A final reminder that the Sport and Light Aviation Show takes place at the NEC on November 29th and 30th.
Free flight importers and dealers booked as we go to press include Airways, Bailey Aviation, Flylight, Northern Paragliding, ParAvion and UK Airsports. There will be a presence from the various airsports' governing bodies: the BHPA, BMAA, BGA, LAA and CAA; also the BHPA Simulator, plus Cross Country International, Today's Pilot, Extreme Kites, Onrisk and Airsports Insurance.
An exciting schedule of talks and seminars has been arranged including Michel Carnet (maximum fun with minimum risk), and Nigel Page (starting XC flying). There will also be talks from Dr Bill Brooks (flexwing developments) and Richard Meredith-Hardy, and we hope to be able to confirm a talk about the Yuneec electric paramotor. Unfortunately, due to unforeseen circumstances, Jocky Sanderson is no longer able to give a talk at the show.
Entrance is £5 to BHPA members with a valid membership card and £10 to non-members (doors open 10am).
For further information, please visit theflyingshow.co.uk.
John Dickenson presented with FAI Diploma
The Kernow Hang Gliding and Paragliding Association held a reception at the Railway Inn, St Agnes in September in honour of John Dickenson, inventor of the flexible wing hang glider.
During the reception past BHPA President Noel Whittall, on behalf of CIVL President Flip Koetsier, presented John with the FAI Hang Gliding Diploma for his pivotal role in developing the sport of hang gliding.
Jason Board of the British Hang Gliding Museum and historian Mark Woodhams have constructed a replica of the original Mk1 1963-vintage John Dickenson hang glider design. The replica has wooden leading edges and keel, a taped-together polythene sail and no top rigging. John witnessed the replica's first ground hops and it is hoped to ridge soar the glider later when conditions are suitable.
Brits dominate at Annecy
British pilots Brendan Reid, Jon Shaw and Tom Payne collected the lion's share of the prizes at the Annecy XC Challenge - the friendly XC league for pilots flying from Planfait and Col de la Forclaz.
Jon Shaw was second in the Sport class (DHV2-3 and above) with a total of 1,100km, while Tom Payne recorded the second-highest scoring flight of the year with a 105km FAI triangle and also won the tandem class.
Brendan Reid dominated the Fun class (DHV 2 and below), with the longest flight (a 111km out-and-return), second position overall and the longest open-distance flight, all completed during two weeks in early May.
Between them the three collected over 600 euros worth of prizes to the dismay of the local French pilots!
Brett's top-ten finish
Brett Janaway of xTc Paragliding finished 7th in the Slovenian XC League at his first attempt this year, despite entering with only five months of the 07/08 season to go.
Missing the deadline for his final (116km!) flight entry by 48 hours meant 7th place instead of 4th, but he has made an excellent start in the 08/09 season by scoring the first 100km flight of the season, propelling him into 1st place.
The 07/08 Slovenian XC League had 321 entrants from a total population of about 2 million. The 2008 UK XC League currently had 127 entries for a population of, er, 60 million? These Slovenians clearly know something we don't!
Downed paraglider false alarm
An emergency operation to find a paraglider in distress was called off near Whitby, North Yorks in September after the subject of the search turned out to be a paper lantern.
Police, fire crews, an SAR team, the coastguard and the RAF were all called in after a member of the public reported seeing a paraglider in difficulty land south of Whitby. After searching for nearly three hours, North Yorkshire Police found fresh ashes and the remains of a Chinese-style paper lantern in a hedgerow near Fylingthorpe.
Meanwhile in Norfolk a series of similar lanterns released from a party sparked a fortnight-long UFO panic. You couldn't make it up!
Another British success
Axis UK team pilot and Geneva resident Tom Payne finished 5th overall out of over 800 pilots in the French XC league, improving one place over his 2007 position and confirming his position in the French top ten for the second year running.
Over the season Tom made ten 100km+ flights throughout the French Alps, the best three being a 130km flat triangle from St Andre, a 126km FAI triangle from Les Saises, and a 180km out-and-return from St Marcel near Chambéry. He has also just completed the CCC Ultratrail (98km of off-road running with 5,600m of ascent) in under 20 hours, and hopes to compete in the Red Bull X-Alps in 2009.
Tom flies an Axis Mercury and is supported by Axis UK.
Seven flights to heaven
July 25th saw professional snowboard instructor and mountain bike guide Alex Rauter succeed in his attempt to climb seven summits in the Zugspitz area and descend by paraglider within 24 hours.
Alex set off at midnight and 17 hours and 40 minutes later reached his goal. In that time the 37-year-old Tyrolean had ascended 8,848 metres on foot. Alex started at the 2,202m Kohlbergspitze and ended with the 1,803m Almkopf. "The hardest part," he says, "was switching from hiking to flying. I didn't take much time for long breaks." Alex used a lightweight Nova Ibex for the attempt.
British pilot Robin Hamilton, flying an Aeriane Swift Light, set the first Class 2 300km triangle speed record at Big Spring, Texas early in August with a speed of 49.1km/h. On the same 302.5km flight he broke Marcus Hoffman-Guben's 2000 triangle distance record of 258.9km.
Also at Big Spring on the same day, American pilot Ben "BJ" Herring flew his Atos VX 379.8km to a declared goal to break Brian Glover's 2001 record of 354.6km. All these records are provisional and subject to the FAI homologation process. The flights were made during the Big Spring Internationals, eventually won by Australia's Kraig Coomber (Class 1, Litespeed RS) and Campbell Bowen (Class 5: Aeros Phantom).
Robin Hamilton already holds a total of seven Class 2 speed and distance records.
Mark Dann of Beyond Extreme and climber Simon Yates (Touching the Void) will be taking an expedition to Greenland next April to climb and fly new routes and mountains never achieved before.
"Essentially the mountains are Scottish in style," writes Simon, "but the terrain is heavily glaciated and they are up to 2,000m in height. Base camp is at 600m, so the climbs end up like doing the Ben each day." The plan is to approach the peaks on touring skis and get as high as possible before starting to climb.
"This is the Arctic. There are icebergs in all shapes and sizes, dramatic glaciers and an endless ice cap. And large whales, seals and walruses, musk oxen, reindeer and polar bears. It's the last unexplored frontier for paragliding and mountaineering."
For details of this once-in-a-lifetime experience go to www.beyondextreme.co.uk.
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.