Skywings News Update - August 2012
Olympic airspace restrictions still apply for the Paralympics
A smaller set of restrictions to the original Olympics constraints remain in force to cover the Paralympic Games from August 16th to September 12th.
If flying anywhere near them make sure you know exactly what the rules - and your responsibilities - are. Full details of the Paralympics restrictions can be found at www.airspacesafety.com/olympics.
HPA success at Lasham
Five human powered aircraft (HPA) teams attended the Royal Aeronautical Society‘s (RAeS) Icarus Cup competition at Lasham from July 14th - 22nd.
The event commemorated last year‘s 50th anniversary of the first human powered flight, made by Derek Piggott in association with Southampton University on November 9th, 1961. The inaugural competition was aimed at testing pilots‘ endurance, flight accuracy skills and technical ability across a number of different tasks. Rain and strong winds grounded the aircraft for a few days but allowed continued maintenance and modification.
The entrants were from John (Optica) Edgley, P&M Aviation, F1 engineer David Barford and Southampton and Bath Universities. Each machine has a wingspan of around 25m and weighs over 30kg without its pilot. David Barford‘s Betterfly, first flown at Sywell in May, performed well but was outflown by the P&M team‘s Airglow, originally built in the 1990s.
The Icarus Cup for the best flight was won by P&M‘s Robin Kraike, with Mike Truelove taking second place on the same machine. Dave Barford‘s Betterfly team was second overall and Southampton‘s SUHPA (soo-per!) was third. "This competition marks the start of a new era of sport aviation," reported organiser Dr Bill Brooks, Chairman of the RAeS HPA Group, "and we hope to encourage wider participation in human powered flying."
On July 21st, Gordon Mucklow (Niviuk Peak 2) and Richard Perkes (Gin Boomerang GTO) of the Isle of Wight Club flew across the Solent to the Hampshire mainland.
They are thought to be only the fourth and fifth paraglider pilots to make the crossing from the Island, following in the footsteps of Innes Powell, Bruce Goldsmith and Fergus Madwar. "Gordy, who flew in a T-shirt, got to pay for the goal beers and the ferry - I was flying without a wallet!" reported Richard.
The flight was made from Chillerton Down, crossing to Hurst Castle and landing to the west of Lymington. The two flew together all the way, avoiding airspace and some big cloud development.
Plastic rods examined
The DHV website carries a fascinating article about the pros and cons of using plastic rods in paraglider leading edges. Prolific designer Michael Nesler (Edel, Perché, Freestyle, Firebird, Icaro, Independence, Profly, Wings of Change, etc) points out that although manufacturers promise better stability, increased performance and reduced weight using plastic rods, there is a downside too.
He asks whether we really need more and more performance. The gains are only marked when flying really fast, and recreational pilots tend to avoid this except in emergencies. Michael concludes that the use of plastic rods instead of Mylar or Dacron reinforcements can have positive benefits in weight, performance, recovery after turbulence and reduced production costs.
However when used simply to improve performance they can introduce a new set of dangers including unpredictable recovery behaviour and reduced safety if they become deformed, and an increased risk of deep stalls when gliders age. The 1,500-word article is a fascinating investigation into paragliding‘s recent big new direction. It can be found, in English, on the DHV website.
Carlton Bank Wendy
The recently-stolen Carlton Bank Wendy Windblows station was replaced on July 30th with a new higher-security setup. Rod Buck reports that it should be "Damn difficult to nick!"