Paragliding Through an Airport Traffic Pattern For a Beer Can Have Fatal Consequences

This has been a common sight at Redlands Airport lately. There have been some brave young lads paragliding through the traffic pattern at Redlands Airport risking their lives and the lives of pilots using the airport so they can strut their stuff to their pals at the brewery. On Sunday 4-21 there were at least 3 close calls between paragliders and planes. If you fly paragliders please avoid the airspace over the airport. Its not worth the risk and it may be illegal too!

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14 Responses to Paragliding Through an Airport Traffic Pattern For a Beer Can Have Fatal Consequences

  1. Mitchell McAleer says:

    I’ve been landing solo and tandem paragliders at the Redlands airport since 2011 and have not seen any problem with local general aviation traffic. You are welcome to contact me with descriptions and pictures of problems, and I am more than happy to help you identify the glider owners and speak to the pilots in question about landing at the airport.

    • Ted Gablin says:

      Mitchell, the picture was from last Sunday(4-21). I am hearing second hand there was a race of sorts on Sunday 4-21. It involved 16 paragliders going to the brewery around 3pm. There were 3-4 close encounters with aircraft in the pattern. It resulted in complaints to the City of Redlands, the FAA and at least two NASA reports being filed. One of the pilots involved with a near miss went to the brewery and discussed the incident with at least one of the paragliders.

      I am not aware of an issue that has transpired with paragliders using the airport. It’s the brewery trips that have been the issue and the draw for the paragliding activity. Most sail right through the traffic pattern to land at the brewery across the street from the airport. Very few have used radios, and even when they do they don’t announce position in the pattern. There have been complaints made to the City and the FAA about near misses and close calls for this activity going back a few months.

      We are going to work with the local soaring club to try and get the word out about this as this activity may result in an accident.

      • Gareth says:

        Ted,

        What would you like to see done?

        • Ted Gablin says:

          The Redlands Airport Association cannot endorse unpowered paragliders operating in the airport environment at Redlands Municipal The nature of the flight characteristics of these aircraft make operations in a busy airport environment difficult to comply with FAA Regulation 103.13(a). This creates a hazard for all operators.

          103.13 (a) Each person operating an ultralight vehicle shall maintain vigilance so as to see and avoid aircraft and shall yield the right-of-way to all aircraft.

      • Mitchell McAleer says:

        I have read your allusion to 3 incidents, but none have bothered to define a single one of them. We are slow moving, easy to see aircraft, the arguments I read below don’t qualify as a legitimate issue. If GA can’t see a 200 square foot paraglider at 20 knots, there is no reason to believe the same eyesight is going to be able to see 120 square feet at 200 knots, regardless of radio contact, and there was radio notification for every paraglider landing 4 / 21/ 2019.

        • Ted Gablin says:

          On Wednesday 4-24, members of the Crestline Soaring Society had opportunity to meet some of the pilots involved with the near misses on 4-21-19. There was no allusion

      • Mitchell McAleer says:

        BTW your february club minutes state an agenda to contact the local hang gliding and paragliding club, but I don’t see any effort to make that happen. I have left my contact information with the County at Tricia Swope, Senior Project Manager’s office. If you are interested in moving forward with contact with the local foot launch free flight club, the Crestline Soaring Society, give me a call. 909 219 0657

  2. mark says:

    There is apparently no airspace reservation on this airport, so where’s the problem?

    • Ted Gablin says:

      We are hearing there was a race of sorts on Sunday 4-21. It involved 16 paragliders going to the brewery around 3pm. There were 3-4 close encounters with aircraft in the pattern. It resulted in complaints to the City of Redlands, the FAA and at least two NASA reports being filed. One of the pilots involved with a near miss went to the brewery and discussed the incident with at least one of the paragliders.

      We are not aware of any issue that have transpired with paragliders using the airport. It’s the brewery trips that have been an issue and the draw for the paragliding activity. Most sail right through the traffic pattern to land at the brewery across the street from the airport. Very few have used radios, and even when they do they don’t announce position in the pattern. There have been complaints made to the City and the FAA about near misses and close calls for this activity going back a few months.

      The potential for an accident from operations like this is the problem

      RAA

  3. Stephan Forslund says:

    Not illegal. It is a good idea to cross mid point of the runway with ample altitude

    • Ted Gablin says:

      Stephan,
      The incidents occurred when the crossings were made without ample altitude. Please be aware there is a helicopter traffic pattern on the south side of the field at 500′ AGL. If you want to land at the brewery your going to descend through the traffic pattern. Operating a paraglider that close to an active airport also makes it difficult to comply with this regulation:
      103.13 Operation near aircraft; right-of-way rules.
      (a) Each person operating an ultralight vehicle shall maintain vigilance so as to see and avoid aircraft and shall yield the right-of-way to all aircraft.

      (b) No person may operate an ultralight vehicle in a manner that creates a collision hazard with respect to any aircraft.

      (c) Powered ultralights shall yield the right-of-way to unpowered ultralights.

      RAA

  4. Tom Stotts says:

    As a paraglider pilot, ultralight pilot and sport pilot student I strongly recommend that Paragliders not fly through the airport pattern without radio communication. General Aviation is looking for other aircraft in the “Pattern”. They call it a Pattern for a reason. The reason is that aircraft fly in a pattern is so that pilots can see other aircraft because they are looking for them in the “Pattern”. I would not want to be flying a Paraglider through wingtip vortices from GA aircraft…. Good way to end up pancaked on the tarmac.

  5. Greg Fergus says:

    I am a private pilot with two airplanes and also a hang glider, paraglider, and powered paraglider pilot. I flew close to the airport several weeks ago with my paramotor looking out for GA traffic. There is a big problem with the part 103 traffic being in/near the GA traffic pattern. There is no easy answers but to prevent an accident their needs to be a ban on part 103 traffic within 5 miles of the airport. I hate to say it but there is just too many fast airplanes landing at the airport and the chances of a mid air collision is just too great to take a chance. I own a 200 mph Glasair and the last thing I want to worry about in the traffic pattern is hitting a HG or a PG. This is a tough post for me because I love part 103 but for safety reasons the part 103 aircraft needs to stay away.

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