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While the subject of air law may seem a bit daunting at first glance, it
needn’t be. Nearly all air law is about being sensible. Any right minded
person would agree that flying an aircraft while incapacitated through
drugs or alcohol is not a good idea: perhaps it is not a great surprise to
find that it is also illegal. Any good pilot would agree that an aircraft
should be inspected before flight: it is also a legal requirement. Ninety-
nine percent of air law falls into this ‘be sensible’ category.

All of the following information applies to gliders (including hang gliders and paragliders). Not all of this information will apply to foot-launched powered aircraft (FLPA): pilots of these craft should consult the special terms of the CPA Exemption that details their legal operation. (The current version of this Exemption is available from the BHPA office.)

The sources
The Air Navigation Order (ANO) forms the basis of the UK’s air law and airspace legislation. This document contains more than 120 Articles of law covering airworthiness, operation of aircraft, documentation, licensing and so on. It also includes a number of Schedules (appendices) which provide supplementary detail. Supporting the ANO are the Rules of the Air Regulations (looked at next) and the Civil Aviation (Investigation of Accidents) Regulations. There is one further important document: the UK Aeronautical Information Publication (AlP). This details airspace regulations, hazards and so on (these are explored in Chapter 24).

The AIr Navigation Order
Many of the Articles contained in the ANO do not apply to gliders. Summarised below are those that clearly do, and are most relevant to normal paragliding, hang-gliding and parascending operations. (Where appropriate, additional information is included.)

Pre-flight actions
The pilot must satisfy himself that the aircraft is fit for flight and checked, that any passengers have been briefed and that the flight can be safely made. (This includes checking weather conditions and forecasts, and accessing up-to-date airspace information.)

For a pilot legally to operate a radio from a hang glider or paraglider, he must comply with the law in three areas:
• The radio transmitter must be of a type approved by the CAA.
• The glider operator or owner must have a station licence for that radio. These can be obtained by writing to: WT Radio licensing, Directorate of Airspace Policy, K6 Gate 6, CAA House, 45 -
Kingsway, London WC2B 6TE, by telephoning: 0207453 6555, by e-mailing: radio.licensing@dap.caa.co.uk, or from their web site at www.caa.co.uk (search for ‘hang glider’).
• The pilot must either possess a Flight Radio telephony Operator’s (BiT) licence or must only use the following frequencies: — 118.675 MHz. This is a dedicated paragliding and hang- gliding frequency which can be used anywhere in the UK FIR, up to and including 5000 ft AMSL. — 129.9 MHz, 129.95 MHz, 130.1 MHz, 130.125 MHz and 130.4 MHz. These are sport aviation frequencies, and their users include parachutists, balloon pilots and sailplane pilots.— The International Distress Frequency, 121.5 MHz. This frequency can be used to alert the emergency services. Among the station licence conditions is the requirement that operato’
must exercise strict radio discipline and that the procedures must I based on those set out in the CAA publication CAP 413.
Dropping persons or articles
Articles shall not be dropped or be permitted to drop from an aircraft in flight, except for the purpose of saving life, ballast in the form of fine sit’ I or water, or (at an aerodrome) tow ropes.
Imperilling safety
Persons must not endanger the safety of an aircraft or cause an aircraft to endanger any persons or property
Persons must not fly while under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
Exhibitions of flying
Display flying is tightly regulated: pilots must have a  Display Authorisation, and each display and item must be vetted.
Inadvertent entering of a Restricted or Prohibited Area
If a pilot inadvertently enters such an area then he must, unless otherwise instructed, leave the area as quickly as possible and not descend over the area.
It is illegal to winch or tow to an altitude greater than 60 metres above ground level (AGL) — or at all within an aerodrome traffic zone (ATZ) — unless permitted by a current specific CAA Tow Site Permission.
Public transport and aerial work
The law attempts to draw a clear distinction between private (recreational) flying and commercial (moneymaking) flying. In order to fly commercially (public transport or aerial work), very closely defined levels of pilot qualification, operator organisation and aircraft airworthiness must be met. These are not available for hang-glider and paraglider operators!
To help deal with ‘grey areas’ which emerged as people tried to find ways around the law, the CAA introduced the term ‘valuable consideration’. The CAAs short definition of valuable consideration is ‘a consideration which is of more than a nominal nature’. If valuable consideration is accepted as part of a flight, then that flight is commercial, and therefore subject to all the rules and regulations applicable to commercial flying. However, in order to allow some normal aspects of recreational flying to continue, the CAA have defined a few special cases where valuable consideration may be exchanged in connection with a flight, without the need for special licences and paperwork:
• Receiving reimbursement of costs directly related to a competition flight is allowed, as is receiving a prize of less than £500 per contest.
• If a pilot is taking part in a display, then receiving reimbursement of the costs directly related to the flight is permitted but remember that there are a whole host of other regulations relating to display flying.
• The direct costs of a flight may be paid for by or on behalf of the pilot’s employer, provided neither the pilot nor any passenger are legally, contractually or otherwise obliged to fly.
• When dual-flying, only qualified instructors may be paid, and only then to instruct fellow-members of their club when flying aircraft owned or operated by the club.
In addition to the above conditions, payment to anyone other than the aircraft’s pilot or owner is only acceptable if the only beneficiary of the’ valuable consideration is a registered charity and the flight is completed in accordance with a specific CAA written permission.
The holder of a PPL (Aeroplanes) may tow a glider using an aircraft owned or operated by a club of which the tug pilot and all those carried in the glider are members. The tug pilot may not receive payment for these services (but the club may charge the glider pilot for the launch).
You will be flying illegally if you accept any ‘valuable consideration’ for any flight other than under these conditions shown above.
Other Articles
Other Articles that may be relevant in certain circumstances cover tb. law relating to ‘Aircraft Towing Gliders’ (covered in the BHPA Technicil Manual), ‘Dropping People’ (CAA permissions required except in an emergency) and the ‘Method of Carriage of Persons’ (only in purpose designed seating etc).


Rules of the Air Regulations
The Rules of the Air Regulations concentrate on the practicalities of safely operating an aircraft. These are summarised below with specific regard to gliders (encompassing sailplanes, hang gliders and paragliders).
Low flying
Gliders must not fly over congested areas below a height that would allow them to land clear of the area and without danger to people or property, or less than 1500 ft above the highest fixed object within 600 metres, whichever is the higher.
A congested area means any area that is substantially used for residential, industrial, commercial or recreational purposes.
An aircraft may not fly over or within 1000 metres of an open-air gathering more than a thousand people, nor below a height that would enable it to land clear.
An aircraft must not fly closer than 500 ft to any person, vessel, vehicle or structure. This provision does not apply to an aircraft taking off or landing, flying low for the purpose of dropping tow ropes, or to gliders that are in ridge soaring.
Right-hand traffic
Au aircraft flying within sight of the ground and following a road, railway,   coast or other line feature must keep that feature on its left (except where otherwise instructed by ATC).
(II hang gliders and paragliders rarely follow line features, but pilots should remain aware when crossing line features that other aerial traffic may be doing so.)
Choice of VFR or IFR
I here are two sets of rules under which an aircraft may fly: the Visual Flight Rules (VFR) or the Instrument Flight Rules (IFR). Which set of rules you must fly under depends on the Meteorological ( conditions and the class of airspace you are flying in. If you are in one of few classes of controlled airspace that gliders may enter, then you must Fly in Visual Meteorological Conditions.

Visual Meteorological Conditions means that you are no closer than the set distance clear of cloud (horizontally and vertically) and can see for at least the minimum set distance forward (flight visibility).
Outside controlled airspace, by day, you may fly in Visual Meteorological Conditions (VMC) or in Instrument Meteorological Conditions (IMC) as you choose. If you do not maintain the minimum distances for VMC (because the weather is deteriorating or you are flying rather closer to a cloud) then you are automatically in Instrument Meteorological Conditions.
If your flight (outside controlled airspace, by day) is in VMC, then you may choose to conduct your flight in accordance with either the Instrument Flight Rules or the Visual Flight Rules. If on the other hand you fly in IMC, then there is no choice: you must operate in accordance with the Instrument Flight Rules.
Rules 29 and 30 are the Instrument Flight Rules that apply to aircraft flying under IFR outside controlled airspace. Rule 29 is a minimum- height rule, and forbids flying at less than 1000 ft above the highest obstacle within 5 nautical miles except as necessary for taking off or landing, and except when flying at or below 3000 ft AMSL, clear of cloud and in sight of the surface. Rule 30 is only applicable to aircraft above 3000 ft AMSL cruising in level flight. (Rule 30 prescribes set altitudes for given headings; gliders are constantly ascending and descending, so this does not apply.) (The foregoing is the legal position. While it is clear that in many situations hang gliders and paragliders could legally fly in cloud, the fact remains that this would be extremely foolhardy. Maintaining control without visual reference to the horizon is virtually impossible, as is avoiding other traffic and keeping track of your position. Exploit the freedom to fly right up to just below cloudbase if you wish — but leave it at that.)
Night flying
An aircraft flying at night shall be flown in accordance with Instrument Flight Rules. ‘Night’ means the time from half an hour after sunset to half an hour before sunrise (both times inclusive), sunrise and sunset being determined at surface level. At night, lights must be carried in accordance with the Air Navigation Order.


Rules for avoiding aerial collisions
The prime rule is the first one!
• It is the pilot’s responsibility to take all possible measures to avoid a collision with any other aircraft.
• An aircraft shall not be flown so close to another aircraft as to create a danger of collision.
• No formation flying is permitted unless all the pilots have agreed.
• When required by these Rules to give way, an aircraft shall avoid passing over, under or ahead of another unless well clear.
• An aircraft that has right of way under these Rules shall maintain its course and speed.
Other than in the cases of approaching head-on and overtaking:
• A powered aircraft shall give way to airships, gliders and balloons.
An airship shall give way to gliders and balloons.
A glider shall give way to balloons.
• When two aircraft of the same classification converge at approximately the same altitude, the one with the other on its right shall give way.
 Converging courses (gliders and distances not to scale)


When approaching head-on
When approaching approximately head-on with a risk of collision, both aircraft shall alter course to the right.

Approaching head-on (gliders and distances not to scale)
(This rule is modified slightly by UK ridge-soaring conventions: when ridge soaring, if two gliders are flying towards each other at similar height, the pilot with the ridge on the left should move out so that the other has room to maintain course without having to turn into or over the ridge.)

 Approaching head-on when ridge-soaring (gliders and distances not to scale)

When overtaking another aircraft, you must give way to it and alter course to the right to overtake. In the UK a glider may overtake another glider to either the left or the right.

 Overtaking (gliders and distances not to scale)
(This rule is modified slightly by UK ridge-soaring conventions: when ridge-soaring, overtaking should be done on the hill side, so that the overtaken glider remains free to make a normal turn, away from the hill. Beware — in other countries different rules or protocols apply.)

Flight near aerodromes
Part of the official definition of an aerodrome is: ‘Any area of land or water designed, equipped, set apart or commonly used for affording facilities for the landing and departure of aircraft... ‘Therefore it can be claimed that all our sites are aerodromes, just as Heathrow is!
When flying in the vicinity of any aircraft’s take-off or landing sites you must keep clear or conform to any established pattern, making all turns to the left unless ground signals indicate otherwise.
(Although this is how the Rule is written, it is rare for ground signals to be used at our sites, and because of the constraints of location and weather any turn pattern may not be to the left. However, there may be an established pattern which you need to be clear about before you launch. If in doubt, ask.)
• An aircraft landing or on final approach has right of way over all other aircraft in the air or on the ground.
• The lowest aircraft of any on an approach to land has right of way, provided it does not cut in front of or overtake any aircraft on final approach.
• When landing, you should leave clear on the left any glider that is landing, has landed or is about to take off. (This Rule may have to be modified to suit the site.)
• After landing, you must clear the landing area as soon as possible.

Every cubic inch of sky above the UK is within a block of airspace that has a formal designation, and for which there are rules governing who or what can fly in it and under what circumstances. Thankfully, a sizeable chunk of this airspace is Class G, where we can fly more or less unimpeded, but an awful lot of UK airspace is no-go territory for hang gliders and paragliders. You need to know which is which

Types of airspace

ICAO airspace classification
The UK uses the system of international airspace classification developed by the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) whereby the status of a piece of airspace is denoted by a letter that is shown on all aeronautical charts. It is this letter that determines the rules applying to it. Airspace Classes A, B, C, D and E are all forms of controlled airspace, while airspace Classes F and G are uncontrolled.
Controlled airspace comes in various shapes and sizes: aeronautical charts depict the horizontal boundaries accurately and state the vertical dimensions.
Class A Controlled Airspace
This airspace is effectively closed to gliders. (Exceptionally, gliders may cross sections of Class A airspace by virtue of a Letter of Agreement which will have very detailed procedures which must be followed.)
Class B Controlled Airspace
The entire airspace over the UK above FL 245 is Class B airspace, and gliders are not allowed to enter it. (A few specified areas can be temporarily activated for glider flights using a special procedure.)
Class C Controlled Airspace
No UK airspace currently falls into this category.

Class D Controlled Airspace
For gliders to enter and transit Class D Controlled Airspace, an ATC clearance is required. This involves using radio to:
• Contact the ATC unit and pass details of the aircraft’s position, level and proposed track.
• Obtain entry clearance.
• Listen out on the relevant frequency while in that airspace.
• Comply with ATC instructions.
Class E Controlled Airspace
Gliders may fly in Class E airspace without ATC clearance, subject to maintaining VMC. In this situation VMC is defined as:
• Below 3000 ft AMSL: minimum flight visibility of 5 km, clear of cloud, in sight of the surface.
• Above 3000 ft AMSL: minimum flight visibility of 5 km, 1500 m horizontally clear of cloud and 1000 ft vertically clear of cloud.
You must still comply with the rules governing other airspace with specific restrictions (e.g. ATZs) that may exist within the Class E airspace.
Local agreements
Letters of agreement between local clubs and the nearby airport can make airspace more or less restrictive than previously described. The local club will have details of any such agreements.
Class F Airspace (Advisory Airspace)
An advisory route (ADR) is a route used by airline-type traffic, but without the full protection of an airway. Although depicted only as a centreline on UK aeronautical charts, it is nominally 10 nautical miles wide. Gliders may cross Class F airspace without restriction, but caution should be exercised. In this class of airspace, VMC for aircraft flying at hang_glider and paraglider speeds is defined as:
• below 3000 ft AMSL: in sight of the surface, clear of cloud, minimum flight visibility of 1500 m

• 3000 ft AMSL to FL1 00: 1500 m horizontally clear of cloud,
1000 ft vertically clear of cloud, minimum flight visibility of 5 km
• above FL 100: 1500 m horizontally clear of cloud, 1000 ft vertically clear of cloud, minimum flight visibility of 8 km
But bear in mind the fact that you may choose to fly in IMC (see Chapter 23).
Class G Airspace
This term is given to the ‘open’ FIR (Flight Information Region), the uncontrolled airspace not subject to any of the above classifications.
The VMC criteria in this class of airspace are identical to those for Class F above, as is the freedom to choose to fly in IMC.
Other types of airspace
Even within ‘uncontrolled’ Class G airspace there are various non-ICAO types of airspace that have entry restrictions or requirements, some of which are described below.
Aerodrome Traffic Zone (ATZ)
Aerodromes with an ATZ have it shown on the charts, except where they are already inside controlled airspace (in which case they still have one but it is not shown). An ATZ consists of the airspace from the surface to a height of 2000 ft above the level of the aerodrome, bounded by a circle of either 2 nautical miles or 2.5 nautical miles radius, depending on the length of the main runway. (The horizontal dimensions are drawn accurately on the aeronautical chart.) The aerodrome’s altitude is printed alongside the symbol. Gliders, including hang gliders and paragliders, are not allowed in active ATZs without having been given permission by the ATC unit.
At airfields without an ATZ, pilots should conform to the traffic pattern or keep clear of the circuit airspace, and should observe the normal rules of good airmanship.

Figure 24.1 Aerodrome Traffic Zone
 2 or 2.5 nm

Military Aerodrome Traffic Zone (MATZ)
These typically consist of the airspace from the surface to a height of 3000 ft above the aerodrome’s altitude (which is printed alongside the symbol, as with ATZs), bounded by a circle of radius 5 nautical miles from the aerodrome’s reference point — plus a projecting stub aligned with the principal runway 5 nautical miles long and 4 nautical miles wide — between 1000 ft and 3000 ft above the aerodrome’s altitude. They look like a pan with a very oversized handle; indeed, the stub is sometimes called the pan-handle. Some MATZs have no stub, or have two or more stubs, or form part of a combined MATZ (CAAATZ). Again, the aeronautical charts clearly show their horizontal dimensions.
The rules applicable to entering an MATZ are not compulsory for civil aircraft, but there are two very important things to consider: every MATZ contains an ATZ (which you cannot enter without permission), and an MATZ is usually a very busy bit of sky especially during the week. 3000 ft high

PPG sales

 Military Aerodrome Traffic Zone (ATZ not shown)

Danger Areas
A Danger Area is exactly that: an area where there is an activity that is dangerous to aircraft. Not all of them have by-laws prohibiting entry — but they are all best left well alone unless you are certain that they are inactive. They usually extend from the surface upwards. On the charts they are identified with a ‘D’ number, e.g. D306/5. The first part is the serial number of the Danger Area, and the final figure (or figures) is the altitude in thousands of feet that it goes up to. The charts also differentiate between those Danger Areas that have published hours of activity (which may be varied by NOTAM) and those that are only activated by NOTAM.
Prohibited and Restricted Areas
As with Danger Areas, the number on the chart after the ‘P’ or ‘R’ number indicates the altitude to which the area extends, usually from the surface. The names Prohibited and Restricted are self-explanatory, referring to areas that are established to protect places or activities that are potentially very hazardous or have security implications. Prohibited areas are exactly that: details of the rules governing specific Restricted Areas can be found in En-Route 5. 1, a section of the AlP (which is a very expensive publication). In the absence of accurate information to the contrary, all Restricted Areas should be avoided. Some Temporary Restricted Areas are set up from time to time, and these are notified on Freefone 0500 354802 and on the Web at www.ais.org.uk daily.
Areas of Intense Aerial Activity (AIAAs)
These areas contain a large amount of civil and/or military aircraft activity
Paragliders and hang gliders are allowed to enter these areas, but should keep an even better lookout than normal (if that’s possible!).
High Intensity Radio Transmission Areas (HIRTAs)
Again this is self_explanatory: the transmissions may cook either you or your instruments — or both — from the inside out!
Other warnings
These include a variety of things, including areas where free-fall parachuting takes place. Collecting a parachutist wouldn’t do you or him any good!
Other symbols
On the ICAO chart you will see a lot of other symbols. Obviously navigation aids such as TACANs, NDBs, VORs and DMEs do not matter to us, but we should avoid non-ATZ airfields, microlight, gliding and parascending sites unless visiting by prior arrangement.

A simple summary could be ‘if in doubt, keep out’, but if in doubt you should not be considering cross-country flying at all. If you have not passed your BHPA Pilot exam (and therefore have not had your understanding of air law and airspace proven) you should not fly cross- country. Even for non-cross-country flying at your local site, you should know the local airspace requirements.
Air—misses (Airprox)
Any pilot who considers his or her flight safety to have been compromised by the proximity of another aircraft may file an Airprox. The United Kingdom Airprox Board investigates all such reports in order to ascertain what lessons can be learned for the future. (They have no remit to take punitive action or to apportion blame.)
If a BHPA member wishes to file an Airprox, the procedure should ideally be as follows:
1 Inform the BHPA Airspace Officer (should this not be possible, do not delay the initial telephone report; this would reduce the likelihood of being able to trace the other aircraft involved).
2 Initial Report — call the Aeronautical Information Section (M) on
01895 426153 or 01895 4267 17/4267 18, who will start tracing procedures and inform the UK Airprox Board.
3 Confirmation Report — follow up within seven days with a completed report form CA 1094. (Forms are available from the BHPA Office on request.)
4 Complete a BHPA Incident Report form.
If you are in any doubt or have any questions, please contact the BHPA Airspace Officer or any of the BHPA technical staff. Note that Airprox reports cover conflicts with both military and civilian aircraft.
The information in this chapter is only a brief synopsis of the airspace rules as they affect glider pilots, and is believed to be accurate at the time of writing. In case of doubt, the authoritative primary sources should be consulted. These are:

• the Air Navigation Order
• the Rules of the Air Relations
• the UK Aeronautical Information Publication, Pilots requiring clarification on airspace rules should contact the BHPA Airspace Officer, whose telephone number is always given in Skywings magazine.
AIM   Area of Intense Aerial Activity
AlP    Aeronautical Information Publication
ATC  Air Traffic Control
ATZ   Aerodrome Traffic Zone
CAA   Civil Aviation Authority
CTA  Control Area
CTR  Control Zone
FIR   Flight Information Region
FL    Flight Level
HIRTA   High Intensity Radio Transmission Area
ICAO     International Civil Aviation Organisation
IFR        Instrument Flight Rules
IMC      Instrument Meteorological Conditions
MATZ   Military Aerodrome Traffic Zone
NOTAM   Notice to Airmen
    Terminal Control Area
UIR     Upper Flight Information Region
VFR    Visual Flight Rules
VMC   Visual Meteorological Conditions

The aeronautical chart
From the foregoing explanation of UK airspace, it should now be abundantly clear that you must have an up-to-date aeronautical chart if you intend making any sort of cross-country flight.
Types of chart
Charts are available in two scales: 1:250,000 and 1:500,000, and come
plastic-laminated. The laminated finish allows you to draw on the map with a chinagraph pencil or washable felt-tip pen and then wipe it clean afterwards.
ICAO aeronautical charts
Scale 1:500,000 (United Kingdom)
These charts (known as ‘half mil.’ charts) show all airspace. Half mil. charts are the best ones to use for long-distance cross-country flights, simply because you can fly a lot further without going off the edge of the map! If you travel around the country a lot you will only need three charts: Scotland, Orkney and Shetland; Northern England and Northern Ireland; and Southern England and Wales.
Topographical air charts
Scale: 1:250,000 (United Kingdom)
These charts (known as ‘quarter mil.’) only show airspace that has a lower limit below 5000 ft AMSL or Flight Level 55, and so are of limited use if your flight goes above that altitude — unless you are prepared to buy the half mil. and add the extra detail yourself. These charts (with the added information!) are better for local flying and for triangle, out-and IMC return or short cross-country flights, and also for giving retrieve information, but if you travel around the country you will need more charts to cover the required area (seven for the UK).
Keeping charts up to date
Airspace is regularly changed as civil airports grow, military aerodromes are abandoned, airways are raised or lowered and other changes occur. The CAA replaces charts as required, and this can be as often as within twelve months of the previous issue. You should therefore check at least annually to make sure you are using the most up-to-date issue. But even with an up-to-date chart, the information is only valid on the day of issue! In order to keep your chart fully up to date between new editions, it is necessary to consult the Aeronautical Information Publication (AlP) and NOTAMs (Notices to Airmen) that the CAA issues and amend your chart as necessary. Ideally your Club should have access to NOTAMs. Don’t forget to read the Airspace Update column in Skywings. It should be remembered that all these charts contain long-term information only and there is nothing about those Royal Flights or Red Arrows displays that we must avoid.
Where to get them?
You can obtain these charts from a number of different sources, some of which advertise in Skvings. When ordering, you should always check which edition you will be sent. You can also order them from the CAA’s main chart agent: CAA Chart Sales, tel. 0161 499 0013, fax. 0161 499 0298. They take credit cards, so it is possible to order by telephone.
Using a chart
It’s difficult to read and understand airspace dimensions and rules, work out where you are and where you are heading, and centre in a thermal all at the same time — so planning a cross country in advance will always make the flight easier.
Navigation techniques are the same whichever scale of chart or type of map you decide to use. Take the time to sit down with the charts or whatever maps you choose to use, and draw on them the line of your proposed track, whether it is a downwind cross-country, a triangle or an out-and-return.
First look for any airspace along your route that you must avoid (the reference block at the bottom of the chart explains what each symbol represents) and highlight the boundaries in an obvious way (e.g. a bright red line). Redraw your track if necessary — although you may be able to continue your flight underneath some airspace that you are not allowed into. If this is the case, besides the boundaries mark the altitude that you must keep below, and remember to set your altimeter properly. (If you get near to the local airway base height it is wiser to leave, as many light- aeroplane pilots find it convenient to follow airways just under their base height.) Flying over airspace that you are not allowed in is pushing your luck; gravity has a way of cutting short your flight when you least want it to!
Secondly, look for airspace which you can enter; but where you must obey certain rules. Are you prepared and able to fly by those rules? If not, then mark them as areas to avoid; if you are able and prepared then mark those boundaries in a different but still obvious way (e.g. a line of bright red dashes) — learn the relevant rules and fly by them.
Thirdly look for landmarks that you can use to check your position in flight: recognisable road junctions, isolated large towns, railway junctions and disused airfields are just some examples (remember; woods and forests can change, and objects like radio masts are virtually invisible from above!). Highlighting a landmark every five to ten miles along the track should be enough.
Finally, when folding your map to put it into your map-holder, make sure that your take-off site is positioned near the bottom of the visible bit and that your intended track runs up the map away from you and in the direction of flight. It is much easier to follow like that: landmarks that appear on the right of your drawn track-line will appear on the right as you fly.
If on a flight you run out of map, you have run out of information; sooner or later you will also run out of luck, and so you should land and not put others’ lives and our sport at risk by irresponsibility
Using an altimeter
Aeronautical charts show vertical limits expressed using a variety of terms such as ‘ALT’ and ‘FL’ or ‘Flight Level’. Part of learning how to use a chart involves understanding what these terms mean, and learning how to use your altimeter correctly.
Atmospheric pressure reduces with increased height, by approximately 1 millibar (mb) per 10 m (30 ft) at lower levels. Altimeters are effectively pressure-measuiing devices that display this reduced pressure as height in feet. In order for these devices to be used to judge height relative to blocks of airspace and other aircraft, agreed altimeter_setting datums have to be used. These allow for the fact that atmospheric pressure also changes as weather systems move across the country, and that some airfields are sited on hills and others in the lowlands. Three standard altimeter-setting datums are used: QFE, QNH and Flight Level — these are detailed below. Aircraft altimeters have a sub-scale and knob to change the pressure setting, allowing them to use any of these three datum bases.
QFE is the pressure setting that results in the altimeter showing zero on a particular airfield. If you are going to remain flying around the airfield, then the altimeter will provide accurate height information. If you choose to fly to another airfield, then when you get there you will need to get (by radio) the current QFE setting at that field to enable you to reset your altimeter to give the accurate height above that particular airfield.
When flying between airfields, pilots set their altimeters to the current pressure reading at mean sea level. This is given the code QNH, and vertical distance measurements using this datum are known as altitudes. The country is divided into altimeter setting regions (shown on air charts as ASRs), and within each region the regional QNH value (updated hourly) is available from ATC and advised routinely to pilots whenever they contact ATC for instructions. This ensures that all pilots in that area are operating with the same pressure information, so making it possible for them to rely on their altimeters when judging safe terrain clearance and vertical separation from other aircraft.
Flight Levels
Aircraft cruising well above the terrain and crossing many regions and countries would constantly have to change altimeter settings to each regional QNH value. Since at cruising levels accurate separation from other aircraft is the prime consideration, it is safer and easier for all aircraft to use a standardised pressure setting. The International Standard Atmosphere (ISA) sea-level pressure setting of 1013.2 mb is used. (On any given day this could be above or below the actual pressure at sea-level.) The vertical position measured on an altimeter set to this datum is referred to as a Flight Level. FL95 thus means 9500 ft above the level at which tiw pressure is 1013.2 mb.

Below the Transition Altitude, aircraft pilots alter their altimeters to give an altitude reading (QNH) rather than a Flight Level reading. Except around airports, where it may be increased, the Transition Altitude in the UK is 3000 ft.
Hang gliders and paragliders
If just flying locally (e.g. ridge-soaring) where there are no airspace restrictions, most pilots will use QFE, zeroing their altimeters at take-off or at the intended landing-point.
If you are planning to fly cross-country, you will need to set your altimeter to QNH. One way to do this is to accurately determine your altitude from an OS map before launch and adjust the altimeter to that indication. This (local QNH) setting will enable you to avoid controlled airspace where the lower levels are defined by altitudes. When the lower levels of controlled airspace are defined by Flight Levels, your altimeter will need to be set to 1013.2 mb to determine your proximity to the controlled airspace. Most modern altimeters have the ability to be switched to such a setting — it is sometimes (incorrectly) labeled QNE.