RMHPA Meeting Minutes for 20 Jun 2018 (7-9 pm)
The Studio Boulder
3550 Frontier Avenue Suite A2
Boulder, CO 80301
Thanks to everyone that made our meeting Wednesday night in Boulder. We missed those of you that could not be there. We delayed the meeting a few minutes while some late day flyers scrambled over from the hill. The weather seems to be flyable on our meeting days in Boulder–plan on a fly day and attending the next meeting. Thanks to those who brought the beer. The beer and tacos were thoroughly enjoyed.
Will Stites (RMHPA Vice–President) led another great meeting with approximately 40-50 people in attendance. I’ll get amore accurate count at our next meeting.
We started the meeting with guest speakers, Erika and Burton, from OSMP (City of Boulder Open Space and Mountain Parks). Erika is OSMP’s Recreation and Cultural Stewardship Supervisor and Burton is the Head Ranger. They both recognized our 25+ year history of flying in Boulder and it was apparent how important it is to maintain and build relationships. Ericka discussed the new MOU (Memorandum of Understanding) between the City of Boulder and RMHPA. The MOU formalizes our relationship and hopefully helps secure our longterm access. Be ready to volunteer for a work/trail improvement day in Boulder—more info in the future.
Just for general information: OSMP controls our launches and the City of Boulder Parks and Rec controls the Foothills Park LZ. OSMP and Parks and Rec both fall under the City of Boulder and our MOU is with the City. That means that anyone flying, kiting or instructing in our approved operating areas in Boulder (launches or LZs) needs to be a member of USHPA and RMPHA as well as meet all insurance and rating requirements specified by those organizations.
Burton, the Head Ranger, stressed that the first priority is safety—don’t put yourself in jeopardy to avoid a no land area.
However, (my words) as a club we need to plan our flights and fly conservatively to minimize the instances where we look for the good graces of the Rangers. Don’t make a habit of landing in no land areas but if required for safety, do what you need to. If you land somewhere you are not supposed to, apologize, let the landowner/Ranger know you were trying to take the safest course of action and if you get a ticket, smile and let them know you’ll try to plan and fly better the next time. Chautauqua Park is an example of a no land area.
With effort from all of us we can continue our productive partnership with the City of Boulder to guarantee at least another 25 years of free flight.
Lia Winecoff, who works Aviation Safety for the Forest Service, was also a guest speaker. Many of our pilots have seen some low flying firefighting aircraft (tankers) over Boulder, Lookout, Mount Herman and Section 16 recently. Lia explained where the Tankers have been flying and covered many interesting facts about their operations. On Sunday, a RMHPA group had a great time touring the Jeffco Air Tanker facility and an MD-80 Air Tanker. If you’re on WhatsApp you saw some of the cool pictures from the visit. There are permanent tanker bases at Jeffco and Grand Junction and currently temporary tanker bases in Colorado Springs and Pueblo.
AVOIDING CONFLICTS WITH AIRCRAFT
We reached out to Lia and the Forest Service to better understand how we can avoid conflicts with their aircraft and we discussed avoiding aircraft in general. Ed Williams led the discussion and Pete Davi contributed. The takeaways:
- See and avoid! As paraglider pilots we fall under FAR Part 103. We self-regulate and we are responsible to stay out of the way of all other aircraft.
- If there are fires burning or smoke anywhere in the vicinity of your planned flying area, stay on the ground or get on the ground. Incident response aircraft will almost definitely be flying and will not be focused on visual lookout for paragliders.
- We can try to alert other aircraft operators of our operating areas and they may choose to voluntarily avoid the areas. However, they are free to fly through the airspace we are flying in and we are responsible for separation.
- To help avoid conflicts, know the airspace and avoid areas of heavy aircraft traffic. Pete Davi posted the following on WhatsApp:
Great seeing everyone at last night’s RMHPA meeting! At one point, we touched on the topic of air traffic conflicts. One way we can help mitigate our risks in this area is to be familiar with the airspace we’re sharing, understand how it’s divided up, and avoid – or at least expedite our transit through – areas where potential conflicts are most likely to occur. Here are a couple helpful resources:
“Airspace & Law for Ultralights” is a DVD available through USHPA at ushpastore.com/collections/book … 1483776001 , as well as from many other sources. It gives an excellent review of U.S. airspace and 14 CFR Part 103 from the ultralight pilot’s perspective. If you’re at all uncertain of the rules, or perhaps just a bit rusty, this video comes HIGHLY recommended.
SkyVector, faa.gov/air_traffic/flight_ … mplete.pdf for help with chart symbology.
Please get in touch if I can be of assistance. Keep safe and enjoy!
- If you do your best to avoid areas of potential conflict and still see an aircraft coming at you, obviously try to maneuver to avoid but also maneuver to try and make your wing more visible. A turn or spiral will create motion and a larger visual cross section for the aircraft pilot to see. Also try to alert others in the air to the aircraft threat.
- Flying high (> 10,000’) from Morrison south toward Roxborough is one local area we sometimes fly in where you might potentially encounter jet aircraft.
- If you see a fighter in the local area (usually F-16s from Buckley) expect to see more than one. Two or four would be typical and they may be flying in close formation or more typically with over a mile spacing, line abreast or in trail. It’s the one you don’t see that poses the biggest threat.
On the safety front, Josh briefed us on his accident in Boulder. I can’t capture the detail and wonderful perspective he conveyed so I will just try to hit on the big picture cause and some of the lessons learned/discussion points.
A rapid and unexpected weather change resulted in strong winds over the back causing rotor. Josh was at 30-40’ and unaware of the wind shift when he took a frontal collapse. Club members and emergency responders did an excellent job. Always call 911 first.
Lessons Learned/Discussion Points
- Always have a radio and have it on. Other people flying or nearby can provide valuable information.
- Same for a cellphone—consider having it on your flight deck. Check the weather again on your phone from launch.
- When you are scratching the risk always increases. At low altitudes things happen fast and the ground comes up fast to meet you—probably faster than a reserve deploys.
- On a thermic day, there is always a chance of meeting a dust devil coming up the same ridge you are scratching on—it probably won’t end well.
- Reflect on accidents, more experienced pilots develop a respect for the risks. Fly to 80% of your skill level not to the skill and capabilities of the pilot and wing you see flying to Wyoming. Be completely honest with yourself. Avoid group think. Watch self-delusion.
- Ask yourself, “If I were alone, would I launch? Would I fly in these conditions? Would I fly there?”
- Cloudy skies suddenly clearing or a drop in the dew point may be indicators that a wind shift is imminent.
Adam talked about upcoming events:
July 7th in Boulder 8-11am Hike and Fly Clinic, Launches and Spot Landings will be judged and critiqued. BBQ to follow the clinic.
Late July BBQ in Golden
Aug Bellyache and Wolcott flying and BBQ
See the calendar and website for details.
Welcome to new pilots Sara and Isaac and thanks to Ariann for the continued work on our Club History.
I couldn’t capture every detail of the meeting so try to be there next time if you can. We missed you. If something needs to be corrected or expanded on, just respond and add it on to this post.
Lift and cloud streets…Drinks