The BHPA and the BMFA have discussed together the shared use of sites by hang gliders/paragliders and radio controlled slope soaring model gliders.
The two bodies have concluded that there is at present no reason to call for a general segregation of these two branches of sporting aviation. Both bodies believe that the two activities can, and should, be able to co-exist safely and harmoniously on shared sites, even when circumstances dictate the use of shared airspace.
However, safety and harmony do require the followers of both activities to adopt positive altitudes and to follow certain basic rules of conduct. The purpose of the Joint Code is to give guidance to enable hang-gliding and model flying enthusiasts to arrive at safe and sensible detailed local rules for specific shared sites.
Note: In the interests of clarity and brevity, the use of the term ‘hang-glider’ in this document is to cover both hang-gliders and paragliders.
FOR BOTH PARTIES
(a) Club Officials (or group leaders/representatives) should make positive attempts to meet their opposite numbers with a view to establishing joint rules of conduct for specific local sites. These officials/leaders/representatives should make every effort to head-off and/or minimise the adverse effects of the `hot-heads' of either side. A club official should be nominated as liaison officer for future contacts.
(b) Where and when segregated airspace is a practical proposition without undue penalty on either activity then it should be implemented.
(c) Where, as is likely to be more normal, shared airspace is necessary to one degree or another, then separate hang-gliding and model landing areas shall be clearly designated. similarly separate hang-gliding and model launching areas shall be clearly designated.
(d) Parking' areas for models and hang-gliders shall be clearly designated and sited so as to minimise the problems presented to either activity e.g. landing approaches over model or hang-glider parking areas should be avoided by both sides. Footpaths must not be obstructed.
(e) When rules have been agreed they should be promulgated locally and, if possible, carried on suitable notice boards at the sites.
(f) On any particular day, if several models and hang-gliders are present one representative on each side should be nominated as ``Duty Liaison Officer'' to ensure that agreed rules are kept to and that any ad hoc problems are dealt with promptly.
FOR MODEL FLYERS
(1) Before attempting to fly, check what the local site rules are for the day. Familiarise yourself with the hang-gliding launch, landing and parking areas. If you are the first model flyer to arrive make yourself known to the hang-gliding people and ensure that they know where your launch, landing and parking areas are going to be.
(2) If you are an inexperienced slope-soaring model flyer then do not fly in airspace likely to be shared with hang-gliders.
(3) Do not launch until your launch area is clear of hang-gliders.
(4) Where more than one model flyer is operating, they should stand together at the launch area while flying.
(5) When flying aim to keep a good angular separation between your model and any hang-glider. Don't forget - your depth perception is often very poor.
(6) Avoid flying in the critical airspace associated with the designated hang-glider launch, landing and parking areas.
(7) Allow plenty of clear airspace if you are performing aerobatics.
(8) Avoid your model being shielded from your vision by a hang-glider.
(9) The above rules should prevent problems but if, nonetheless, a collision appears likely then the much better agility of your model (compared with a hang-glider) means that your role will probably be the more significant one in any avoidance action. It is not possible to give hard and fast collision avoidance rules to cover every situation, but to minimise the effects of depth perception and disorientation `up' or `down' manoeuvres by the model are likely to be the most sensible actions. Your best protection is to observe and learn about hang-glider characteristics compared with your models. If collision avoidance then becomes necessary your actions will be more likely to be instinctively best. Remember that a hang-glider pilot will not be able to see models above and behind him.
(10) Remember that a life is at stake on a hang-glider and, despite being relatively newcomers to the scene, they have just as much right as you to enjoy their activity. Remember that they are also represented on the same national and international bodies as BMFA.
FOR HANG GLIDER/PARAGLIDER PILOTS
1) Before attempting to fly, check what the local site rules are for the day. Familiarise yourself with the model launch, landing and parking areas. If you are the first hang glider pilot to arrive make yourself known to the model flyers and tell them where your landing and parking areas are going to be.
2) If you are an inexperienced hang glider pilot do not fly in airspace likely to be shared with model gliders.
3) Do not take off until your take off area is clear of model gliders.
4) Avoid flying directly between a model and its operator.
5) Avoid flying in the critical airspace associated with the designated model launch, land and parking areas.
6) Remember that although the models are more agile than you their operators are separated from the models by some distance. This often results in poor depth of perception by the operator. In addition, distractions can cause the operator to become disoriented with respect to his model - perhaps leading directly to incorrect directional controls.
7) Never use 27MHz AM tranceivers. Apart from being illegal in the UK they are in precisely the same band as some of the legal model control frequencies - thus interference may be possible, leading to uncontrolled and potentially dangerous flight paths. For information however, most of the model gliders will be using 35MHz or 2.4GHz radio equipment.
8) Remember that model flyers have been operating many more years than hang gliders - they have just as much right as you to be in the air. They are also represented on the same national and international bodies as the BHPA.