement (attached) and ensure you fully understand it. It is the law.

2. Ensure you have a GPS or properly set altimeter.

3. Ensure you have a working radio tuned to the club frequency 144.725MHz

4. Follow the "UHPC Procedure" defined in section 6.1 precisely.

 

Below is an extract from the LOA, however before contacting ATC you must read and fully understand the LOA.

The LOA contains the box boundaries and illustrative maps.

 

6.1       UHPC Procedure

1.         All UHPC pilots must be briefed before activating this LOA.

2.         A UHPC pilot will contact ATC at Aldergrove at least 15 mins prior to a planned flight to agree a time window and maximum permitted altitude for the required flying area. [ATC tel: 028 9448 4282 and 028 9448 4281]

3.         When a site is activated, the pilot initiating the activation will leave his name and contact number with ATC in case of emergency.

4.         On receiving an emergency call from ATC, the pilot will ensure that the call is responded to within 15 mins. If required, this pilot must have a method of ensuring that the area is vacated and shall advise Belfast/Aldergrove ATC when this is complete.

5.         Other pilots must confirm the vertical extent and time window before launch by contacting ATC or another informed pilot.

6.         All times agreed between ATC and the UHPC will be ‘local’ time.

7.         UHPC pilots will ensure that they are flying with a means of determining altitude (amsl) whether by GPS or barometric altimeter set to QNH. Such devices will have a tolerance of +/- 100ft.

8.         Pilots will ensure that they remain within the defined lateral notified areas of each designated site where bounded by Class D Airspace.

9.         Pilots will ensure that they meet the VFR flight minima as published for Class D Airspace.

10.      A UHPC pilot will notify ATC when flying has ceased earlier than the agreed expiry time.

11.      These LOAs refer only to segregated flying activity within Class D Airspace. ATC has no control or authority over other IFR/VFR flights which may be operating within Class G Airspace beneath the designated areas.

12.      Pilots must be aware that other VFR flights may transit the Designated Areas during the times of activation.

This notice constitutes a briefing to UHPC pilots.
The "method of ensuring the area is vacated" is by FM radio on the club frequency 144.725MHz.
This information will be repeated and elaborated in a future issue of the club magazine and if there is demand we could organise a club evening to answer any questions on the history and reasoning behind the airspace change and the UHPC LOA.

UHPC Annual General Meeting Tues 29 November 2016

The Ulster Hang Gliding and Paragliding Club's Annual General Meeting was held on Tuesday 29th November 2016 at the Dunsilly Hotel.

Main points:

  • Officers' Reports for the year were given
  • Treasurer's Report for the year ending 31 October 16 shows club in a healthy financial position
  • Officers for the following year were duly elected - see "contact us" link aside
  • Membership fees to remain as last year

Many thanks and appreciation to the outgoing committee for all their hard work during the year involving detailed negotiations in relation to airspace restrictions and wind farm developments in particular.