OS Map Coordinates: Sheet 180 – SS 417 288
Latitude: 51°03’62.5″N, Longitude: 4°25’77.7″W
Paragliding / Hang Gliding – Pilot Rated + 50 logged hours
If unsure, check with one of the club coaches before flying.
The largest heliport in the South West sits just 570 metres downwind of this site and has an expected 400 arrivals and departures a year. This is a key site where helicopters (military, civilian and coast guard) fly into and can divert to, therefore despite discussion with the land owner beforehand it is still possible that helicopters can arrive at very short notice and without warning.
To maintain this site the NDHPC has worked hard to develop the procedure below through discussion, trial and agreement with the landowner. Compliance with this does not guarantee your safety and therefore it requires the decision of each pilots to consider whether they are prepared to take the risks. This guide should allow you to make an informed decision on whether to go ahead or not.
The highest risk that helicopters pose with regard to wake vortices is when flying in smooth, stable air – coastline flying. If you are in these conditions and a helicopter passes upwind of your position (especially parallel) if you have time, try to land. Violent turbulence from the rotor/wake of the helicopter, even those, just downwind of you, can cause a serious collapse for Paraglider and major instability for a Hang Glider.
Due to this sensitivity the following restrictions apply:
1. READ THE ENTIRE SITE GUIDE BEFORE FLYING HERE
2. FOLLOW THE PROCEDURES OUTLINED BELOW
3. THIS IS NOT A SOARING SITE – IT IS A LAUNCH AREA TO GET HEIGHT AND MOVE DOWN THE COAST – DO NOT SOAR FOR ANY LENGTH OF TIME AT LAUNCH OR ON THE HILL TO THE NORTH OF LAUNCH (SEE MAP)
1. Lomas Helicopters (landowners) and Portledge Helicopters must be informed of our flying activities for that day.
2. Ensure you understand what time the helicopters are arriving and departing and make this check again when you arrive at launch.
3. To ensure this has taken place you must check with a club member above. You can also get confirmation of this through the North Devon Telegram Group.
4. A CANP should be requested the day before flying – see the procedure and details below.
5. The nature of this site dictates that radios are required. The landowner has requested that PG/HG pilots have air band receivers so that they can be made aware of any incoming helicopters whilst airborne.
6. You must have either an Airband receiver, or be able to communicate with another PG/HG pilot who has an Airband receiver.(i.e – Use a 2 Metre radio which must have the ability to transmit/receive, and fly with another pilot who can provide updates to you).
7. DO NOT fly this site if you cannot meet the above criteria.
8. Frequencies are: NDHPC usual 2m radio 143.800, air band receivers to 122.950.
9. At the take-off field the windsock should be erected prior to anyone launching. This is a safety measure to ensure helicopter pilots are aware of us using the site. Please ensure it is up and in position. The Windsock is stored in the box on the wall which is to the east of the launch point. The code to open the box is the same as the gate code by the footpath. The last person launching can remove the windsock just prior to taking off.
10. Once you have completed your pre-flight checks and you are ready to launch you must physically view the helipad to see if there is a helicopter there. If there is please wait until it has departed before launching, or speak with a club member who can verify the timing of the helicopter departure.
Take-off & Rigging Areas
The launch area is quite small. Therefore we ask that you organise and check your kit in the grassy strip below the launch and move up when ready to inflate and launch. There is only room for one glider at a time to launch.
There are very limited top landing areas however the fields just to the South of take-off behind the gap can be used. These are the best bomb out area and also a good place to land on the return journey from a coast run
HG – NO SIDE LANDING OPTIONS
PG – It is possible to land in the field below launch which you would have walked up through from the coastal path. Beware of rotor here though if the wind is off to the north. This can be difficult for inexperienced pilots therefore heading South for the low fields at the gap make a safer option (see below for more detail).
NOTE – This is a coastal site – therefore the site should not be flown between 2 hours before high tide and 2 hours after high tide as there will be NO BOTTOM LANDING for either HG or PG. For HGs there are NO BOTTOM LANDING OPTIONS along the entire coastal run.
At low water the beach is completely covered in large rocks and boulders providing MINIMAL LANDING OPTIONS for PGs. Experienced PG pilots have landed on the rocks and all vouch for the difficulty in getting off the rocks with a wing. Risk of injury is high, risk of damage to equipment is also very high.
The usual landing area is around ½ mile South of take off. (see map below). There is a low gap with fields to the east. It is possible to bail out into these fields if necessary. This is also a good option as a landing field when returning from a coastal run, particularly if the wind has backed to the SW.
The alternate landing area is the green at the haunted house. Be aware that the return North along the coast will bring you low over the take-off area and in close proximity to the helicopter take off. You may not be able to see Lomas or be aware of any helicopters taking off.
If the wind has backed to the SW this alternate landing area is in the lee of the hill and therefore care needs to be taken in making an approach. In this instance make your approach in to wind keeping to the northern (seaward) side of the green tends to ensure cleaner wind. In Northerlies the green can be difficult to land on as Kipling Tors create lift and therefore losing altitude may require flying out over the sea (and out of lift) first. This can be difficult hence we recommend using the normal landing area further down the coast.
HELIPAD – Have a good look out as this area is close to a busy heliport – SEE AND BE SEEN.
The take off field may have livestock in it – again please ensure you do not disturb them.
NORTH DEVON COASTAL PATH – Please be aware that the launch site is very close to the coastal path and there are walkers who frequent this area.
The take off is relatively low at 250ft ASL. Ensure you have judged the conditions correctly and always have a landing option within an easy glide.
There are areas with MINIMAL BOTTOM LANDING options and NO BOTTOM LANDING OPTIONS along this stretch of coast line.
Wave can regularly occur so constantly watch the sky upwind.
The landing field can be in the lee of the prevailing wind and therefore rotor is possible. An approach over the sea may be required.
Pilots are considered to have gone XC once they leave the launch area. They are therefore doing so entirely at their own volition and risk.
With a North Westerly it is possible to fly long coastal runs South to Clovelly (Hartland and back is possible but getting past Clovelly is very difficult) and back can be achieved.
Be aware that along this coast run there are limited and difficult bottom landing options for PGs and no options for HGs. The sea and the rocks will claim the careless!
Experienced pilots can however make good use of sea thermals to leave the hill and inland cross country flights can be made.
From Westward Ho! head to Merley Road and follow it to the end until you arrive at Seafield Car Park – EX39 1JU. (also known locally as Haunted House car park due to the old derelict house by the coastline).
Take a moment to look at the green park area here as this is the main landing area
Seafield Car Park is currently free to park. If this Car Park is full then park along spaces on Merley Road or find a car park in the town itself.
From Seafield Car Park walk along the coastal path heading south-west. After 500 metres you will come to a gate on the track. Go through this gate. The next gateway on your left into an open field is the site entrance. Please open the gate taking care to lock afterwards with the padlock. The code can be obtained from one of the club members above. Walk up the field until you reach a dirt track which is about halfway up the field on the right running up hill between the gorse. Follow this through to another gate. Go through this gate and you are on the rigging area with the launch area now on your right.
Dial 999 or 112 and ask for the Coastguard.
If you cannot make voice calls, you can now contact the 999 Emergency Services by SMS. Note: You must register this prior to an emergency.
You will need to provide the following information:
- Name and mobile number of who is calling
- What has happened?
- What is the problem, state of the casualty. Ensure you use Fall from Height and Remote Location.
- Location: OS Grid Reference Sheet Sheet 180 – SS 417 288 or specific location if different.
- Details of casualty: Name, Age, Address (if known).