With increasing paragliding activity from the Skyport, there is concern for potential conflict with activity at the adjacent hang gliding launch. The Liminator is considered an advanced site, and most of the HG pilots are seasoned and reasonably educated regarding etiquette, however, the Skyport is used by student PG pilots in need of structured guidance. In the Spring of 96' Sharon Bvczaczer chaired a committee to develop guide lines for launching from the Skyport and the Liminator. The original committee publication has been lost, however, the following guidelines were originally published in the Spring of 96' edition of Wind Song (the SBHGPA newsletter). Updated in February of 2002.
Skyport Launch Protocol
As our numbers increase, we need to communicate some basic flow concepts to the newer pilots.
If you show up with just a few air junkies, a serial setup can work with a simple discussion about who wants to go first. As we load the launches with more bags, we need to setup in parallel off the side and take launch only when we are line checked, hooked in and ready to spread. With a crowded launch, there should be assistants to help with the layout and final line check. If your available, offer your services to help the flow. Spread the canopies, assist with clearing the lines, report wind from the edge. If you need assistance, ask for it. You're the pilot in command, take charge and direct your assistants.
Tandems need more resources. Due to their size and awkward configuration, tandems will often need to layout centered stage prior to hooking in. Tandem pilots should realize their need for prime real-estate may be an inconvenience to other pilots, and should not lay out on a crowded day until they have completed their briefing and practice runs.
If somebody is suited up and ready behind you while your waiting for a cycle, the pilot on launch canít hold out for the best cycle of the day. They need to take something reasonable or offer to pick up and move back in line. If pilots are hooked in and ready to spread, they donít want to overheat while waiting. Obviously, weíll give the novice pilots a little more time.
It's ok to "push". Any pilot in line may request a push, meaning they are willing to launch in current conditions. A pushing pilot may bump a pilot on launch, however, the pusher must launch within a reasonable time after assistants have spread his canopy (the time is usually stipulated in meet rules, but is typically 30 to 60 seconds).
As you travel to other crowded sites, youíll notice similar local protocol. The need for efficiency will be obvious at convergence sites when we try to launch a large number of pilots within a narrow time window.
The Liminator and The Skyport present additional traffic concerns due to their close proximity. It is reasonable for experienced pilots to take off simultaneously form both launches and thermal up together. If you donít want another aircraft going at the same time form the sister launch, you need to verbally declare your launch intention loud enough to be heard. If a pilot has verbally declared his launch, other pilots should give him the airspace. All the shouting can be a bit disturbing, so if you can tolerate the occasional crowded thermal, it would be nice to keep the peace and quite.
The local house thermal in front of the Skyport is often small, but offers a big advantage if a pilot can climb even just a bit above. As a matter of courtesy you should give airborne pilots a couple of minutes to climb out before jumping in. On a crowded day, you shouldnít block launch for more than a few minutes while circling low in the house thermal. Once a pilot has climbed 2 or 3 hundred over, we can consider them out of the way. Most advanced pilots don't mind sharing the house thermal, but more than 2 below launch may be a bit much.
The rookies need to familiarize themselves with the local thermal protocol. Be aware that some of the experienced pilots feel quite comfortable operating with minimal separation. If you want traffic to give you a little extra consideration as a rookie, deploy a bright streamer behind your harness after launch.