HKPA report number 17

Site: Shek O

(***Click here for site guide***)

Date of Event: Sunday 8th of November 2009

This Accident report was filed on Friday 15th of March 2013 and the last change to the report was made on Friday 15th of March 2013 by Trevor Gribble

Injury Index = 0
( 0 =No Injuries or Minor - brief visit to Doctor)
( 1 =Significant - hospitalized or work time loss less than 48 hours)
( 2 =Temporary Disabling Injuries)
( 3 =Permanent Partial Disabling Injuries)
( 4 =Permanent Total Disability)
( 5 =Fatal injuries)


A pilot holding a Club Pilot (PG2) Licence with 10+ years of experience whist flying at Shek O at approximately 12-1400hrs on Sunday 8th of November 2009.

The conditions at the time were reported to be Smooth with a E wind blowing approximately 10-15kph. The temperature was 20-24deg C with Some Cloud and Slight Haze Visibility.

There were reported to be 2-5 pilots at the site.

Factors in this Accident:
Overshoot LZ
Impact with Obstacle
Property Damage
Upsetting Neighbours

Event Description:

On Sunday the 8th of November 2009, at approximately 1500hrs, the pilot made and approach and landing at Shek O Main Beach after soaring the ridge east of D'Aguilar Peak.

Reports submitted by the pilot suggest that he elected to land on the Main Beach after becoming aware that he had insufficient height to make a glide to the designated landing site at Shek O Rocky Beach.
Standard height loss maneuvers or "s-turns" were used to control the glide profile on final approach.
On landing, the pilot struck a number of bags and a small portable table erected by a group of people on the beach. Estimated ground speed on landing was 15km/h.
The pilot alerted the beach authorities and elected to call an ambulance and the police to check for injuries and to ensure that the incident was properly reported.

Committee Response: (if any )

The pilot was ridge soaring in light conditions south of Shek O Main Beach on Cape D'Aguilar.

The already light wind conditions began to drop even further. With the subsequent drop in lifting air, the pilot left the decision to glide to the normal landing site at Rocky Beach a little late.

On realizing that he had made this decision late, he elected to land at his alternate landing site - Shek O Main Beach.

In order to avoid people on the beach, the decision was made to set up the approach on the far southern end of the beach, where there were no people.

Two main factors then contributed to the mis-judged approach:
  • Firstly, the height loss maneuvers were conducted very close to trees at the southern end of the beach. Combined with greater than expected sink, this required aggressive maneuvering to correct the flight path.
  • After this destabilizing maneuver, the final glide was affected by a lack of wind on the beach at sea level, and the resultant good glide performance over the ground moved the landing point to well beyond the intended landing point.

There is an extract from the HKPA Operations Manual which correctly states:
"Do not land on the main beach save in an emergency"

It must be mentioned in this report that the pilot made an excellent public relations effort in staying with the people involved for sometime after the incident. This appears to have been successful in avoiding further action against the pilot involved, and moreover, the HKPA.

Committee Action: (if any )

The pilot has been advised that although flying without an official qualification is acceptable in Europe, in Hong Kong we require that pilots be qualified to at least "Club Pilot" status. This equates to the internationally recognized ParaPro 3 standard. Pilot has agreed to formalize and finish his qualification and join the HKPA.

HKPA members (and all in receipt of the HKPA mailing list - which includes non-members) have been informally discouraged (via email) from using Shek O Main Beach as an alternate landing site, except in cases of emergency, or in extreme shifting wind conditions, which would make an approach to Rocky Beach potentially unsafe.

This report will serve as a formal notice of such advice.

The HKPA Safety Officer is to approach and seek assistance from Leisure and Cultural Services Department to implement a system of recording the HKID of paraglider pilots landing on Shek O Main Beach. This will serve the purpose of further discouraging the practice of landing there, as these reports will be forwarded to the HKPA Safety Officer, and serial offenders monitored.

The HKPA website is to be revised to remove the ambiguity regarding Shek O Main Beach as an alternate landing site.

The HKPA website will be modified to include a highly visible notice on the home page with a statement regarding licencing requirements to fly paragliders in Hong Kong.

Pilots are reminded of their responsibility to maintain constant awareness of changing conditions and make decisions early to avoid landing at undesirable locations.

Due to the fact that this incident did not generate any injuries, it is considered minor. However, the incident had the potential to cause serious injury to members of the public.

The recommendations and follow up actions have been considered carefully to prevent a recurrence of such an event. We sincerely hope that these measures will discourage pilots from landing at anywhere other than the approved landing site. Particularly at Shek O, where members of the public are a consideration more than at the other approved HKPA sites.

Thanks is given to the pilot involved, who, while not even an HKPA member took responsibility for the incident, and reported it promptly to the HKPA Safety Officer, greatly decreasing the workload in completing this report.