AGM 2021 Officers Reports

Secretary/Social media secretary report

The past year has involved many notifications to members because of the changing scenarios caused by the pandemic. We've found that using social media sites such as Facebook has presented issues with poor user interface and confusing prioritisation of information (what the site 'chooses' to show people). If in doubt, the most up to date information is always on the website homepage, which is what we always link to in any social media posts.

It's also recognised that it is probably irritating for some members to get an excess of repeat notifications from the various groups. The committee has been using e-mail for important member updates more recently thanks to some good work by our IT secretary, and I have been monitoring what other clubs have done by setting up a specific whatsapp group for committee updates, which may be a better way to go. Any feedback or suggestions from members is always greatly appreciated.

I wish everyone a safe year, and fingers crossed we'll be allowed to fly at some point!

Jacob

Membership

As of end of 2020 we have 193 members - which is probably as high as its ever been

Once Covid hit I was expecting a very poor year for new members, however that turned not to be the case. A few joined when Wales locked down which boosted the numbers so we ended up with 21 new members which is just over our usual turnover of members

Due to lockdown situation we may see a significant drop in numbers this year and revenue would therefore fall

Its likely many won't be renewing their BHPA membership so that may be a challenge

I recently sent out a reminder to all members to renew come Feb 1st and the response has been good. Please do check what you already have set up with your bank re repeat payments - more of which later.

Accounts

Appologies to any accountants watching this.

The accounts for 2020 are pretty simple since there has been little finacial activity due to Covid and the restrictions. No courses or Pennine Fest not that that ever costs anything. Also no SIV refunds reported. If you did manage to get one in and think you may qualify, please get in touch. I believe that SIV refund is an ongoing situation.

Outgoing tab-

The standing expenses we have are:
Flying Sites, Web site expenses, XC league, Trophies & bottle run.
New for this year is Zoom licence which gives us access for around 120 individuals without interuption. Whether we carry on with it remains to be seen but it seems likely at this stage.
The reason for Zoom is that not everyone has / likes, Facebook, Whatts App and the rest. Anyone can log onto Zoom (I hope)

Donations:
NW Air Ambulance donation
Mountain rescue donation

There were 20 refunds for overpaid memberships which usually means that people respond to the request to pay their subs but forget or don't realise, that they set their previous year's payment to 'repeat'. There are also a number that pay at odd times throughout the year which are a throwback to when we were all paying in the month we joined (which was a nightmare to control). One person still has not cancelled a £19 repeat payment and that date dates back to 2014!

Savings account transfer:
£3,200 was transfered to the savings account (such as it is). The figure is greater than normal due to less funds needed in the current account partly due to better control now we have a single payment date and partly Covid restrictions

Totals tab-

Under 'income' we see that subscriptions totalled over £5,000 though around £460 was refunded as mentioned earlier. Dales club contribution to shared sites.

Outgoings (Less) include all the standing expenses we have each year - the only new thing is the Zoom subscription.

Interest from the savings account are a staggering £5.29!

The surplus for the year is large but the circumstances have dictated that, and it would be expected to be less than a grand in a typical year.

And at the bottom of the sheet are the totals. The funds available to the club are healthy and I think we are in a good place financially.

Sites Officers Report

General
The last year has been overshadowed by COVID-19 and site closures during lockdown periods. It has been a difficult year for members, the committee, landowners, tenant farmers and the communities that we fly in and around.

From a Committee perspective we did not take the decision lightly to close our sites during lockdown 1 and 2. The decision was taken in liaison with our neighbouring clubs, site/landowners and eventually the BHPA when they caught up with things.

We understand that this was and is frustrating particularly when we had such a good run of weather as soon as lockdown 1 kicked in.

In terms of lockdown 3, as a committee we felt that the government guidance stating, ‘no leisure flying is permitted’ and the restrictions on movement were sufficient not to have to close the sites. Our neighbouring clubs had come to the same decision when we liaised with them.

Thank you to all the membership that have adhered to these restrictions. I received positive feedback from the landowners/land agents about our actions, this can only put us in good stead for the future.

The Christmas bottle run was somewhat different this year. Managed to do this via Amazon. It is not the way I like to do it and hopefully by next Christmas I will be able to do it in person. The bottle run is my opportunity to speak to landowners/tenant farmers to wish them all the best but to make sure they have not got any burning issues that need to be addressed.

  • Balladen: Nothing to report
  • Edenfield: Nothing to report
  • Larkhill: Nothing to report.
  • Longridge: Nothing to report
  • Mill Stone Edge: Nothing to report
  • Nont Sarahs : Update to the online sites guide having been contacted by Dales Sites officer. One of their members that flies it under the reciprocal agreement suggested some updates relating to a power line that has now been removed along some new photos that really show the topography of the site.
  • Parlick: Nothing to report
  • Pendle: Nothing to report
  • Pule: Nothing to report
  • Winter Hill: Following the moorland fires on Winter Hill Arqiva who operate the TV mast and United Utilities, the landowner, have installed a combination lock on the gate on the access road. This is to prevent vehicular (general public) access to the higher moor where BBQs are thought to have caused the fires.
    I have the code for the gate and if anyone requires it please contact me by phone/private message/WhatApp etc. I usually respond immediately. Once you have it put it somewhere safe in your phone.
    We have been asked to restrict it to our members only hence the need to contact me for the code. Please do not distribute it to non-members and definitely don’t publish it on Social Media. If another member asks for the code, please direct them to me or one of the other committee members.
    The lock is a bit stiff and once you have aligned the code there is a button on the bottom of the lock that releases the catch. A few members have struggled with it thinking the code is wrong.


Final note:
You are my eyes and ears on the ground or in the air for that matter. If you know of any issues, know of any potential new sites or threats to existing please drop me a line sites@penninesoaringclub.org.uk or mob: 07824 321575.
Thanks
Andy Archer
PSC Site Officer

Safety Officer’s Report 2021

A very strange year, with flying activity largely stopped by the Covid-19 outbreak and the lockdown restrictions imposed. Not the easiest sets of guidance/rules/legislation to follow, with confusion regarding what was allowed. In the end there were short periods when the league and the sites were opened and there was some activity on our sites, and we are grateful for the virtually unanimous adherence to restraining from flying when not appropriate.

Incidents:
Nonetheless, there were 5 incident reports submitted this year which is a 150% increase from 2019!.

  • June 02: yours truly got dumped by violent turbulence on Pendle, fresh out of lockdown and expecting a sled ride back to the car park. The crash was filmed and discussed at length on the FB pages – worth going to look if you haven’t seen it.
  • June 25:a hang glider pilot was flipped by strong turbulence on Parlick East while preparing to launch in strong winds, and counted himself luck to walk away relatively unscathed,
  • August 07: a paraglider pilot had a hard landing at the back of the cottage at the foot of Parlick south face, possibly in rotor as the wind had veered towards north. No injuries, but a passing walker said “the ground shook”
  • October 16: a paraglider pilot ground handling on Parlick East in strong wind was violently lifted into the air and fell to the ground, suffering a badly-sprained ankle,
  • November 09: a paraglider pilot ground handling on Parlick East in what seemed to be light winds was still plucked into the air suffered a broken ankle on landing. Helicopter and mountain rescue to evacuate him. This incident highlighted the dangers of flying alone: he could reach and use his phone to call for help, but had coverage been bad or the phone damaged things could have turned bad very quickly. As it was several friends were able to come to his aid, as well as the emergency services.

A common theme in all of these is unexpected conditions: maybe we all need to revise our knowledge of wind, weather, turbulence, rotor etc. so that we learn when, and where, to expect the worst.

In addition to these, a helicopter rescue on Parlick for an injured fellwalker highlighted the importance of radios: most pilots quickly became aware that a helimed was on its way, and landed, but one soul, concentrating on ticking off some more cylinders of the grid challenge was blissfully unaware, until he started looking for lift and wondered why there were no gliders marking the thermals. I was able to land on the end of Fairsnape before the heli arrived, where I discovered that friction from a strap had turned my volume down to zero. So, it’s not enough to have a radio, it needs checking that it works.

As always, these incidents remind us that flight is unforgiving of error. That the pilots involved have thousands of hours of airtime between them is a salutary lesson that sh*t can happen to anyone, and all it takes is a moment’s inattention to changing conditions, rushing to grab an opportunity, frustration at missing out on flying. As we wish for an end to the lockdown and look forward to taking to the air again, remember that we will all be very rusty, our muscle memories will have faded, our awareness of conditions – the sixth sense that nags us that we’re being silly – will have been dulled by lack of use. We need to start slowly and very cautiously when we are allowed back in the air.

Chief Coach Annual Statement.

I became Chief Coach nearly a year ago in March and I can imagine all of us never expected what was to come in the forthcoming year.


2020 was a frustrating year for us all with regards to training. With a total lockdown, any form of practical training was impossible. I realised that new members required access to coaching support as they progress through their pilot development. I personally think that the coaching offered by a club is a reflection of how successful, proactive and inclusive the club is. It is also key to attaching and keeping members. As a result of the lockdown situation, I began looking into the possibility of running some form of coaching to help pilots with their early XC flights.


The first Coaching day that we managed to hold was on Sunday 14/06/20 by meeting (socially distanced -of course) at chipping village hall and then on to Parlick for further training. This proved a successful day with about 12 members attending. We then went on to have 3 more coaching days, all with good attendance.


I would like to thank all coaches that went above and beyond in helping me organise and facilitate these days, especially when they could have been flying off to distance lands – Thank You.


Coaching within the club does rely on the members, I would encourage any pilot that has been on the club coaching course to try and keep their coaching qualification up to date with the BHPA and by getting in touch with me at renewal so we can get their renewal endorsed. This can be done by sending me a quick e-mail, I will then sign and forward it to the BHPA.
The BHPA FSC released mock Pilot exams (both powered and unpowered) with the intention of encouraging Club Pilots to think about their flying aspirations constructively. It helps to build their knowledge and prepare for Pilot rating. Fortunately, we have one member who achieved his Pilot Rating this year. Well Done Max Kirk.


Moving on to the forthcoming year, I hope we can enable members, new and old to prepare for their Pilot exam by using on-line courses/ meetings etc. The pilot exam papers are available and the committee are willing to invigilate exams either locally or via a social platform such as Zoom.


With regards to coaching days post lockdown, I propose to continue on from the basic flight preparation and early steps and move on to XC and local challenges such as triangles, out and returns, Parlick Grid challenge and mini XC’s.


When once you have tasted flight, you will forever walk the earth with your eyes turned upward, for there you have been, and there you will always long to return." - Leonardo da Vinci.


Paul Redman.

Webmasters Report

We've tried to position the website as the primary source for any information, and direct any notifications on social media linking back to the website, so information is easier to keep track of, especially with the amound of changes and restrictions that we have seen in the last 12 months.

We have now transitioned to using MailChimp for sending out club updates, which seems to be working well. With all the various forms of communication available, email still seems to be the most consistent, but sending out emails without them being flagged as spam can be a problem.

Setting up our Zoom account has worked out well, with it being used both for Committee meetings and also for the club social nights. These have consistently had audiences of over 30 members, with a peak of over 50 when we had Jocky's SIV talk.

Carl Fairhurst.

Competition Secretary Report

Although it has been a difficult year with no external competitions to report on, it has given a new challenge for many people. Loop flights, out and return and triangles has become the target for everyone other than the lucky few who could arrange a personal retrieve.

We have had a lot of good flights all over the area between Parlick, Pendle and Longridge. Choosing the winner of the best local flight wasn't easy, my choice of the best 3 were Sam Ashley's really nice flight form Pendle to Parlick and then Longridge, Phil Wallbank's almost out and return from Parlick to Sawley but for me the one that ticked all the boxes was Jim Ashley's 38.8 point flight from Parlick to Dunsop Bridge, Longridge and then back.

Overall loop league winner was Brian Stewart, another of our more experienced pilots who won the title by less than a kilometer from Jim with a total of 111.1K.

Best overall flight for me was the stand out flight by Jacob Cleverly to Helmsley, 112.8K on an EN B wing for a relatively new (although extremely keen and talented) pilot.

Overall Pennine league winner was Phil Wallbank, also flying the flag for the more experienced pilots but on a 'classic' EN C Gradient Aspen, a model that was first released in 2008!

For the year ahead I really hope that we can get back to normal XC flights and competitions. For pilots looking to develop their skills I would encourage you to enter the likes of the Lakes Charity Classic and the BP Cup. Not only are they a great excuse to spend time with like minded people talking lots of parabollocks, you also have experienced pilots setting safe tasks and helping you to make the most of them.

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