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Site Guides are Rolling Out

For your reading pleasure I am happy to present the new site guide for the North Side, Point of the Mountain. Our site guides are more than just pretty images and compelling text (although we hope they are at least that). They are intended to help new pilots, visiting pilots and long-time pilots who may not have flown in a while become familiar with the potential hazards, site sensitivities and best practices for each of the flying sites we superintend as a club.

Site guides, and the risk management documents that accompany them, also form the foundation for our annual application for the USHPA site insurance that protects pilots, the club, its officers and volunteers, and the land owners who grant access to their property every time we launch or land. Without that insurance, none of our sites could operate. And without our sanctioned sites, the organized sport of unpowered free flight in Utah would come to a quick end.

So a site guide must be accurate, easily accessible, timely, and comprehensive without being overwhelming. Pilots rely on the information in a club's site guides to help them make decisions about the conditions they encounter when they prepare to fly a given site. What a site guide cannot do, however, is substitute for the hard-earned local knowledge of UHGPGA member-pilots with years of experience at Inspo, Grandeur, The V or any other site. So we walk a fine line between publishing accurate, detailed site guides, while at the same time urging the pilots who read them to seek out an instructor, mentor, or willing UHGPGA member with recent experience at that site before making that all-important go/no-go decision. Every site guide carries such a disclaimer on the front page.

Each site guide can be found under the Flying Sites tab on the top menu on the Home page. (If you click on the Flying Sites tab itself, that takes you to a state map with all our sites listed, as well as a few of the CUASA sites as well. As we publish each site guide over the next few days, its link on the map will become active.)

We've started with the North Side and South Side; Camel's is also up, to give you an idea of what our "remote" site guides will look like. We should have the rest published within 10 days or so. Each site guide contains a standardized data table at the top with location, elevation, access, communications, hazard and sensitivity information. There will always be a bird's eye view of the site from launch to LZ, with even more standardized data and a handy "at-a-glance" table showing best wind conditions for PG and HG pilots at various ratings. Narrative information about the site follows—rules, special precautions, best practices—and more diagrams and images when they're helpful.

Perhaps the most important feature on our site guides is all the way at the bottom: a link to a site guide Corrections and Additions Form for you to fill in and submit. These completed forms will be reviewed by our Safety Officers and members of the Insurance and Risk Management Committee so amendments to these site guides can be made in a timely manner. This is how "local knowledge" becomes "common knowledge" for each of our sites. I promise that your constructive critiques will be read and acted upon.

So have a look, compare the information presented with your own boots-on-the-ground experience, send us your corrections and suggestions, and help make our sport safer. Because that's the bottom line: we all want to come home to the people we love when the flying day is over. Our site guides should contribute to that goal, and with your help, they will. Thanks, and fly safe. Bob

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