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Wave flying / Landing out / Oxygen

1)   All pilots flying in wave must call Feshie Base on 118.685 at regular intervals with a position and altitude report. If you wish to fly cross-country in wave, please advise Feshie Base that you will possibly go outside radio range.


2)   At some stage during your flight, you may be forced to land out. The Spey Valley from Laggan Bridge to the Moray coast offers good outlanding fields. If you are unfamiliar with the area and wish to fly cross country, please consult an instructor or experienced local pilot for information on areas where there are landable fields. Call Feshie Base and advise you are landing out. If we have not heard from you for some time and are unable to contact you on the radio, we will initiate Search and Rescue procedures.

3)   If you are forced to land out in the mountains well away from habitation, you must stay with your glider. This will make it easier for the tug or SAR helicopter to locate you. The weather can change very quickly in the mountains. If you attempt to walk out and get lost, it will be extremely difficult to find you and you may be left out overnight.

4)   Because of the above, it is advisable to carry a small survival pack and emergency beacon (PLB). If the weather turns bad and rescue services are unable to continue, you may be forced to spend one or more nights in the mountains.

5)   If you are unable to contact anyone on 118.685 (having landed out as above) and your situation is worsening, make a Mayday call on 121.500. The call can be relayed by high flying airliners.

6)   In early October sunset is at approximately 18:45 and reducing by 3 minutes daily. By the end of the month sunset has advanced to 17:45 and changes to 16:45 when the clocks go back. You must be on the ground half an hour after sunset, or earlier if conditions dictate. If you are at 20,000ft it will take 20 minutes to descend if an average of 10kts (1000 ft/min) is maintained. You should make yourself aware of local sunset time before flight.

7)   Great care must be taken when ridge / hill soaring. The mountains are often snow-covered. A white glider against a snow covered background can be very difficult to see, and the lack of ground texture makes it difficult to assess how far away from the terrain you are.  If you are not familiar with ridge / hill soaring, talk to an instructor before you fly. Always have an escape route and plan to cater for unexpected sink.

8)   Part-SAO law and guidance effectively requires a serviceable oxygen supply system to be used for flights above FL100 (10,000’ pressure altitude). As Feshie is at 860ft amsl this altitude can be reached with at less than 9000’ QFE. No badge claims will be accepted for flights above FL100 without oxygen being used. 

9)   If you have been caught out above cloud during a wave climb, call Feshie Base and advise of your intended actions. If you use your GPS to assist your let down, then consider our recommended procedure for using GPS to assist in a safe descent. Please make sure that you have read this before take-off. If you suspect that the cloud cover may become total below you, try to get down quickly before it does. Bear in mind that GPS is not infallible and there are high mountains in close proximity to the airfield, so any time you make a cloud descent below 4500’ QFE you are risking your life!

10)   If possible, try to descend from wave upwind of the airfield especially if the cloud base is low. Getting below cloud downwind of the airfield in strong winds can result in an inability to reach the airfield into wind.

11)   Mountain weather can change very quickly with rain and snow showers severely reducing visibility, making the airfield difficult to find. Keep a close eye on the weather and land if you see an approaching storm. Even moderate snow can give zero visibility right down to the ground.

12)   When flying in wave conditions you can expect conditions that you would not normally meet on a flat site, i.e. wind shear, wind gradient, rotor turbulence, changes in wind direction etc. Always look at the wind sock when you return to the airfield, or call Feshie Base for a report of conditions on the ground. Maintain plenty of speed and fly a steep approach from a high final turn.

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