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POM South Side

Flight Park State Recreation Area

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Lehi, Utah

Revised 01 Feb 2024

Location

N40º 27' 24.12" W111º 54' 9.72"

40.4567, -111.9027
Elev 5148' / 1569m

Ratings & Skills

UPSHPA H2 / P2 (non-rated w/inst)

High Altitude, Foot Launch

Radio Comm

Primary . . . . . . . .  447.800

Alternate . . . . . . . . 447-8.25

Emergency . . . . . . 146.560

Access

All-weather paved road with graded dirt portions accessible to all vehicles. Occasionally shared with trucks and heavy equipment operating in the active quarries nearby.

Known Hazards

Strong east wind creates rotors off hills southeast of launch. West wind creates rotors in west-end bowl. Strong midday turbulence of lower bench. Beware of blow-back into wires and quarry behind parking/camping areas. Students and novice pilots in the traffic pattern and LZ. Heavy traffic on most flyable days. Top-landing: low turn to base or final may result in impact or hard landing. Use caution for bystanders in the setup and launch areas and in the Upper and Lower LZ.

Site Sensitivites

Paragliders: do not launch, land or kite in the hang glider landing area! Top-landing: approach on an angle into the wind, nose no further north than the windmill in the valley. Land when turbulence or crowds exceed your abilities. Other pilots may not follow the Ridge Rules. Hang gliders launching and soaring are a good indicator the wind speed has exceeded P2 paraglider limits.

Attention All Users: POM South Side is Utah's primary training site for hang gliders and paragliders and is subject to heavy use by pilots of all skill levels, including students and tandems. No pilot should fly at this site who is not a current USHPA and UHGPGA member holding the minimum USHPA ratings and skills indicated, unless under the direct supervision of a USHPA-certified instructor or observer. Visiting and first-time users should familiarize themselves with the known hazards and site sensitivities described in this guide. As pilot-in-command, you alone are responsible for assessing your fitness for flight, the airworthiness of your glider and equipment, the suitability of the current conditions for launch and recovery, and for continuously monitoring glider position and performance to ensure a safe landing at an approved landing zone. If in doubt, do not launch.

POM South Side Rules
  • Follow all posted Utah State Park regulations.

  • Motorized aircraft may not launch or land on UHGPGA or State Park property. Motor pilots must remain clear of the Flight Park when under power.

  • Wear a helmet any time you are attached to a glider.

  • Kiting in or upwind of the hang glider set-up and landing area is prohibited. The HG set-up and landing area is clearly marked with a line of high-visibility pink 'whiskers'. PGs please remain clear of this area.

  • The Launch Box is the area between the pattern flags extending 20 feet back from the windward edge (see diagram above). When the pattern flag is green, enter the Launch Box, proceed to the edge and launch. No kiting or sliders in this area. If airborne and you see someone in the launch box, assume they are attempting to launch and give way.

  • Pilots wishing to kite or perform sliders should do so east or west of the pattern flags (screw-around areas).

  • Immediately before launching, clear traffic and yell “Clear” or “Launching.”

  • Adhere to USHPA Ridge Rule procedures.

  • Clear the LZ immediately after landing. Remain alert for incoming gliders as you clear the LZ. You may not kite in the LZ, but kiting is permitted in the raised gravel area to the east of the LZ and parking lot.

  • Vehicles are to remain clear of the LZ at all times.

  • Land before official sunset (FAR Part 103). Gliders with approved strobes land no later than 30 minutes after sunset.

Incident Awareness and Response
  • Fly with the Zello app open in the background and the UHGPGA channel live. Click here for app and channel. Announcements will be made over the channel, just like walkie talkie.

  • While airborne, be alert for the lights or sirens of emergency vehicles below. They may be responding to a flight incident or accident in the Flight Park or its environs.

  • The presence of emergency vehicles, smoke canister, and/or car on launch with its lights on and alarm sounding requires you to land. A helicopter, gust front or other hazard may be approaching. Secure wings as soon as possible.

Staying Safe at the South Side
  • The maximum recommended wind speed for P2 pilots is 15mph, and 18mph for P3 pilots. Winds are safe for launch when blowing from 160° to 200°.

  • Be aware that students and visitors unfamiliar with USHPA’s Ridge Rules may be in the pattern with you.

  • Avoid blow-back conditions. Stronger than anticipated winds can rapidly carry you north towards towers, power lines and steep gravel pit drop-offs behind the camper parking area at the rear of the park.

  • Pilots attempting a downwind-base-final approach to a top landing may experience a low base or final turn, resulting in impact at high groundspeed. Instead, start your approach and top-landing no lower than 100’ above the hill and crabbing into the wind, with the ridge on your right and your back to the lip. Do not point the nose north of the valley windmills.

  • The South Side occasionally develops “holes” in lift resulting in inadvertent top or sidehill landings.

  • Strong or gusty winds and bad inflations can easily result in pilots being dragged. Delay launch, or land if airborne when

  1. you find yourself blocking collapses, or

  2. conditions become too crowded for your ability, or

  3. the air becomes excessively textured, especially close to the ground.

  • For paragliders, if you see higher performance hang gliders launch and soar, conditions have probably exceeded your limits.

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UHGPGA 2023 Safety Report

Dear Pilots,

Thank you for all the safe flights you’ve made this year. We always hope there won’t be any accidents, but unfortunately there were several this year involving one fatality and other serious injuries. We deeply regret the loss of life and injuries. We wish comfort, healing, and peace to the families and individuals affected.

Please read the safety message prepared last spring. It’s at the end of this report and also on our UHGPGA.org website. Most pilots seem not even know about it. The message encouraged a 20:20 rule flying the front ridges on the south side ridge and north side front ridge and it may not be a coincidence our fatality happened on one of the most congested flying evenings of the year.

Paragliding and Speed Flying

The 2023 flying season saw several incidents among paragliders and speed flyers. These include North Side blowbacks, high wind soaring, and others. When flying these small aircraft, it is important to keep in mind that most of the time they are quite easy to fly. This fact often leads to complacency in piloting, mental awareness, weather decisions, and more. It is important to periodically check in with oneself as the pilot in command, follow checklists, and remind us of the true gravity of our sport. When we are truly in touch with what we are doing, it is clear the precautions we need to consistently take.

  • Follow checklists

  • Mental / Emotional Check in before flight

  • In-flight self-reminders

  • Conservative decision making (maneuvers, weather, etc.)

  • Extreme caution to avoid flying ABOVE skill level

A Short Note on Progression

The relatively easy flight characteristics of paragliders and speedwings often give a pseudo feeling of confidence in once’s ability. It is important to remember that our air sports demand a high level of respect. Very quick progression (downsizing speedwings, stepping up paraglider performance categories) should be avoided at all costs. Remember, slow is fast and fast is slow... A fast progression often leads to physical injury, fear injury, steps back due to lack of fundamentals, and more. Quite a slow progression when looking at the big picture! On the contrary, a slow progression looks like nailing the fundamentals, an appropriate degree of confidence and caution, and a high degree of skill. A much quicker (and safer) progression when looking at the big picture!

Hang Gliding and Paragliding

There were two hang glider/paraglider collisions this year. Many are not comfortable discussing accidents, but we do so to learn from the accidents to help avoid them in the future.

In the North Side fatal accident, the hang glider pilot on a circling southeast flight path from the front ridge to the back ridge did not see the tandem paraglider pilot approaching from the front ridge to the back ridge on a south intercept course. The hang glider pilot circled around one last time barely above the paraglider wing, lost lift, and settled onto the wing. Both gliders dropped to the ground, killing the

paraglider pilot and severely injuring the paraglider passenger and the hang glider pilot.

Both pilots failed to maintain adequate separation from each other’s aircraft. The brightness of the sun in the general direction of the approaching yellow paraglider wing was deemed a factor. Neither pilot took any observable evasive action.

In the second North Side incident, the paraglider pilot landed in the bailout area with the hang glider pilot landing second. The hang glider was not able to clear the still inflated paraglider wing and collided with it. Fortunately there were no injuries.

Although lower pilots have landing priority, once pilots land, they are responsible for clearing the landing area immediately. Both pilots failed to maintain adequate separation from each other’s aircraft.

A Short Note on Awareness

A very constructive way to study any accident is to ask what could I have done as the pilot to avoid the accident? As pilots we can hope other pilots will avoid us, but the responsibility is on each of us to maintain awareness and adequate separation from other aircraft.

John Heiney tells his students:

  1. Don’t run into anyone.

  2. Don’t allow anyone to run into you.

 

John told us Dan Racanelli was serious about this at Funston (San Francisco hang gliding site) long before paragliders. If Dan could sneak up on you and kick your king post or nose plate (do not try this), shame on you. You had to go land.

We must maintain awareness always while flying. We must scan for traffic all the time, not just around us but far enough away to stay out of the way of approaching aircraft, especially landing aircraft. Keep in mind it is harder for hang gliders than paragliders to deviate from a flight path once committed to landing—especially while on final approach.

Too often paragliders are not aware a hang glider is on a landing approach because the hang glider is not anywhere nearby and land where the hang glider has been planning to land.

Wear helmets and eye protection that allow for a wide field of view and work in all lighting conditions. A good set of polarized auto darkening sun glasses helps the entire sky remain visible even while facing the sun.

A Short Note on Evasive Action

When any lack of awareness and lack of separation sets us up for a collision, there may still be a chance we can avoid the collision by taking evasive action. Hang gliders, paragliders, and speed wings are all capable of evasive maneuvers. Learn these maneuvers with the aircraft you fly at safe altitudes until performing them becomes instinctive. Not taking evasive action or hesitating before taking evasive action can use up any remaining time left to avoid a collision.

Other Suggestions

Some club pilots were asked for suggestions to help us all be safer pilots. Here they are:

  • Be aware pilots flying toward the sun may not see you.

  • Paraglider pilots need to stay aware of faster hang glider speeds and larger blind spots. Hang gliders need to stay aware of slower paraglider speeds.

  • Increase margins in scratchy conditions among terrain and other pilots.

  • Student and newish pilots should fly with a streamer.

  • Do not tailgate.

  • Scratch free sunglasses cut down glare and really help with visibility.

  • Realize faster aircraft need more room to turn. Slower aircraft are not always giving faster aircraft enough room to turn.

  • Stay current.

  • More experienced pilots should try to fly other sites more to leave the point less crowded for students and newer pilots.

  • Leave the smoother air to the paragliders and the rougher air to the hang gliders.

  • Make the north side a P3/H3+ site.

  • Establish standard patterns and procedures for operating in more congested areas at the point.

  • Only make right hand turns when benching up at the north side.

  • Enter the north side front ridge traffic pattern at or below a certain altitude when returning from the bench.

  • Fly at least 75 to 100 hours per year with half these hours in areas with moderate traffic, otherwise avoid flying with mixed wing traffic.

  • Avoid complacency and always scan for traffic.

  • Mitigate risks through consistent training, proper traffic scanning, and avoid dense traffic areas when possible.

  • Newer pilots should avoid flying with mixed wing traffic.

  • Hang glider pilots should develop the ability to fly away from the high density paraglider traffic areas most of the time except as necessary to descend, approach, and land.

  • All paragliders and hang gliders must clear the landing areas as soon as possible.

 

From your 2023 Safety Officers

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