CSC Coaching

This page contains details of the club coaching strategy and photos of our club coaches. please log into the Members area and choose:

Members > Members Info > Our Coaches & how to contact them.

This will bring you to a similar coaching page, the coaches table will be populated with email addresses and contact phone numbers.  Our coaches would be delighted to hear from you to chat through flying options and/or to meet up on a hill.

Club Coaching Strategy

1. Information for Club Pilots

Purpose of Club Coaching within the Cumbria Soaring Club.

The Cumbrian fells provide a challenging flying environment even for experienced pilots. For low airtime pilots, and those lacking in experience of flying in mountains, it can appear daunting – or it should do!

This Coaching Strategy aims to provide a clearly defined approach to coaching for the benefit of both coaches and the coached.

The overarching aim of the coaching programme is to enable new pilots to fly safely and confidently in the fells. To this end the programme will focus on:

  • Developing the skills necessary to fly safely in a mountain environment.
  • Imparting knowledge to help participating pilots to make informed flying decisions.
  • Helping Club Pilots raise their flying skills and complete BHPA tasks to qualify achieve a Pilot rating.
  • Means for visiting pilots and low airtime pilots to contact and fly with club coaches, meet other pilots, and integrate into the club.

Please remember that all coaches are volunteers doing this for free in their own free time, losing some of their own flying time to help others. Each individual coach will decide for themselves when they are happy to coach and, specifically, WHAT they are happy to coach. If you feel you need particular help with specific tasks please discuss with individual coaches - or alternatively book a day with one of our local schools, Airventures or Escape.

Who is coaching for?

Any pilot can benefit from the coaching programme though it's generally aimed at lower-airtime pilots (especially those recently qualified at CP level) and pilots new to Cumbria. Pilots must have a minimum of CP and be a BHPA member –You will probably be asked for your BHPA card so please check it’s in date and with you.

How the coaching is delivered and how you can 'get coached'!

Coaching is normally delivered on the hill at take-off, but please attend any classroom theory days and more social talks that the club organises through the year.

A. Practical coaching 'on the hill'

Coaching on the hill is offered in a variety of formats to suit the needs of different pilots. Pilots can expect to receive the following:

  • Discussion and advice on the weather and anticipated flying conditions;
  • Help in choosing the best flying site to suite the weather, objectives, and suitability for pilots;
  • A site briefing on arrival;
  • Discussion about expectations in relation to the conditions and forecast - aspirations for the coaching session. Ground handling, slope landings etc, but prioritising airtime;
  • One to one chat. Encouragement to do full pre-flight checks;
  • Advise and possible assistance launching;
  • Although radios can be useful for general advice that the wind is picking up or strong in the landing field for example. Don’t expect a minute by minute instructions 'radio controlled' flight;
  • A debrief at the end of the session;
  • If required and successfully undertaken, sign-off of one or two pilot tasks.


  1. One-to-One coaching
    1. Pilots at all levels of ability and experience can benefit from one-to-one coaching and are encouraged to do so.
    2. Importantly, it is up to YOU the pilot to make contact with any one of the Club Coaches – please don't wait for a coach to contact you!
    3. The name, location, and contact details of CSC Club Coaches can be found by logging on to the member's area of the CSC website and scrolling down to the coaching section. Use these phone numbers and get in touch! (NB you need to be a club member to access a coaches contact details).
    4. Please join the ‘Redtails’ WhatsApp group for instant mobile comms.
    5. If pilots prefer, they can contact the club's nominated 'Coaching Contact' who will arrange for you to be hooked-up with a suitable coach. You can get in touch with the 'Coaching Contact' by clicking on this link and sending a message.
  2. Ad-hoc / Informal coaching
    1. Any pilot should feel comfortable approaching our coaches at any time whilst out on the hill. Don’t be put off making a few calls or asking local pilots if there’s a Club Coach on the hill today. Click the coaches tab on this page for current coaches - with photos.
  3. Coaching Groups
    1. These are informal events with no need to book and are aimed primarily at low air time pilots, pilots new to Cumbria, and those not-current.
    2. Coaching Group days are usually held the on a weekend or bank-holiday once a month from April to September.
    3. Groups normally meet at Keswick at 10:00 or 10:30am. Two days notice is given by e-mailing club members, and those in WhatsApp and Telegram groups (CSC and Sick & The Wrong), followed by further information and confirmation the evening before.
    4. These events are very dependant on settled weather forecast and coaches available who are willing to lead a group.
    5. Numbers are not officially limited but if a large number of people show up on the day then the group is likely to be split, with different groups being taken by the coaches to different flying sites. This may also happen where pilots are clearly at different levels of experience. Short cross country flights may be planned if appropriate.

B. Flying theory 'in the classroom'

The club will aim to run a number of 'classroom' theory sessions days or evening events.

These will normally be held over the winter and, though aimed at lower-airtime and developing pilots, anyone is welcome to come along if they think they might benefit from the session.

Watch out for e-mails in the Autumn about the lectures and topical / social events.

Coaching Programme

Of our 260 members, nearly 10% of them are Club Coaches! Some of them, like me, are still working for a living, and some of them ‘skive’ off work or have retired. On any flyable day someone will be going for a fly and will be happy for you to join them for some coaching or introduce you to a new flying site. All you need is your BHPA card (or the elusive BHPA App) to prove you are qualified as CP (Hill) and are still a BHPA member. Slope landing, thermalling, completing some tasks towards pilot rating, or even take part in short XC’s, whatever your ambitions, a day out on the hill with a coach will help you progress in a safe and social environment. Names, mug shots and contact details of all 'Coaches' can be found in 'Members' section of the web page via 'Members Info'. Please give them a call for a chat and I'm sure they will be happy to meet up and go flying. Also, don’t hesitate to chat with any pilot on take-off or in the landing field. All pilots are unmistakable – they carry a big bag and look up at the sky a lot. Alternatively you can text or call me on 07752 750869, and please read about coaching group activities below.

David Ashcroft, AKA Dangerous Dave.

There are also two group events:

Type 1 – Redtail.

The RedTail group is aimed a low air time pilots. To take advantage of flyable spells in the weather there are impromptu coaching run any day of the week. This will be announced to low air time pilots subscribing to the Redtail WhatsApp and by e-mail.

Type 2 – Group Coaching Day.

This activity is open to low air time and anyone looking for some coaching or site information. We do our best to have a weekend Group Day at least once a month between April and September. They are usually on the first decent weekend (or bank holiday) of the month and normally ran by 1 or 2 coaches. They will be advertised by e-mail to CSC members and all WhatsApp / Telegram groups a couple of days in advance.

If you haven’t joined a WhatsApp and / or Telegram group, then give me your name and mobile number. There’s plenty of chatter and live information on what’s going on in the Lake District that day.

Have an excellent 2024,

David Ashcroft, AKA Dangerous Dave.

0775 275 0869



Showing your Colours

If you have just qualified as a Club Pilot, many congratulations, but you still have a lot to learn. The gap between school and becoming an established member of a club is probably when you are at your most vulnerable. To ease you into the club safely, we have a number of coaches to help you.

As it is important to identify low air time pilots in the air, everybody with fewer than ten hours soaring experience is actively encouraged to display a red streamer attached to the bottom of the harness.


Coaching Days

During the summer the Chief Coach organises a coaching day occasionally. The actual date is weather dependant. If you are newly qualified, un-current or in need of assistance then register with the Chief Coach and he will let you know of the next likely event.


Becoming a Club Coach

The post of Club Coach is not a flying qualification. A BHPA Club Coach is qualified to Club Pilot standard and has shown a willingness to help developing pilots improve their ability. He/she should be of a mature outlook, with unquestionable integrity, and sound flying experience. If you would like to be considered for a position, you should make the fact known to the Chief Coach. It is essential that applicants examine their motives beforehand.


Staying Current

Probably the most common contributing factor to paragliding and hang gliding accidents is a lack of currency.

We all know the feeling: the winter, the weather, work commitments and family have all contributed to keeping us off the hill; until now. No matter how experienced you are, it is inevitable that your skills will have slipped. It probably happens more to pilots with less overall experience – but it can happen to anyone.

So, how do we go about getting back into the air safely?

  • Get back into things gently – a few shorter soaring flights in easier conditions on a site you are familiar with.
  • Get some help or advice from club coaches – and join a coaching group.
  • Go back to school. Most schools will welcome back former students for a refresher; they may not even charge!
  • Avoid spring thermals until you are back on form.
  • Avoid adding to the difficulty by introducing new kit when you’re rusty.
Coach Name Area Availability Mug Shot
David Ashcroft West Cumbria Weekends
Richard Bungay North Cumbria Weekends
Ed Cleasby Cumbria All Week
Gordon Coulthard North Cumbria Weekends
Martin Emms North Lakes Weekends
Mike Harper North Cumbria. Available Mondays as well Weekends
James Jackson North Cumbria Weekends
Chris Little North Cumbria Weekends
Tim Oliver South Lakes Weekends
Barry Roberts South East Lakes All Week
Richard Sewell North Lakes All Week
Jonny Sims North Lakes Weekends
Peter White North Cumbria All Week