1st European Paragliding Accuracy Championships
Great Britain claimed a creditable 4th position at the first ever FAI European Paragliding Accuracy Championships in Serbia over the 3rd to 10th August and could have possibly taken Silver if it had not been for a disasterous third round score that allowed the Czech Republic and Slovenia to nudge in front. Competitors had ten flights from a 1,000 feet tall hill, landing in a football stadium with the objective to land as close as possible to a 3cm disc. Target approaches were not easy in the hot thermic conditions and suited the surprise winners Serbia, whose local knowledge was to prove a big advantage.
Brits Nick Simmons (6th) and Andy Webster (8th) were awarded FAI Diplomas for their top ten finishes with new boy Mark Dann narrowly missing out with a fantastic 11th placing. Don Bodill achieved 21st place and Chris Haynes, who was a last minute replacement for John Lawrence, flew very well to take 24th place despite little preparation. Great Britain were at a disadvantage being unable to field any female pilots, whereas the top two teams Serbia and Czech Republic could field the full compliment of five male pilots and two female pilots.
The Great Britain team would like to thank the BHPA for funding towards the championships. Full results and photos are on www.epa2008.org.
Applications are now open for next year's gruelling Red Bull X-Alps bivvy competition which will start on July 19th. The lists close on September 30th (see www.redbullxalps.com) and the 30 selected pilots will be announced shortly afterwards.
Entrants will race over an 850km course through the Alps taking up to 20 days. The organisers are currently finalising the route, which will go from Austria to the Mediterranean coast via Germany, Italy, Switzerland and France. Competitors must carry their equipment but nominate a supporter to provide food, clothing and navigational advice.
The race continues day and night until the first pilot reaches goal. A huge audience followed last year's race via Red Bull's live online tracking service. British pilot Aidan Toase finished sixth in the 2007 event and vowed to come back for more.
Paragliding Accuracy Nationals
If you would like some end-of-year fun flying, this year's Paragliding Accuracy National Championships will be hosted by Beyond Extreme in the Shropshire/Welsh Borders area on October 25th and 26th.
The championships will be a hill-launch event, and pilots must have a CP (Hill) rating or higher to enter the main competition. There will also be a novice competition open to pilots of any pilot rating who are new to accuracy flying (Elementary rated pilots must be accompanied by their own instructor). There will be transport to the top of the hill and families are welcome at this spectator-friendly event.
The Championships is not an FAI event and therefore you do not have to worry about having FAI licences. Depending on conditions, it is proposed to allow free flying during some of the competition rounds. In addition to national honours there will be trophies for best female, best veteran, best newcomer, most improved pilot and best novice. Camping facilities will be available at the Royal Hill at Edgerley, between Melverley and Pentre (SJ 351 174), approximately ten miles west of Shrewsbury. Entry forms are available at the Beyond Extreme website at www.beyondextreme.co.uk. Pilots who entered last year's event and did not get a refund will only have to pay £10 of the entry fee.
More records for Mia
Not content with the three Class 5 distance and speed records she set in June and July, Canada's Mia Schokker set a new women's 150km triangle speed record of 19km/h and a triangle distance mark or 150.5km on August 2nd. Both records are previously unset. Mia was flying an Atos VS.
Hang glider wins Flugtag
The London Red Bull Flugtag record was broken on June 7th with a 39.5m flight from a 6m ramp into the Serpentine in London's Hyde Park. The craft was designed and built by a team drawn from Edward Cullinan Architects and engineers Ramboll Whitby Bird and Element Energy.
The glider was built using digitally-cut expanded polystyrene ribs, some aluminium for structural stiffness and a ripstop nylon skin. The team was up against some serious (and not-so-serious) competition piloted by BHPA member Phil Graham. Search YouTube for "Cullinan Bird" for footage.
Steve Ham joins Niviuk
Steve Ham, rarely out of the top 50 pilots in the WPRS, has joined Team Niviuk UK to fly a Peak glider in the British Nationals series. Steve opened his bag with a Serial win at the first round at Pedro Bernardo, Spain. Steve won the British Championships Serial Class in 2006 and 2007 and the Open Class in 2002. He also won the Serial Class at the 2006 Pre-Worlds and the Australian Nationals the same year, the New Zealand Nationals in 2003 and the Spanish Nationals Serial Class in 2001.
In September the Avon Club will again be marking the end of the summer with its legendary Mere Bash. It's a party to end all parties with bands, bonfire, barbecue, bouncy castle and - best of all – cheap beer! It takes place in the bottom landing field of one of Avon's legendary flying sites: the Rifle Range at Mere, just off the A303 in Wiltshire.
Mere has been used for free flight ever since the early days of hang gliding, and is a fitting place to celebrate our sport. The Bash takes place on Saturday 6th and Sunday 7th September. Entertainments will reach their peak on Saturday evening. It's not just for the Avon Club - pilots from all other clubs are very welcome. Children are most welcome to run riot too, and most years the bouncy castle sees some pretty punishing use. Tickets will be £10 in advance and £15 on the door, with children under 16 free. For that you get to camp Saturday night, hear live music, slap your meat on the huge barbecue, and the best atmosphere you'll have experienced all year. For tickets and further information contact Avon's Social Secretary at firstname.lastname@example.org.
VR speed record
On June 15th Canada's Mia Schokker claimed the previously unset Women's Class 5 100km speed triangle record at 28.9km/h from Mansfield, Washington, flying an Air Atos VS. Two weeks later Mia flew a 127.7km triangle from Chelan, Washington, to secure the unset Women's Class 5 triangle record. By now with the bit firmly between her teeth, on July 1st Mia also claimed the previously unset 50km Women's triangle record, from Mansfield again, at 25.4km/h. The relevant general records are currently 42km/h (Martin Henry, Atos C, 2004, Mansfield), 258.9km (Marcus Hoffmann-Guben, Atos, St Andre, 2000) and 40.80km/h (Davis Straub, Atos, Wallaby Ranch, 2001) respectively.
For further information about the British Hang Gliding and Paragliding Association and skywings magazine, please visit our about the BHPA and Skywings magazine pages on this website.