Managing Flying Risk

As you are hopefully aware, the BGA collates the various bits of good practice guidance including relevant recommended practices that have been hard-learned over many years into a single publication titled ‘Managing Flying Risk’.

This year, several topics have evolved resulting in further good practice guidance that also need to be ‘captured’ in the same place. These revisions have been consulted on with club CFIs and other subject matter experts.

A copy of the updated Managing Flying Risk (v12) is available at Please read it. The amended items are in blue.

The main changes are;

  • Page 5 – Pilot responsibility
  • Page 6 – Pilot equipment
  • Page 12 – Safe aerotowing
  • Page 16 – Supervision
  • Page 17 – Visiting pilots
  • Page 22 – Landing & take-off areas
  • Page 24 – Hill, ridge and mountain soaring
  • Appendices;
  • Page 29 – Site hazards
  • Page 30 – Soaring protocol

The background to the updates is as follows;

Accidents from late take-over. The most common instructing accident cause is late take-over. In this publication the core ‘safe pilot’ description now includes an appropriate line for instructors.

Aerotow hazards. We’ve recently learnt more about aerotow hazards. So we’ve updated that guidance.

Supervision. Unqualified pilots, ie those who have yet to qualify to BGA Cross-Country Endorsement standard (so equivalent to a licence standard) including young pilots, should be actively supervised. The publication includes very carefully developed supervision guidance that all instructors need to be aware of.

Visiting pilots. Experience demonstrates that gliding culture is changing, including habits re expeditions, where increasingly we’re seeing individuals or small groups of relatively inexperienced pilots heading off to somewhere exciting and often without their own supervision in tow. Great that pilots are keen and of course we need to encourage them, but we also need to adjust our supervision guidance accordingly to both help to set their expectations and support CFIs. So we’ve updated our supervision guidance including re visiting pilots with an emphasis on supporting CFI’s and their instructors, particularly at expedition sites.

Hill, Ridge and Mountain Flying. We recognise that pilots are increasingly seeking the fun that hills, ridges and mountains provide for glider pilots. So to pull existing core safety info around that activity into one place, we’ve added some guidance. Public safety is the number one BGA safety priority. You’ll be aware that a CAA exemption from SERA low flying rules is in place to permit hill soaring. It’s very important that exemption is understood by pilots, and so we’ve included some new guidance.

Investigations in the past have identified shortcomings in pilot equipment following a remote accident. And the Sailplane Air Operations rules now clarify the situation re ELT/PLB. So we’ve updated an item re pilot equipment.

And we’ve included two appendices re detail highlighted within the document to again ensure that all the guidance is in one publication.

As well as having a read yourself, please do encourage other pilots within your club to at least read the updated guidance which is clearly highlighted in the publication.

Kind regards

Colin Sword, chairman of the BGA Instructors Committee

Tim Freegarde, chairman of the BGA Safety Committee