Shouldn’t be done? But many do, and not only when we’re alone on the hill . . .
Maybe you’re the early riser, catching the rising sun on the east-facing slopes; or you’re snatching a quick sunset flight after the rain clears, and there’s no-one else daft enough to be out there. Or you may be out on a vol-biv adventure or visiting an out-of-the way spot that’s not popular with the crowds as it’s a long hike to get there.
You can also be ‘alone’ on a crowded site: if you’re new to the area and nobody knows you, or you turn up late after everyone is in the air, or you were first there and take off before others arrive. So, by ‘alone’ I mean a situation where maybe no-one will notice should you crash in an obscure hidden spot. We all look out for each other on a normal day, but it’s easy not to notice a stranger, or assume someone is with another group of pilots.
· Ideally, go with others, have an outline of each other’s flight plans and how you will keep in touch in the air and on the ground. Check radios are working.
· If you’re alone, make contact with others on the ground, get to know each other, try to share radio frequency and flight plans
· Use a flight tracker, and make sure someone at home knows how to follow you and what to do if you’re in trouble. Satellite location services work just about anywhere but cost money; even a simple app like AirWhere can broadcast your position to sites like XCRT.aero or LiveTrack24
· At the very least tell someone responsible where you are going, and what your plans are. But be sure to let them know when you’re back on the ground to avoid worry or false alarms.
Also, be mindful of others on the hill who may be flying ‘alone’, they may not have anyone else looking out for them.