Tony Hughes is Worthing International Birdman!
Former European hang gliding champion Tony Hughes took the top prize at this year's Worthing Birdman competition in August. Difficult conditions on the second day meant that no-one could improve on Tony's 106.5m flight on his Scandal XK on the Saturday.
"106m proves that an old has-been can still glide when there's £10k up for grabs!", he reported afterwards. "I hope it will inspire a few more youngsters to take up hang gliding which has always been my true love!" Tony received a cheque for over £12,000 which will benefit the Wiltshire Air Ambulance.
Runner-up was Kevin Smith who flew 94.4m on an Avian Cheetah; last year's winner Ron Freeman could only achieve 59.9m on an Aeros Stealth while first-timer Edgar Skukins made 18.3m aboard a Hiway Vision.
Tony also won the Leonardo (homebuilt) class on an own-design rigid with an early flight of 31.7m in very light winds; Ron Freeman made 27m on a modified Hiway Fledge and Sean Frawley's homebuilt also flew well. Tony was European champion in 1982 and 1984 and now runs the Wiltshire Microlight Centre; he has entered the Worthing Birdman competition every year since 2004. In perfect conditions last year he achieved 116.3m on the same Scandal XK. He says he may attack the Leonardo class again with a lighter Mark 2 version of his rigid-wing design. Next year's event will be on Saturday 20th and Sunday 21st August; details are on the Worthing Birdman website.
Posted: 5 October 2015
The Parafest three-day free-flying event at Llangollen on June 12th - 14th was reckoned to be a huge success. Tickets had sold out to capacity a month before the event, but quite a few chose to stay at home rather than face the expected mudbath of Glastonbury proportions.
In fact the forecast torrential rain never appeared and Parafest enjoyed dry fields, sunshine and low winds. Those who committed to having a good time regardless of the weather were rewarded with three flyable days!
Parafest welcomed over 500 attendees, mainly pilots, wannabee pilots and their families, to the bottom landing fields at the popular North Wales site. Nearly 150 paramotor pilots had registered to fly; many more didn't bother to bring their kit but came just for the social and to party. Paraglider pilots had a short drive to a coastal soaring site as the wind was not on the hill for the Friday and Saturday, but everyone had good airtime on both days, enjoying the fantastic views.
After a great day's flying on the Friday and Saturday the pilots returned to the Parafest site and everyone gathered in the marquee, or around the huge contained fire just outside it, to enjoy the music and party into the early hours. On Sunday the North Wales club had the site to themselves as the visitors packed away or joined the zipline reserve repack.
Before Parafest the UK trade and schools had no event to promote themselves, their products and the sports to a targeted audience, and pilots never had an event combining a fly-in gathering with a family-friendly festival. They do now!
Posted: 5 October 2015
FLYER Live! (incorporating the Flying Show) runs on November 28th - 29th at Telford International Centre.
A worthy successor to the BHPA/BMAA show that used to run at Telford and then moved to the NEC, the show returned to its roots last year with a new organiser, the publishers of Flyer magazine, and was reported to have been a great success. 50+ stands will cover a wide range of recreational aviation activites; exhibitors include Flylight, a number of instrument and radio sources, several insurance specialists, aviation software developers and publishers.
The programme includes a series of seminars on aviation subjects (check the Flyer Live website for details). Tickets cost £10 online (+ 90p booking fee); discounted tickets for BHPA members cost £6 plus (80p booking fee); enter the promotional code BHPA316 and your BHPA membership number when prompted. Tickets on the day cost £12.50; there will be no membership discount. Under 18s go free but will still need a ticket.
Onsite car parking costs £4.50 per day; for those arriving by train there will be a free shuttle bus from Telford Central station. For details and tickets please visit the Flyer Live website. The show is open from 10.00am - 5.00pm on Saturday and 10.00am - 4.00pm on Sunday.
Posted: 5 October 2015
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.