A round-up of recent news items from the Skywings Team
Karen Skinner: three new paramotor records
British paramotor pilot Karen Skinner set three new world records at the recent Flypa Festival in Teneriffe. On May 1st she beat the women‘s altitude record of 4,030m and set a new 3,000m time-to-climb record of 29 minutes on her PAP/Advance Epsilon 6 outfit.
The following day she set a 15/25km speed record of 54km/h. Two weeks later Karen won the final task at the Spanish paramotor nationals at Tomelloso to take sixth place overall. The event was won by Juanjo Garcia.
Access rules at Annecy‘s Col de la Forclaz launch have changed. The barrier across the road remains, but an electronic key can be obtained from the Town Hall in Doussard (Monday to Friday). A 50 euro deposit is required.
Until recently the card has been free for hang glider pilots whereas paraglider pilots have to pay 35 euros per day per vehicle. However some operators have been pretending to be hang glider pilots to get free access and the system has had to be changed. Now all pilots are charged 35 euros a day - particularly punitive on the lone hangie as the local navette cannot carry hang gliders.
However we are told that if you contact M. Chandelier at the Town Hall at Montmin (the authority which controls site access ) two weeks in advance, he will notify the Town Hall in Doussard and hang glider pilots will be issued with a free electronic key on arrival for your use. You must show proof that you are a hang glider pilot and a member of a club and/or an association. The barrier is in use during busy periods and throughout the French summer holidays. There has been some friction over the recent changes; please treat the Montmin and Doussard Mairie staff with restraint and respect.
Contact details are: Mairie de Montmin, SIVW HL, Chef Lieu, 74210 Montmin, France. You can telephone on 0033 (0)450607105 but you must be able and prepared to speak French. The office is not online. Details (in French) are at http://federation.ffvl.fr/alerte/alerte-annecy. Any changes - and the situation is likely to change – will be promulgated there. We are indebted to BHPA member Paul Dixon for this information.
Skywings photographer on show
Richard Sheppard, accomplished free flight photographer and regular contributor to Skywings, has an exhibition of his images running at the Link Gallery at Cheltenham General Hospital, starting in July and finishing at the end of October.
It‘s called "Air" and covers free flying and other connected things: general aviation, nature, weather and such. Prints are for sale with 20% going to Arts in Trust. Details are at www.gloshospitals.nhs.uk/content/arts/.
Judith Mole has expanded her library of free-flight podcasts, available for downloading or listening online at www.judithmole.net/blog/?page_id=123. Recent additions include Mental Training (two-time PWC champion Anja Kroll), Coaching (Lanarkshire and Lothian Chief Coach Dave Thomson), Alpine Flying (Tom Payne) and SIV and Pilotage (Pat Dower).
Earlier themes include include XC Tips (Kai Coleman), Flying in Competitions (Nicky Moss), and CP - What Next? (Mark Dann). The quality of these downloads is steadily improving and more are planned.
Dickenson replica soars!
On the afternoon of Saturday March 28th the John Dickenson replica hang glider, designed in 1963 and built in 2008, finally soared at Sand Point, Weston-Super-Mare.
Builder and pilot Jason Board reported that the replica flew very well with good pitch response. Jason had two soaring flights of between two and three minutes each in winds of 23 - 25 mph with strong gusts coming through. He was able to hover, move up and down the small coastal ridge and even top land. The glider was very controllable and was able to reverse back up the hill in the strong conditions.
However whilst fixing a video camera to the frame for a third soaring flight the sail flogged so much in the gusts that a seam on the trailing edge started to part and further flying was abandoned. Jason and Mark Woodhams, who has overseen the replica rebuild with input from John Dickenson himself, decided that having proved what they set out to do they should retire the glider.
It will now join the other hang gliders in Jason‘s British Hang Gliding Museum. The replica originally flew in September last year (see October 08 and January 09 Skywings). "I think it is quite astonishing that the very first modern hang glider has now been proved capable of soaring flight as well as simple hill launching," said Mark afterwards. "The fact that John Dickenson himself came over to see the first flight tests and helped with refitting the sail to the frame makes the machine even more historically relevant."
Sean Potts, former BHPA and now French paragliding instructor, won the FFVL-organised Vol et Ski challenge at Chamonix in March.
The challenge, consisting of 11 two-day events held in the French, Swiss, and Italian Alps and the Pyrenees, is a sort of paragliding accuracy event in which the use of skis allows for around ten varied and dynamic spot landings per descent.
Sean won the tandem category and was runner-up in the solo category in 2008. He will be helping the local club organise the third Chamonix Vol et Ski competition in January 2010.
For more information contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org, URL: www.fly-chamonix.com.
The three-day Blorenge Party and Fly-in Bank Holiday event returns to Pen-y-Worlod Farm, Abergavenny on August 29th - 31st and will be one of this summer‘s must-attend events. <
The Bash will share the venue and nearby flying sites with the SE Wales round of the BPCup, guaranteeing attendance by pilots from all over the country. There will be trade stands with major brands available for demo flights, camping, a free minibus service, bar and catering.
The venue covers some 20 acres next to the river Usk and will include a large marquee/beer tent and live music from local bands. The Blorenge Cup will be awarded for the longest flight of the weekend.
Entry costs £20 each or £30 for a pilot and partner if tickets are purchased before May 31st. Tickets purchased between June 1st - July 31st will cost £30 each (or £40 including a partner), and £45/£55 after July 31st. Accompanied children under 16 are free.
For further information and online booking go to www.sewhgpgc.co.uk/blorenge9.php.