Skywings News Update - November 2012
Late last year there were serious problems in the Dolomites, particularly the Canazei-Col Rodella-Pordoi-Marmolada area, involving conflicts between search-and-rescue helicopters and paragliders and hang gliders (see November 2011 news item). Nearly 70 free fliers were rescued by helicopter in the Canazei area between September and October, and helicopters were also in action to rescue climbers and bikers, etc. The presence of hundreds pilots from all over Europe hindered many of these evacuations, causing considerable animosity from the rescue services and risking the closure of the area for free flying. Luca Basso of the FIVL has advised us of new rules designed to improve the situation:
There is only one rescue phone number - 118
If a red or yellow rescue helicopter appears, free fliers must clear the area for a radius of 2km or land immediately
If a rescue helicopter appears, pilots have a responsibility to advise others in the air by radio
If the radio message is not heard or understood, pilots have a responsibility to advise others in the air by pulling big ears
A pilot who has crashed and is in danger or needs medical attention must let off a red smoke bomb, available in the Canazei LZ
Pilots who do not need assistance must fold their wing or let off a green smoke bomb
Pilots should note that a hovering helicopter may not have reached its target; it may be waiting for pilots to clear the area. Flying in the Dolomites is under serious threat if these rules are not adhered to. Any damage or danger to rescue helicopters caused by free fliers will see the Dolomites area closed to us. The BHPA fully supports this request from the FIVL; we hope that pilots will co-operate so that the sites can be preserved for all
Pyrenees bivvi trip
Steve Nash and UK Nova importer Dean Crosby recently completed an 18-day unsupported hike-and-fly crossing of the Pyrenees.
Starting in late August at Hendaye on the French on the Atlantic coast, they arrived at Roses in Spain on on September 8th. Along the way they slept in refuges, church gardens, a horse showground and a cave. Both were flying Nova’s ultra-light Ion 2 Light.
Despite setting off at the right time of year the pair were unlucky with the weather and hiked a significant amount of the route, being able to fly only 118km of the 438km total in just nine flights. Although the hard walks were balanced by some amazing flights above 3,000m, despite being a super-fit X-Alps veteran Steve is said to have lost six kilos during the trip.
Robin Hamilton wins Santa Cruz Flats
After seven tasks in seven days, ex-pat British pilot Robin Hamilton won the annual Santa Cruz Flats Class 1 hang gliding event, this year doubling as the US Nationals.
Robin led the race-to-goal competition by 392 points on his Moyes Litespeed RS from last year‘s winner Jeff O‘Brien (Wills Wing T2C) and Ben Dunn (Litespeed RS), another US-domiciled Brit. Only three pilots flew in the Class 5 comp, won by US pilot James Yocom (Atos VR10), and three Swifts flew in Class 2, won by former US and world champion Brian Porter (Bright Star Swift).
Gran Paradiso first
On September 6th Squash Falconer and Annecy climber and fly-guide Irwyn Jehu launched from the summit ice slopes of Italy‘s highest peak, the 4,000m Gran Paradiso after some tough early-morning climbing.
Her film of the flight has attracted over 18,000 hits on YouTube.
Although a French lady made the flight in 2007, it is thought that Squash is the British first woman to have flown from the summit, and possibly the first British pilot. "Squash is tough and worthy of the claim," said Irwyn after the flight.
Missing flier found alive
Speed-glider Dan Hunt, 33, disappeared during a descent of the 11,000ft Jungfraujoch in the Swiss Alps on 15th Sept despite having launched only seconds behind one of his two flying partners.
A helicopter search was organised but was stopped having reached the limit of his insurance cover. Local pilots flew over the route, search-and-rescue teams with dogs combed the area and friends travelled to help.
A Facebook campaign raised nearly £14,000 to fund three further helicopter searches, all unsuccessful. He was found, uninjured, 68 hours after taking off, shouting for help in a forested ravine.
Instructor/Senior Coach Course
The BHPA will be running an Instructor/Senior Coach course next year. The course will be held at the Lilleshall National Sports and Conferencing Centre from the 23rd - 25th April.
For further information about this course and the Club Coach courses planned for the next six months, please visit the BHPA Website.