Paragliding site analysis (Mount Caburn)

Continuing our series on risk analysis at flying sites, we present Mount Caburn: a small hill often flown in strong wind. You might never fly at this particular site, but understanding the airflow will help you to analyse similar sites. 

In light wind this is an ideal training site, with large grassy launch areas and wide grassy landing zones, with the only hazards being the obvious line of trees and a drainage ditch filled with water. When the wind is strong, the site becomes more hazardous.

  1. Strong wind makes safe launching more challenging. It’s best to avoid setting up on the crest of the hill where the Venturi effect causes an acceleration of the airflow.
  2. Strong wind creates much more turbulence as it passes over the obstacles like trees and buildings. As this turbulence is pushed by the wind you might find a large rough area in the lower layer.
  3. When the terrain forms a gully, the wind is channelled and focused to one point, and where this crests the ridge line you will find a powerful venturi that can pin you and push you over into the rotor zone. Make sure you identify safe escape routes before you fly.

The idea with this video about Mount Caburn is to help you understand the way terrain interacts with the airflow so you can start to identify danger areas and form a sensible flight plan.

Also check out our video on avoiding the rotor at Mount Caburn and our other article on Devil’s Dyke

If you’d like to fly at Mount Caburn, please read the rules on the Southern Hanggliding Club website.

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