Glider launching at Bellarena is by aerotow or self-launch only. Winch launching is not available. 

Pilots will use the CBSIFTCBE preflight checks. Once these are complete and the pilot is ready for launch he will ask for the cable to be attached. The cable will be connected to the glider's nose hook where one is available; otherwise to the most appropriate alternate.

Accepting the cable signals to the ground crew that the glider is ready for immediate launch. After cable attachment, the ground crew will check for aircraft in the circuit and approach, and for other potential hazards, and if satisfied of safety will lift the glider wings level. This indicates to the tug pilot that, once he is ready, he may commence the launch.

A launch-point marshal, who may also be the wing-runner, will carry a radio and be able to stop the launch in the event of any potential hazard arising. He will monitor the launch at least until the combination is airborne.

ANY person having doubts as to the safety of the launch should stop it by using the words "Stop! Stop! Stop!". If either tug pilot or glider pilot decides that the launch is potentially unsafe, they should terminate it by releasing the cable.

'Standard' launches are to 2000 ft above airfield elevation. Any deviation from this should be requested of the tug pilot before launch, and will be transmitted by the tug pilot to the log-keeper after release for entry to Logstar.

Within reason, glider pilots may elect to be towed to whatever height they wish. This will depend upon conditions, pilot experience, purpose of flight etc. However, when lift conditions are reliable, such as on a strong ridge-lift day, turnaround times, fuel burn and tug overhead costs will all be reduced by pilots accepting lower-than-standard tows. NOTE - Safety must not be compromised, and the selection of release height remains the glider pilot's decision. 

On release, the glider will turn left, and the tug, after maintaining straight and level flight for a few seconds, will turn right unless to do so would cause confliction with other aircraft.

See full details at Order of Flying



Our local soaring frequency is 130.1 Mhz. This is monitored by the tug G-TUGG or on occasion G-CONR. Glider pilots operating further away from Bellarena and intending to exchange cross-country messages are requested to announce their intention and to change frequency to 130.4 MHz.

Any glider without a serviceable radio capable of receiving the appropriate frequencies must be kept well clear of the designated ILS Box associated with the ILS approach facility for Eglinton airport. 

See the separate sections relating to airspace and self briefing.

See full details at Order of Flying




All glider pilots intending to land at Bellarena should plan their flights to finish with a normal circuit and landing.

All circuits should be Left Hand unless otherwise directed. Should there be a reason to vary the circuit direction, the Duty Instructor will indicate the required circuit direction at the daily briefing and record this on the briefing sheet. The circuit direction in force will apply to tugs and aeroplanes operating from Bellarena. Pilots of visiting aircraft making PPR telephone calls or making radio contact when arriving by air will be advised of the circuit direction in force. 

The recommended circuit direction for the day does not prevent any glider pilot from applying their own judgement on circuit direction if the urgency of the situation dictates, for example running short of height for any reason. In such cases an appropriate radio call will assist greatly with situational awareness for everyone. All pilots should recognise that, notwithstanding the circuit direction in force, there may be opposing circuit traffic that may be difficult to detect and therefore a particularly rigorous lookout is required. 

'Beat-ups' and 'practice competition finishes' over the airfield often compromise the safety of the glider involved, and can cause hazardous confliction with other circuit traffic. Neither may be performed without the express authorisation of the CFI or Duty Instructor.

Final glides for tasks, or for competition training, should be selected to a finish point outside the circuit area, with the glider subsequently joining a conventional circuit to land.

See full details at Order of Flying



By prevailing Irish standards the fields on the Magilligan peninsula are big and those south of our local River Roe are even bigger for just a few miles southward, after which Ireland’s mini-patchwork begins.

Most are grass, with landable surfaces but, of course, the likelihood of livestock. In our immediate neighbourhood the fields tend to be orientated, like the site, in the East - West direction. There are no hedges and they are separated by wire fences and every few hundred yards by wide, deep, ditches draining westwards into the lough.

In Ireland a ditch is called a sheugh. If your glider goes into one of these that’s exactly what you’ll get.


Temporary single-wire electrified fences across otherwise apparently undivided fields are occasionally to be found, so do the normal careful check for these when setting up an out-landing approach.

The tidal mudflats are landable and can be safely used after a low rope-break on a westward launch. Should this occur, the glider should be speedily retrieved to the foreshore, where it can be de-rigged and returned through our foreshore gate. The undershoot for our prevailing westerly approaches, are to be avoided and should be used only in the most dire need.

Similarly, avoid using the disused and now much built-over Limavady airfield, it is hazardous and there are better, safer, options immediately adjacent if you have to land out.