British Hang Gliding & Paragliding Association

British Hang Gliding and Paragliding Association

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Skywings News - all non archived years

Farewell Jennie … and thanks!

Jennie Burdett, who retired on the 28 September 2018

On Friday September 28th Jennie Burdett, BAPC administrator since 1980 and BHPA administrator from 1992 - 2015, finally put aside her pencils, shorthand pad, keyboard, phone, database, and extensive knowledge of how the Association works to fully enjoy her retirement - since 2015 she had been working part-time at the Association's Leicester office.

Jennie began work as the BAPC's sole secretary, then based in a tiny office below a massage parlour, in 1980. As the BAPC acquired more staff it moved to larger premises in Talbot Lane, Leicester, and moved again to the Old Schoolhouse in 1991; both moves were overseen by Jennie.

The BHGA moved into Old Schoolhouse in 1992, shortly before the formal amalgamation of the two Associations. Jennie also supervised the most recent - and final! - move to the Association's new, jointly-owned premises at Merus Court in 2010.

Throughout this time she managed to keep abreast of every development and to keep the administration of a rapidly-growing organisation running smoothly. Always on top of things, always quietly efficient, often working in the evening and at weekends, Jennie was able to keep the show on the road through thick and thin.

Jennie's years at the helm never seemed to weary her and gained her many lifelong friends. Her quiet competence will be sorely missed. Her leaving was marked by an informal lunch attended by BHPA staffers and Chairman Marc Asquith, and by Andrew Wakelin - who first spotted her talents 38 years ago! 

Posted: 7 November 2018
By: Paul Dancey

RAeS design conference

RAeS Conference 2018This year's annual Royal Aeronautical Society Design Conference focuses on the lighter end of the GA world.

A fascinating programme of talks includes Dr Bill Brooks outlining the design and development
 of his recumbent/SSDR Flycycle; instructor Oliver Gibbs discussing wingsuit flying and technology; Mike Whitaker talking about his series of microlight designs;Norman Wijker of Samad Aerospace on developing a VTOL hybrid electric biz-jet; Guy Grattan on the challenges of electric vs. IC-engine power; and Ian Currer's presentation on foot-launched flight.

Martyn Ingleton, Chief Mechanical Engineer at BAE Systems, will also introduce his scaled-down WW2 Hurricane SSDR project. The conference will also examine the winning submissions in the RAeS's annual design competition; there will be panel discussions and plenty of opportunities for networking too. The event aims to examine the current resurgence of grassroots aviation, driven in part by new materials and electronics, and where it might lead. It takes place at Hamilton Place in London W1 on November 19th.

Full information and booking details are available on the Royal Aeronautical Society website.

Posted: 4 October 2018
By: Joe Schofield

Hang gliding - 55 years!

55th anniversary of the first successful flight of the modern hang gliderThe 55th anniversary of the first successful flight of the modern hang glider was celebrated on September 8th at Grafton, New South Wales.

An FAI Hang Gliding and Paragliding Diploma was presented to Pat Crowe, driver of the boat that first towed John Dickenson's remarkable design aloft back in 1963. At Grafton's old water-ski club, scene of the original flight, a small group of pilots flew vintage gliders including an original Dickenson Ski-Plane.

John Dickenson himself was scheduled to appear as special guest. Media photographs of the first successful flight circulated in October 1963. With John's Ski-Plane the leading edges, keel, cross-boom and triangular A-frame in aluminium tube, the control by means of weight shift via a pendular harness, and the ability to be folded down and transported on top of a car, all came together to form the template from which pretty much all subsequent hang gliders are descended.

John Dickenson was awarded the FAI Gold Medal in 2012; he had been awarded an FAI Diploma in 2007 and the same honour was conferred on the Ski-Plane's inaugural pilot Rod Fuller in 2012.

Posted: 4 October 2018
By: Joe Schofield

Stonehenge paramotor pilot fined

In August a Wiltshire paramotor pilot was fined £600 and ordered to pay court costs of £400 and a victim surcharge of £60 for flying low over Stonehenge and a nearby campsite.

Timothy Dunham, 26, of nearby Mere, was prosecuted by the CAA on two charges of contravening the Rules of the Air, specifically the 500ft rule and infringing the Larkhill Danger Area which covers the site. The Court heard that there were 176 visitors at the site when Dunham's Union Flag canopy circled the ancient monument two or three times, getting lower each time.

The Police apprehended him in a nearby field. Dunham described himself as an experienced paramotor pilot, but also told the Court, 'I was not aware I was doing anything in infringement of the law on the day … if I'd known what I was doing was wrong I wouldn't have done it'.

Posted: 4 October 2018
By: Joe Schofield

RAeC Trust bursaries

The Royal Aero Club Trust has announced the start of the 2019 bursary awards scheme for young persons.

The Trust awarded 50 bursaries 2017 and 48 this year 2018. Young people from paragliding hang gliding and paramotoring, as well as those from gliding, ballooning, parachuting, light aircraft and microlight flying, and model aircraft fliers can benefit from bursary funds of up to £1,000 to develop their proficiency. Applicants need to be aged between 14 and 21, or up to 24 for follow-on bursaries.

Full details of the rules of the scheme and application forms can be found on the Royal Aero Club Trust website. Applications must be submitted through a sponsoring organisation (eg the BHPA).

Posted: 4 October 2018
By: Joe Schofield

Acro Jack

Acro Jack - Jack PimblettHome-grown British star and BAPA team pilot Jack Pimblett recently finished 11th against the world's best acro pilots at Italy's King of Brenta event at Molvino - Round 2 of the FAI Acro World Tour. This is a huge achievement for British paragliding as we have traditionally only competed on the world stage in XC and accuracy.

Jack's result is the first instance of a British pilot competing in an FAI acro comp. At Molvino it was France's Théo de Blic who impressed the judges the most, beating Chile's Victor Carrera and fellow Frenchman François Ragolski.

At 19 Jack is the UK's foremost acro pilot. He began to fly with his father at the age of 3, flew solo at 15, and in the last 30 months has made progress that would take most pilots five years. His achievements result from a near-obsessive passion for flying and training at every opportunity.

Posted: 4 September 2018
By: Joe Schofield

Alex and the 6 Peaks

Alex and the 6 PeaksMore details on Alex Colbeck's terrific self-imposed 6 Peak Challenge in June. Alex achieved the 'impossible' in 22 hours and 45 minutes. He was supported by his dad, Andy Colbeck, and then by his friend Richard Pullan - that's both driving andcooking!

Alex - pictured here at the summit of Ben Nevis, his final climb - raised over £2000 for for the British Tinnitus Association and Yorkshire Air Ambulance. For more info, Alex's tracklog and a fascinating local radio interview, and to donate, please visit the Six Peaks website.

The 6 Peak Challenge represents 15,000ft and 17 miles of climbing that has never been done before. It has now. Further adventurers - form an orderly queue!

Posted: 4 September 2018
By: Joe Schofield

Alard Hufner wins Icarus Trophy

Alard Hufner wins 2018 Icarus TrophyIn late July top South African climber Alard Hufner won the Icarus Trophy - world's longest distance paramotor race - beating 26 other contestants over a 1,000-mile route.

The race started just north of Johannesburg on the 25th, finishing three days later near Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe. Pilots battled mountain ranges and fierce weather systems to complete the course; to celebrate all contestants reaching the finish in one piece pilots were able to make a historic fly-by of the spectacular Falls.

The organisers also run a series of shorter two-day races, known as the X-series, in the US, Australia, the UK and South Africa, this last also having been won by Alard back in March.

Next year the Icarus Trophy will head to Brazil; to get involved contact the organisers on the Icarus Trophy website. Awe-inspiring footage of the 2018 Trophy is available at

Posted: 21 August 2018
By: Joe Schofield

Skywings news last updated: 15 January 2019 at 01:40:52 PM

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