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2017 flying year off to a great start!

Filed under: East Scotland,Uncategorised — Murray Hay @ 05:26 pm

While we have only had a single day this year with flying on snow covered hills due to the fairly mild conditions….

January has already given over a dozen days flying at club sites (so far!) and with luck both days this weekend have a good chance of ‘upping the count’ before high winds are forecast to arrive on Monday!

Today (Friday 27th) was a typical east coast ‘drive a few miles’ day with waves crashing over the sea wall at Arbroath yet light soarable conditions at Carnoustie and near calm (with fog returning towards sunset) in Dundee!


Flying at St Cyrus

Hi and (not that the weather this week was looking to be ‘on’ for St Cyrus!) thanks to Bill for the phone call tonight (11th April) to confirm that the situation is fully resolved regarding flying at St Cyrus.

So as usual for the summer flying the ridge AT the car park and to the north is fine, as per the long established gentleman’s agreement pilots are requested NOT to fly (beyond the 1st spur) to the south of the ridge during the raptors nesting season.

Murray Hay

The above was in reference to the previous (below) request to ESP members

Hi all, a request has been passed to ESP pilots via Bill (who lives there) from the Aberdeen club that while talks are about to start with the new senior warden at the Nature Reserve (at St Cyrus) that pilots “please don’t fly at any part of St Cyrus”.

St Cyrus has been flown by ESP club pilots (we in fact had exclusive permission to park the 4×4 in one of the landowners private car park) for almost 19 years and like the other club there, AHPC we had a voluntary gentleman’s agreement to limit flying to the north end of the site during the raptor nesting season, just to be clear, for now, the arrangement is to NOT fly even this area while talks are on going.

Murray Hay


Robbie, retraining CP gets his first (Two!) hour+ long flights

Filed under: East Scotland,Re-training,Scottish Training — Murray Hay @ 12:12 pm

Robbie was out to The Knock of Formal, near Alyth, on the 12th of Feb, having forgot the radio his first flight was short landing next the parking, with Rob bringing up his harness and the radio, Murray flyJog then Flying to top land his wing it was not long before Robbie was in the air again, this time managing a side slope/shoulder (mid land option) landing with again Murray flying the PG back to main launch. His third (and last) flight of the day started with some precision scratching (radio instruction on every¬† ‘trick’) in the lift ‘Waiting Room’ of the west face of the hill, ‘shooting’ the gap of trees/slope till gaining enough lift to start exploring the sky, when at times dropping lift getting back just below ridge top to scratch the ‘waiting room’ once again!

After filming (battery getting low on phone!) a full hour of flying Murray flew to the landing while Rob was still soaring (plenty spare height above the hill) to try and film the landing, just missing the chance to capture a ‘Fly By’ of a couple of fast jets on low level exercise a few 100ft south of the hill and well below our level ūüôā but bummer the last of the battery ‘crashed’ with out saving the couple of mins of video shot from the L/Z ūüôĀ

Robbie’s (estimated)¬† total flight time from that single last flight was around 80ish mins ūüôā

A few days later, on the with forcast winds due to Blow Out (something that did NOT happen, despite the F214 forecast on our visit to Lunan Bay, Robbie doing a single dune top to beach flight) we went to the Sea Cliff ridge near Ellie Golf Course.


This time with the radio remembered, Robbie again with a mix of ‘Waiting Room’ scratching/recovery and GOOD lift seeing him at times flying ‘Feet Wet’ a couple of 100ft above the North Sea.


In total with a single flight Robbie flew 75mins before choosing to land for food & coffee ūüôā

Taking a chance (in view of forecast later winds) we explored east along the coast to visit some of our other sites, but as expected, cutting across Fife to kitesurf at St Andrews proved to be the only viable option ūüôā


A total of three part days, 5 flights, and just under three ours airtime for Robbie!

Film (both the full first hour of the flights) from the inland & the coastal re-training flights are now live on my main YouTube account ‘MurrayHay’


Change of Farm Managers/Site Contacts

Filed under: Club days in Angus,Fife Sites — Murray Hay @ 11:31 am

A few of the clubs long standing Fife (inland) and Angus (1 inland & 2coastal Angus sites) have recently seen retirals/moving on to new pastures, changes in the contact / contact arangments regarding informing the Farm Owners Representive, during the transition it helps in building trust if members and especially visiting PGers if I’m phoned PRIOR to going to sites, minor changes in the club PARKING being a major factor in the case of one site (in that site parking has increased PROVIDED that Murry phones in BEFORE pilots arrive!

Murray Hay (Site Officer ‘Hat’ on)


Club members flying at Nigg, Class D – NOTAM/Weather Limits Etc.

Filed under: Club days in Aberdeenshire,Club East Coast Days,Site Restrictions — Murray Hay @ 10:48 pm

ESP club members can fly at Nigg (and some of our other sites within the Aberdeen CTR which is Class D Airspace down to ground level, with clearance generally up to 200ft PROVIDED that the conditions at Dyce are good enough to allow ATC to issue a SVFR (Special Visual Flight Rules) clearance, which in essence lets our PG pilots fly without needing to maintain radio contact with the control tower.

Nigg Class D

In the case of flying at Brimmond Hill, which is within the ATZ (Class D) at least one pilot MUST be in direct contact with ATC i.e that pilot MUST hold a FRTO and be carrying a Type Approved, Licenced Airband Radio, if flying with other (non-radio) member the pilot in contact with ATC MUST be able to instruct all other paraglider to land promptly when instructed by ATC (I.e. using ‘box two’ R/T on 118.675mHz, the club Freq, or by use of an audio ‘land’ warning like say an AirHorn)

For new members the basic procedure is to phone/text Murray on 0783-11-22-480 (you can also Email giving the requested OPENING (& CLOSING) time

¬†NOTE you MUST state as to if times you are requesting¬†‘Zulu’ OR if times you give are ‘Local’, as in the summer the error in giving the wrong reference is one hour! Closing time can also be given as end of Aviation Daylight (30 mins after official sun down aat the Airfield)

ATC also requires to know how many gliders the clearance is for, if this includes non-members they MUST be flying legally i.e NO USE OF ILLEGAL 2m RADIOS Etc! As Class D clearance can NOT be given for illegal flying!

Due to the limits imposed on a SVFR, ATC MUST be able to use a single point of contact to close the clearance at short notice FOR ALL PARAGLIDERS FLYING, this happens a few times per year when the weather (normally cloud base heights) drops below certain limits.


This week we also had a rare case of the change in the classification of the ‘Class D’! Alan Coffin had sent a request text to Murray¬†requesting that Nigg be activated for two hours, till 1900 (local) and was able to start flying as soon as the request had been approved by ATC, with the conditions changing towards the end of the SVFR in fact this day flying ended (text sent) and Murray phoned ATC to close the Class D, as on checking earlier the METAR/TAF on SkyBookGA (BlackBerry access) Murray had noted that Aberdeen CTR was ‘NOTAMED’ for one hour (from 2000 to 2100) to CHANGE TO CLASS A AIRSPACE….. The change to Class A (NO VFR permitted) was due to a Royal Flight, so it is not just weather conditions which can result in ATC requiring us to not/stop paragliding, and on occasions this can be at short notice! One other occasion I experienced was when flying in the Leuchars¬†MATZ, on ‘7/11’ when the whole of the UK Airspace was shut down

 Murray Hay

PS If other (NON-members) pilots are added to the Class D clearance, the clearance CAN ONLY REMAIN ACTIVE WHILE at least one ESPclub member is present.


The new LOA (Letter of Agreement) between ESP & RAF Leuchars.

Filed under: Fife Sites,Safety! — Murray Hay @ 05:28 pm

¬†With changes in personel at Leuchars it is once again time for Murray to sign the latest update of the club’s¬†LOA with RAF Leuchars. Just to remind members, the LOA¬†covers a number of the clubs paragliding sites in the NE of Fife and helps ensure there is no conflict between paragliding and fast/heavy ‘wake’ aircraft on low level sorties or departing from Leuchars in the case of Forret/Lindifferon.

¬†In addition to the named/notified PG sites, as the LARS unit provides ‘conflict’ information to the many GA aircraft flying in this part of Fife they can also assist us in maintaining safe seperation from light aircraft by advising those GA pilots of the areas we are thermal flying, provided¬†radio contact with ATC is maintained.

 While there are only minor up-date changes (mainly including more detailed information regarding thermal flights/routes) members are required to read the LOA before flying at a number of the training sites managed by Precision Paragliding.

At some of the ‘open’ sites along the Tay south bank it is strongly advised to check with Murray as to the site status on that day (farmers/landowners requests) as well as to let the RAF controllers inform the Jet Jocks¬†where we are soaring.
Remember it’s not just to ensure safe separation between RAF Jets if anything the hazards from Helicopters quite legaly flying in the Class G airspace of Fife passing in front of a slope or over the top of a hill at low level can not be over stated!

Not to mention that on occasions the controler may call Murray up on the radio to check no PG pilots are about to bottom land… then pass (on one occasion 4 in tight formation following the A92 well below hill top height!) some jets BELOW the paragliders!¬†

Murray Hay


2008 – First Flight of the New Year – Leadlich, Aberdeenshire.

Filed under: Club days in Aberdeenshire,East Scotland — Dunc1261 @ 05:59 pm

Happy New Year to you all !

Like most folks who were feeling the over indulgence of the Festive period I was keen to get my first flight in for the New Year. The forecast for Sunday 6th Jan was for the wind from the south to ease later on in the day. I phoned Scott Rigg who was in Inverness and he recommended I call Adrian which I did. To cut a long story short as I was at my Mum’s in Banchory I thought a quick trip out to Leadlich would do harm and to see if any other folks had the same intentions….

I pulled up behind Jules and Guillaume (members of the AHPC) at the lay-by near Tarland. A third chap (Audi All-terrain estate) was also there. We headed up the track and met John Newton travelling down in his vehicle. John had already one flight in, filling us with confidence saying that conditions went from nil wind to gusting 25 mph plus and after taking off he was going backwards…


Photos taken using my LG Camera Phone

We all opted to walk up for the exercise, refusing a lift from John. He dropped off his wing and drove down to the car park. We all got to the top and sheltered behind the cairn. Conditions were too strong. After 30 minutes conditions eased and all five of us got off and worked the ridge lift. After 25 minutes we all started dropping as conditions eased and we all bottom landed in the field next to the trees. I was pleased in that I was first to take off and last to land. Probably because I am very light on the Aeron 28 after having lost 3.5 stone…must get a medium wing…

After packing up we headed to the Crossroads Hotel for a pint

Later Simon Lucas and his girlfriend had a Tandem Top To Bottom (TTTB) in nil wind conditions.

First flight of the year bagged by all that were out and hopefully many more to come….

Fly Safe!,



Another sunny day ‘up top’ in Scotland…. Foggy Bottom down below!

Filed under: East Scotland,Press Coverage — Murray Hay @ 06:47 pm

Taking a ‘long lunch’ on Friday afternoon from a FOGGY Dundee saw me heading north to Craigowl to test fly Nairn’s new (2nd hand) DHV 2 Ozone, joined in the 4×4 by somewhat sceptical Nairn we were 2/3rds of the way up the hill and still in thick fog!

Alan had phoned earlier to say that (at that time) visability was Ok and he could see the back of the hill from about 15 miles to the north west where he was… so I was relying on the MET reports, local knowledge and Alan’s ‘mark one eyeball’…. and yep the “plan came together”…. Dig out the sun cream, a complete dome of blue sky opened up above us in about 100ft (vertical) further up the slope… by the time we were at launch level the fog was a few 100 feet below us!

It was intresting over the next hour to watch the ebb & flow of the fog ‘lapping’ around the hill, at times the gaps had fog flowing to the north and a while later flowing back south, with the valleys on both sides of the hill full of fog. Even the front of the hill while there was a steady east drift visible all the time, localy patches were moving in oposition to the main drift, useful to see how the air mixes on light breeze days.

So not much flying to be had, just a few short test flights, but one of those days just being on hill top was enough to make it a afternoon to remember!

 Murray Hay

Oh and the temp down at the farm was -3.5*c with about <100m vis in freezing fog!

Press cutting from Saturday 22nd December


Winter High Time….

Filed under: East Scotland — Murray Hay @ 02:18 am

After a FANTASTIC week of personal flying¬†the weekend was looking to be a lot less intensive for me as many of the members & students were ‘booked’ to do family stuff, mainly involving a jolly fat man in a red flying suit! I wonder if he was telling¬†Nair’s crew about some of his mid winter epic XC flights?

Sat¬†was a meet up with just Duncan for the first of two days planned flying, taking the¬†‘student free’ chance¬†to fly a favorite technical site of mine which as Duncan mentions in his post was a new site for him. From my normal parking spot it was a 5 min hike for Duncan to the ‘second site’ launch point of this split site (two owners, both requiring the private site to be ‘booked’) for me it was the shooting range cliff launch¬†and then¬†‘jump the gap’ to fly along to the mid cliff landing zone, keeping the wing up to jog up the rock face to show Duncan the layout/pull up and launch areas for the day.

Due to the highly technical nature¬†launches at this¬†stepped cliff site mean even long term members need to go through the full site brief, however once in the air the flying here once ‘sussed’ is often very easy, the main issue on this day being the x-wind factor leading to fast down wind beats but easier launches and landings ūüôā

 Flying was in lovely warm conditions with the inversion making it feel more like Autumn rather than mid winter, even the inversion haze was not an issues at it was mostly below the flying site take off and landing altitudes. Part way through the day then again at the end of flying we were joined up on the hill by one of the landowners and his son on their dirt bikes, as a 1,000hr GA pilot he often comes up to chat about aviation in general but is yet to have a flight on the tandem..

Checking the conditions at the top of Dundee Law, prior to meeting Duncan

Sunday saw Jonathan across to further build on the flying tasks he¬†had been practicing at Morrone the previous weekend. the pickup loaded it was up to the low hill launch as the ‘top field’ part of the site was (at that time of the day) still below the inversion layer and almost still, but a couple of 100ft up at the low launch the windsock showed 10ft above the ground there was a nice steady 10kt wind almost directly up slope.

The first part of the day was taken up with JR practicing tricky “double bounce” launches with the wing on the ground only in about a couple of knots breeze… a delicate touch required! With steady progress and a lot of short flights completed… 2 mins back to launch point by 4×4 so no walking required¬†ūüėȬ†Duncan arrived midday¬†from the Aberdeen area,¬†and it was now time to shift further up the hill to the mid launch area for a lot more flights & retrives, finaly¬†another shift to the top area after 2pm, flying from where Duncan had hiked up to earlier.

The day was lots of good flights for JR, with the delicate launches and ground control all coming together nicely and the bigger flights giving him time to both enjoy the view more and work on turns and fine tuning both the variations in approach path and the landings (also getting better and better).

The last flight was about 20 mins after Duncan’s¬†last one¬†and the first one for JR from next the masts, with a bit of ‘air to air’ filming (shortly to be added to YouTube)¬†it was a ‘hard’ cut back to the hill for me to spot in next the 4×4 to drive down and collect JR.

¬†A¬†GREAT DAYS flying and training… the only issue being a wrong turn on the drive down resulting in the pickup being nearside ‘nose down’ in a BIG hole… (about 2 1/2 foot air gap under the rear wheel on the drivers side!) fortunately the trick with putting on the handbrake (to lock the rear wheels) put all the power to the front wheels and a¬†drive back out of the hole! 10 mins later and a ‘alternative’ route saw the 4×4 down at the landing field to pick up JR and drive him back to the farm and his car ready for the long¬†drive back to the west coast.

Murray Hay (VERY Glad for all practice driving 4×4’s while doing¬†commercial photographic work on ‘off road’ courses over the years!)


A Blocking High – Two Weekend Days Flying for my First Time¬Ö..

Filed under: East Scotland — Dunc1261 @ 05:19 pm

Last weekend (15th & 16th December 2007) saw a blocking High Pressure system providing a light southerly over both weekend days. The anticyclone flow spirals in a clockwise direction in our Northern Hemisphere, hence the southerly air flow. In winter this is characterised by periods of ground frost and a low sharp inversion and this is what we have experienced even down here in London.

A check on the Met F215/F215 spot wind and weather was required. The temperature profile confirmed that the air temperature at higher altitudes was indeed warmer than at ground level.

I called Murray up on Friday from Heathrow and we agreed that a South Facing site south of Aberdeen and North of Dundee would be beneficial to both parties. Distance from homes and ease of access are significant to selection of a site.

After a call to Murray on the Saturday morning the Hill of Finavon was the meeting point agreed. Off the A90, close to Forfar, the site was closer to Dundee but a reasonable driving distance from Aberdeen. I headed South and spotted Murray’s pickup parked near the Finavon turnoff just South of Brechin.

We drove in convoy. Murray stopped to check the air and spotted a red squirrel running across the B-road. These creatures are quite rare. Native to Britain their numbers are dwindling significantly with the introduction of the American Grey squirrel.


We watched the squirrel disappear up into the trees and carried on with our journey. We headed to a hill on which the Bronze Age Forts are located on the North side of Rescobie Loch. The location is about 2 miles North East of Forfar. This hilltop area saw a number of Hill Forts developed in the Bronze Age. Erosion has opened up the ground and exposed the rock and created crags and crevasses. Looked at the site you have to image what the wind does when it hits the rock. The location was unusual in that there are two distinct steps in the hillside, both of which can be ridge soared in the right conditions.

I had been to this site once before a few years back but had never flown there. Once on the top I set up and flew one beat and landed above the small slope. Watching Murray I realised I would have to fly nearer to the rocky outcrop to get into the lift band. Sure enough subsequent flights I was managing to stay in ridge lift. I had to scratch close to the ridge line and flew above and behind. The downwind beat was very fast and a tight flat turn was required to get back and into the slope again.

Conditions easer later on and the temperature started to drop. Murray set up and stepped off one of the rocky plinths, landing high.

My last flight went almost to plan where I did a beat on the top slope, followed by the bottom slope then down the hill landing in a grass field. I was very pleased with the day and for me another site bagged.

Murray has posted some of the video clips on (YouTube)


On the Sunday I headed to Craigowl, one of the hills to the North of Dundee. I could see Murray’s pickup on the slopes highlighted against the heather stub. I parked up at the farm and the farmer asked if I wanted a lift up the hill. Well I could not refuse and off we went to meet up with Murray and JR, already on the slope.

I watched JR perform a number of take offs and landings. He is getting better having seen him work the slopes on Morrone. I walked up to near the top of the hill near the mast and took off to work the exposed rocks below the summit. Conditions were very light and I landed too far down. Murray and JR came higher up the hill. The pickup was being worked hard on the slopes providing retrives!

I had a few more flights where I did land high then had a good slope landing. I then advised Murray and JR that I was going to bottom land as I had a few things to do before catching an evening flight to London Heathrow.

Another good day out and my first weekend managing to fly both days

Have a great Christmas and a Happy New Year!

See you on the Hill in 2008….

Fly Safe


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