For the pilot who is new to Porterville, we have a special briefing each morning at the Lodge. This intensive discussion explains the forecast daily weather with the expected flying conditions and the variation in the winds as the day progresses. We also study the region’s topography and its influence on the wind and thermals.
Our safety approach includes our liaising daily with the ATC at the air force training school at Langebaanweg – about 100km to the west. This ensures our avoiding any airspace conflicts; and brings the air force traffic control into the picture – letting all non-military passing traffic know that we’re here, what we’re up to; and where to expect to encounter us.
We will often set a “task” for the day and brief pilots on how best to achieve it, giving tips and advice for the task; and arranging appropriate retrieve vehicles to follow the route.
However far you fly – and the further, the better – we will always ensure that you get home safely.
Part of our service to you is the organisation of transport to- and from launch at either of our sites. For groups, this usually means arranging a competent driver. Regular visitors often remain in contact with drivers previously used and pre-arrange the service. In these cases, we have no control of the quality of service received – a hired driver is legally required to hold a professional driver’s permit (PDP); and few local drivers are in possession of this permit. Drivers whom we provide officially, will always have a PDP.
If we’re approached in advance for retrieve service, we will organise it; and pilots who are new to Porterville are encouraged to ask for advice on this. In any event, this aspect of retrieve is always mentioned at our daily pilots’ briefings, which all new pilots are encouraged to attend.
In the event of a pilot’s genuinely being ‘stranded’ after a flight, a call to one of the emergency numbers on the card is all that’s required. As many visitors have discovered, we will collect anyone who cannot get back, whatever the circumstances of the stranding. For all retrieves, pre-planning is always advised; and we will help where we can.
Our retrieve rates and terms of service are displayed on the Weather Information board, but we will never refuse help to persons on financial grounds. Safety is paramount…