A tight, even curvy launch area can look daunting but, for someone
able to steer their launch run, it's no more dangerous than a
wide-open site. The key is being able to steer your launch run and know
that the area is wide enough. Furthermore, the climbout path must allow
for engine-out options. Of course a constricted site will be less
forgiving of error and strong winds (over just a few mph).
Time of risk is the period where an engine failure would
result in landing somewhere unpleasant. Ideally that time will be zero
although, occasionally, we accept some amount of known risk. Work out
flight paths or procedures in advance to minimize exposure. The best
example is water. If you'll be launching somewhere that could result in
wetness after engine pukage, wear an Agama and/or life vest.
Avoid sites that require climbing over tall obstructionsónot only do
they increase your time of risk, but they require performance
that you may misjudge. That's a very common error that put pilots in
trees and power lines. "I think I can make that" has preceded numerous
trips to the hospital. Measure it so that you can know. Of course you
must have also measured your no-wind performance at home and know what
Launching from a confined area is about picking a path and sticking
with it. As long as you have about 1.5 times your wingspan along a
launch path, and are able to steer the launch run within about 5 feet,
you can launch about anywhere.
Once your measurements are made so that the course is known, then
your job on launch is simply following that path. It's best to have a
wide area at initial inflation so you can accept a crooked inflation and
have room to get under the wing and steer it back. Once the wing is up,
concentrate on the path, not the obstructions. If you get more than a
few feet off the chosen course, abort.
Below is a short video on one of my back-yard launches. These really
aren't that confined but, by treating the centerline as the target path
and putting out fixed-distance cones, I can accurately gauge how much
room I'll need in a true confined area.
Landing is another story, with a potentially very dangerous plot.
Mostly because it involves steeping the glide by pulling lots of brakes.
Truly tight areas will not allow S-turning and heavy brake pressure
requires intimate knowledge of your wing and having a feel for when it's
about to stall or spin.
Even for an experienced pilot, landing in a confined area carries
some amount of increased risk although it can be greatly minimized.
Sorry about the audio. This was cut together on an overnight and
narrated through the built-in sound recording.
Looking down the taxiway. I don't worry about the
trees on either side, rather I worry about staying on the centerline.
Also, I only commit to flight if I'm running along the centerline
and the wing is tracking straight.
Getting more than 5 feet off, for whatever reason,
would require aborting to a run or aborting altogether.