The Dunstable Hang-gliding
& Paragliding Club
Important - Removal of Power Lines (Luton CTR/CTA Boundary)
Dunstable Gliding Area 1 (Luton CTR/CTA) - Boundary
As of November 2021, the Power Lines and Pylons that were located south of the 'Elephant' on the Dunstable ridge have finally been removed. The cables are now safely underground making the landscape much more attractive. It is also infinitely safer for our pilots who venture along the southern end of the ridge in the CRSA toward the Whipsnade White Lion.
You will recall from your Airspace briefing that all flights in the CRSA must be below 1,500ft (457m) AMSL. The Dunstable Gliding Area 1 (DGA1) Airspace conversely enables flight of up to 3,500ft (1,066m) AMSL when signed in. The DGA1 southern boundary matched the location of those original Power Lines.
This Airspace boundary has not changed.
However, we no longer have the visual reference of the power lines to mark the Luton CTA boundary, and we must ensure we are below 1,500ft (457m) to continue flying south towards the White Lion.
The Dunstable site guide page on this website has now been amended, along with the Airspace Briefing document, with updated guidance on these changes and the new visual references. Crudely, a straight line between the Visitor Centre overflow car park and the southern end of the industrial units at the foot of the Downs is a fairly accurate reference of the boundary line leaving a good safety margin (see the dashed line in the image above).
Flights along the ridge further south than the Dunstable Downs Visitor Centre should now only be made with a calibrated Altimeter (mandatory for all flights at Dunstable) and a GPS capable flight instrument with the CRSA airspace loaded so to ensure the 1,500ft (457m) CRSA ceiling is respected.
Sites update - Monday 19th July 2021
Covid-19 restrictions lifted
– No limits on how many people can meet
– 1m-plus guidance removed
– Face coverings no longer required by law, although the government still "expects and recommends" them in crowded and enclosed spaces.
– DHPC Sites; Dunstable, Sharpenhoe and Chinnor are OPEN.
– Airspace Briefings will now be able to accommodate unlimited pilot numbers.
Please check that;
– Your BHPA membership is current - check your membership
– Your DHPC membership is current and you have had a site briefing for Dunstable airspace - not lapsed or suspended
– The site conditions are suitable and within your flying ability considering you won’t have flown for some time.
The pandemic is not over and not everyone has been vaccinated. Contact with friends is described as a matter of personal judgement, but pilots are asked to remain cautious around close contact. Remember, not all people will want to shake hands, please respect that decision. You should monitor and comply with current Government guidelines.
The DHPC Committee
About the Club
The Dunstable Hang Gliding Club, as it was originally known when it was first formed in the summer of 1974, was one of the first hang-gliding clubs in this country, with just 30 members registered with the newly formed NHGA. Hang-gliding continued to dominate foot-launched flying over the following years until a new airsport called paragliding, started becoming popular in the UK around the mid 1980's. Our first paragliding members joined the Club around 1987-88 and pilot numbers quickly grew. Not long after, the name of the Club was altered to incorporate this new form of flying, becoming the Dunstable Hang Gliding & Paragliding Club (DHPC), as it remains today.
Currently, the DHPC has around 200+ members, with the vast majority now flying paragliders. We can often be seen flying at the Downs and also at our other sites around the Chiltern Hills in Bedfordshire and Bucks. We have three hill flying sites; Dunstable Downs, Sharpenhoe Clappers and Chinnor.
However, Dunstable Downs itself lies inside Luton Airport's CTR (Control Zone - Class D airspace) and the CAA (NATS) has issued the club with a 'Letter of Agreement (LoA)' which gives the DHPC access for flying within this normally prohibited airspace.
This LoA is subject to certain rules and regulations, with the main rules being that; (a) all pilots flying our sites must be members of the Club, and (b) all pilots must complete an Airspace Briefing with a Senior Coach before flying at Dunstable Downs.
All our sites are Members only.
This is due to the agreements in place with the CAA that were negotiated to gain a right to fly these sites. Please do not jeopardise this for us!
Join the Club
To join the DHPC, you must be a current BHPA member with a Club Pilot (Hill) minimum rating. There are two options for joining; either Full Membership (£20) or Limited Membership (£5). Because of our Club's sensitive Airspace location (inside Luton CTR), and our Agreement with the CAA, all our sites are Members only.
Foreign pilots wishing to join the DHPC, who are not BHPA members must first contact the BHPA to convert your existing IPPI, APPI or FFVL pilot rating to a UK rating via the BHPA Alternative Entry System. This is to ensure that you have sufficient third-party liability insurance when flying at UK sites.
Full Membership (£20)
This allows Full Members to fly all our sites; Dunstable Downs, Sharpenhoe and Chinnor, as long as you have the required BHPA rating. All new pilots joining the Club via Full Membership are required to attend the mandatory Airspace Briefing before flying at Dunstable Downs.
Limited Membership (£5)
This allows Limited Membership pilots to ONLY fly at Sharpenhoe and Chinnor - but NOT at Dunstable Downs. Pilots joining with Limited Membership do NOT require the Airspace Briefing. Limited Membership pilots must be BHPA Pilot (Hill) rated minimum.
Full Members who wish to fly at Dunstable Downs, must attend the mandatory Airspace Briefing with the Senior Coach before flying at the Downs for the first time. Upon completion, pilots are issued with a lifetime Airspace Sticker that must be displayed on your flying helmet. Airspace Briefings are organised once a month on Saturday mornings, as notified here and on WebCollect.
Booking the Airspace Briefing
If you would like to attend the next Briefing click on the button 'Book Airspace Briefing' below and book a place via WebCollect. If you are attending, please download the Airspace Document PDF (by clicking the link) and save it to your Phone or Tablet. We will also supply a printed version for you to use at the briefing if you can't print one out.
If you're attending the Briefing meet outside the main entrance of the Chiltern Gateway Centre on Dunstable Downs LU6 2GY. <Click here> for a Google location map. There is ample parking at the Centre. Please make sure you bring your BHPA Membership Card with you to the briefing.
Note: Airspace Briefings are only held once a month. Do NOT turn up unannounced on site expecting a Briefing, you will not be allowed to fly.
Pilots who do not have a Airspace Sticker are NOT allowed to fly at Dunstable Downs
NO STICKER - NO FLYING - NO EXCEPTIONS!
Learning to fly / Air Experience flights
Have you seen us flying and keen to learn this exciting sport. Here you will learn how to start flying, or you may just want to do a tandem (dual) flight with a Instructor.
Learning to fly
The DHPC cannot teach you to fly. Our club is for pilots that have already qualified from a BHPA Registered School. You can only fly with our Club once you have passed the BHPA ‘Club Pilot‘ Rating at a BHPA Registered School. For more in-depth information about learning to fly a hang/paraglider, click on the button below.
Air Experience Days / Tandem flights
The DHPC does NOT provide air-experience days or tandem flights to the general public due to third-party insurance issues. However, you may book a dual flight with a BHPA Registered School, so click the button below to visit the FlySussex website to book a tandem flight voucher. You can book a flight at any other BHPA registered school via the BHPA website.
Dunstable Waypoint Competition
The idea of the competition is very simple: take off from Dunstable Downs, fly to as many of 15 waypoints (blue circles) as you can, returning to a take-off site before landing.
The competition is open to all full Dunstable members with a CP rating or above.
NEW DHPC T-Shirts
For the new 2023 season the DHPC has printed a new Premium T-shirt with the Club Logo on the chest (Limited Edition of 80). Same style and high-quality shirts as last time, only available in Navy Blue. In Stock NOW!
The cost is: £12 each inc postage.
Support your Club and wear it with pride!
IMPORTANT! If you change either your email, home address or any other contact details, can you make sure that you update your profile on WebCollect, so that important information and membership renewals go to the correct address. Also, if you are not receiving regular emails from the Club, check to see if they are going to your Spam Folder by mistake!