CANAAN VALLEY PARAGLIDING RISK MANAGEMENT PLAN
Canaan Valley State Park is a park owned by the State of West Virginia. It has been a paragliding site since 1994. Although the site has been flown accident and incident free for the past eighteen years, the site attracts relatively small number of paragliding pilots mainly because of the necessity for the pilot to hike the 1000 vertical feet to the launch.
Usage of the existing site may further strained due to the pending construction of a snow tube park and a wobble ball shooting range adjacent to the existing landing zone.
As a replacement for the existing facility, the Mountaineer Hang Gliding and Paragliding Association requested the State of West Virginia to consider the construction of an alternative launching area in the Canaan Valley State Park.
The proposed launch would be located on an existing slope facing southwest approximately 300 feet to the South of the top of the exit for Ski Lift A. A landing zone for the proposed launch will be located at the Miller farm along east Laneville Road (the Millers have provided permission to make use of their field as a landing zone). Another proposed landing zone is the State Park visitor’s center.
In eighteen years of flying Canaan Valley, there has never been a paragliding injury or incident involving neither the pilot nor the public. However, the adoption of a site-specific risk management rules and measures can help continue that safety record.
I. SPECTATOR RISK MITIGATION
Proposal 1: We will erect a sign providing information about the flying activities. The sign will warn the spectators to maintain a safe distance from gliders when they are launching or when they are sitting on the ground.
Proposal 2: We encourage adaptation of the USHPA Risk Management Plan, that all photographers must sign a waiver and all spectators must remain 30 degrees away from a centerline beginning at a pilot’s launch point and extending into the launch path.
II. PILOT SAFETY
USHPA maintains a five tiered pilot training and proficiency program that extends from P1 through P5. A description of the program consists of the following:
P1 is a beginning pilot,
P2 is a novice pilot,
P3 is an intermediate pilot,
P4 is an advanced pilot, and
P5 is a master pilot.
In this multi-tiered system, each pilot must attend formal training and pass a proficiency examination to attain these different levels.
All pilots flying at Canaan Valley must attend a takeoff and landing briefing before flying the site. An acknowledged USHPA safety observer that has a signed waiver at the Canaan Valley State Park headquarters must be the person to conduct the site briefing.
All pilots are restricted to take off when winds are more than 45 degrees cross at the available launch points, or when the wind is less than 15 mph when measured at the launch point.
All pilots must maintain a minimum 150ft clearance above or around any roadways or power lines along the flight path.
All pilots must wear a helmet when flying the site.
All pilots must carry DHV certified reserve parachute.
All pilots must fly with a VHF-FM radio.
All pilots must carry a “tree kit” containing a minimum of 50 feet of rescue cord in case of an unplanned landing in a tree where an extraction may be necessitated.
Any pilot wishing to fly the site must register at the State Park headquarters at Canaan Valley.
Any pilot wishing to fly the site must have a waiver in file at the State Park headquarters. The waiver will include a notice that a site briefing has taken place. The waiver will also include emergency contact information.
Any pilot that attempts to fly without providing the signed waiver or without filing the required paperwork with the State Park will be trespassing on the Park property and will lose flying privileges for the site.
RISK MANAGEMENT PLAN REVIEW
The above Risk Management Plan shall be either reviewed on an annual basis or as requested by the Park Superintendent.