One from NI: When you are flying over Lough Neagh...

Discussion in 'Aviation' started by Schleswig-Holstein, Sep 15, 2008.

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  1. Hi folks,
    this is going to sound really odd, but here goes. If any of you have either been based at Aldergrove, or have flown over Lough Neagh at night, you might be able to help...

    I'm a biologist based at Queen's Uni, and we have a project examining the ducks that migrate to and overwinter on Lough Neagh. As the ducks are in apparent decline, we need to do reliable counts, but the way we used to do it (boat or shore-based counts) are just too bloody slow, and hence this (possibly stupid) question.

    I'm not sure if the AAC ever fly at night over the Lough, but if you do, can you pick up the ducks on the surface (either with night vision gear, or visually on a moonlit night)?

    Ok, let the slagging begin! :D

  2. Have you considered using a 'powered' parachute thinggie. It has a tricycle seat affair suspended (after take off) beneath a customised parachute and has a propeller driven unit pushing it along.

    It's relatively low tech, quiet and ideally suited for doing animal/bird censuses from the air. Fairly cheap to run as well. Just a thought.
  3. Getting the PPL costs, though...
  4. Dont bother, they are illegal in UK and I would not recommend spending any amount of time under a paraglider over water. Besides which they are not quiet and the airspaces around Lough Neagh would rule out quite a chunk.

  5. Hi all,
    Powered paragliders aren't illegal in the UK and the most modern ones with Otto cycle engines are extremely quiet. If you intend to fly one with wheels you need to be a licensed pilot (NPPL Microlights). The foot launched ones are still deregulated and in theory you could teach yourself but this would be foolish unless you have previous flying experience. Like all flying you need to adhere to the Air Navigation Order and remain clear of controlled airspace, apart from that you can do what you want. Flying over water is not a good idea unless you have sufficient height to glide to shore in the event of an engine failure. I see no reason why this chap couldn't utilise this type of aircraft for bird watching he could climb up to what ever height required turn off the engine and soar whilst watching his birdies. The caveat being they are fair weather aircraft susceptible to wing collapsing in thermic or turbulent conditions they are slow and you can't get an amphibious rating, so if you land in the oggin your as good as dead.
  6. Cheers all for your replies.
    To be honest, letting a postgrad go out on a boat on Lough Neagh is scary enough, the idea of unleashing them in/on a paraglider is even less settling. 8O

    We can possibly source monies for flights, but these would have to be at night, hence I wondered if anyone in the AAC had picked up ducks when flying over the Lough at night (I appreciate they are likely to have more pressing things on their mind, but you never know).

    If anyone flying out from Aldergrove posts on here, or you have a mate that is based there, could you ask them to PM me?

  7. Feeling bored and pedantic, so I'll point out it's proper name is Paramotoring.

    Which reminds me, wasn't there a walty fella who claimed he had a powered parachute license round here once upon a time? :D
  8. Parmotors are legal, that is foot launched ones. Unlike Paramotors, certain criteria must be met to legally fly a Paratrike in the UK. At the end of April 2007 (after a number of years of hard campaigning by the BMAA to simplify the airworthiness requirements for lightweight single-seat microlights such as Paratrikes), the UK CAA issued an exemption for single-seat microlights weighing less than 115 kgs to operate without needing to hold a Permit to Fly airworthiness certificate.. There has been no guidance given from the BHPA or CAA reference these, though it is expected soon.
    Paramotors are not de-regulated. You can either do a British Microlight Association Paramotor course or go through the Approved BHPA course. Trust me, I'm trying to get myself and one of the 3 x Army Paramotor units up and running and through an approved course at the moment.
    I would not under any circumstances try to teach yourself, a paraglider/paramotor is more weather and condition dependent than any other type of flying, you feck it up and you will have a bag of washing above your head before you know it.
    Getting up there turning off the motor and soaring, not over Lough Neagh, bodies of waters are never a good source for thermals and there are no features of any sort around to provide ridge lift.
    Better off getting a small boat/canoe and doing it from the safety of the oggin.