RMHPA Meeting Minutes for 17 May 2018 (7-9 pm)
Holidaily Brewing Company
801 Brickyard Cir B
Golden, CO 80403
The Holidaily Brewing Company was a great place for the May Meeting. It has a wonderful patio and tasty beer. If gliders were over the Lookout launch you could see them from the patio while having a beer—of course that would also mean you were missing out on some good flying so you would be conflicted.
Will Stites (RMHPA Vice–President) convened the meeting and reflected on the long history of RMHPA. The club has been in existence since 1970/71, nearly 50 years! It was the 21st free flight club to be founded in the U.S. and is one of only a handful of clubs that manage and secure insurance for more than one site. We currently manage eight sites and secure and pay for landowner insurance for seven of those sites. We carry additional insurance for private individuals, corporations, and City and County Governments. Your efforts and support as RMHPA members makes it possible. Some great news on that front, Boulder is planning on allowing us to use Dowdy Draw, a small ridge soaring site in South Boulder. We’ll get out more information on the site once our new Memorandum of Understanding with Boulder is complete. This reflects a very positive trend since we have lost a handful of sites in the last 10 years.
One of the highlights of the meeting was our guest speaker Chelsea Beebe who is a naturalist with Jefferson County Open Space. She gave an informative talk and slide presentation on raptors. She also discussed Federal Laws to protect nesting raptors from being disturbed. Jeffco protects nesting sites by closing trail access within a half mile of active nests (nests are usually active from February thru August). That half mile for us equates to 2,640’ AGL if flying over a nesting site. Until a volunteer nest monitor took pictures of low paragliders in a nesting area, they had not really considered airborne interlopers. With a cooperative spirit and with concern for our feathered flying partners, we want to avoid flying below 2,640' AGL in the nesting areas. Yes, there may be an emergency or unavoidable situation but try to avoid getting into those situations. Without revealing actual nest locations the big picture areas for us to avoid:
1) Flying below 2,640’ AGL behind the Ralston Buttes. Flying out in front is not a problem.
2) Over the Deer Creek Hogbacks or Waterton Canyon—remain above 2,640’ AGL.
3) Flying below 2,640’ AGL behind the Flatirons. There are no nesting sites in front of the Flatirons but remember to stay 500’ above (no scratching).
We welcomed a few new folks to their first RMHPA meeting. Thanks for being there!
JJ our resident radio expert, especially on Baofengs, gave some excellent advice on radios.
1) Everyone should have the transmit Time out Timer (TOT) set to 30s so that your stuck mic won’t prevent everybody else from communicating until your battery runs out. If you have overly verbose friends, consider setting their TOTs to an even lower setting.
2) Many of the Baofengs come with a fat short antenna that is not very effective. Consider buying a longer antenna—it will really increase the radio’s range and help keep the signal from being blocked and absorbed by your 90% water cranium.
3) JJ will bring his laptop to the next meeting to load radios with preset freqs and setups to make it easier to be on the right freq quickly so you can go fly instead of standing on launch beeping through all the menu pages.
Adam Lendl, our event coordinator, went over plans for upcoming events. He can use help so reach out to him if you can help with any of the following or have ideas for other clinics:
BBQs: Golden June; Boulder July; Bellyache/Wolcott August
(the Boulder BBQ will include a hike and fly spot landing competition)
Clinics: First Aid Weather Tree Rescue
On June 6th plan on being in Boulder. We want maximum participation in a photo op with members of the Boulder Open Space Team. A picture with 50+ paraglider pilots will help capture the heritage of the club and the fact that we have been flying in Boulder for nearly 50 years.
Stay tuned on the forum and WhatsApp for more details on the BBQ, Clinics and Photo.
Connect to the RMHPA Google calendar on the website to stay up to date on all the upcoming events.
Speaking of Boulder, know the rules, please do not park on Pine Needle Road.
Speaking of WhatsApp, try to post on the appropriate venue for the topic being addressed. More importantly be kind to others, some may be new to WhatsApp, and others, like me, may just be old and easily confused by these newfangled devices.
There was also a discussion on flying at Dinosaur. It’s a long drive but it sounds like welcoming place to fly with some amazing cross country potential. You’ll want a dedicated driver, Spots or In Reaches, and someone with site experience to help keep you safe.
Ken Grubbs, our region 4 representative to USHPA, also spoke briefly. Region 2 includes CO, AZ, NM and UT. Ken's home site is Steamboat Springs. Steamboat Springs just got their insurance approved and he encouraged pilots to come fly there. It is a P4 site but there are sponsored opportunities for P2/P3 pilots. They will be having open houses at Steamboat just before the 4th of July and on Labor Day. He encouraged everyone to attend the USHPA board meetings and to vote on the latest proposal to make the board smaller. His most important message was that we need to bring more pilots into our sport. The larger the number of pilots, the more our voices are heard. Site access and access to insurance depends on having as large a group of hang glider and paraglider pilots as possible. To keep our sport viable we need more pilots! The pilots we have need to continue representing our sport in a positive manor and advocating for free flight. Find a friend or two and introduce them to the sport.
On the “There I Was” safety front we heard about a reserve toss in Boulder after a collapse induced cravat and spiral. Great job tossing the reserve in time (the estimate was 2-3 seconds under the reserve). “If in doubt throw it out.” This story also concluded with my favorite quote of the night. On the way home, the incident pilot stopped at a grocery store and could not resist taking the time to smell the flowers. As he enjoyed the aromas he said to himself, “I’m f***ing alive!!”
Two other pilots related their experiences at SIV clinics. Their enthusiasm should definitely convince you to go to your first SIV or go again if it has been a while. Talk to some of the experienced pilots to get recommendations on instructors. It is a great way to gain confidence in your wing and prepare you for the unexpected.
There was also a discussion of landing zone etiquette. Some takeaways:
1) Gather your gear and move quickly to clear the landing zone without becoming a conflict to landing pilots.
2) While gathering your gear and clearing the LZ, clear/watch final approach. You have to be aware that someone is on final in order to prevent a conflict. Clear your turns and airspace even while on the ground.
3) If there are pilots on final, especially hang gliders, it may be better, if not clearly in their flight path, to stay where you are until they land. If you are moving, the landing pilot has to guess/predict where your movements and pace will put you as they try to focus on their landing. Watching them land, making eye contact and possibly lowering your gear to the ground will telegraph that you see them and are not going to suddenly move into their flightpath.
4) Radio calls from pilots turning final may also help alert those in the LZ to be more alert.
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