A round-up of recent news items from the Skywings Team
On Saturday 9th August there was a mid air collision between two paraglider pilots at the BCC on Long Mynd. As a result, Stephen Allen from SE Wales Club and Dennis Wray from the Dales club impacted the ground hard. First aiders attended, and the air ambulance was called.
Both pilots received emergency attention at the scene, and were then taken away. Sadly Steve Allen passed away on arrival at hospital.
Dennis Wray is in intensive care, recovering from emergency surgery, and is said to be "stable and comfortable".
There will be a full investigation into this tragic accident, but for the moment our thoughts must be with Steve and Dennis's family and friends.
CAA decision on Mode S
On July 1st the Civil Aviation Authority published its final decision on the second phase of expansion in the use of Mode S transponders in UK airspace. Following extensive consultation on a variety of proposals, the CAA has decided to focus on the busiest and most complex areas of airspace for the expansion of Mode S use.
The CAA intends to introduce regulation to require all aircraft (except gliders) flying within Class A to C controlled airspace to carry and operate a Mode S transponder with effect from October 1st 2009. For gliders read also hang gliders and paragliders.
The Mode S transponder carriage regulations will also be extended to include gliders with effect from April 6th 2012. Amendments to the regulations will bring Self-Launching Motor Gliders into line with the regulations for all other gliders. There will still be an option for Air Traffic Control to allow non-transponder equipped flights into the airspace, providing safety and efficiency levels can be assured.
So far, so good. There has been no mention of further tightening of the rules to include all GA aircraft, wider areas of airspace or Transponder Mandatory Zones. Yet. This is not the end of the Mode S story.
The full CAA decision and further background material is available at www.caa.co.uk/modes. A fact sheet on Mode S is also available at www.caa.co.uk/docs/1/Mode%20S%20decision%20-%20In%20Focus.pdf.
Toby Colombé sets new paragliding World Record
On 26th July, British Pilot Toby Colombé of Passion Paragliding set a new out and return tandem world record! Toby launched from Sorica in Slovenia at just after 10am and struggled with very light thermals for the first couple of hours.
Shortly after midday he crossed into Italy, and then flew deep into the Julian Alps before returning to Slovenia in the late afternoon. It took Toby just over 7 hours to complete a 168km out and return flight, extending by 9km the previous world record set two years ago by local hot shot Tomaz Erzen.
Toby was flying a Gradient Bigolden XC for the first time: not bad for a test flight! Toby would like to thank Cefn Hoile "for being the perfect passenger as well as exhibiting extraordinary bladder control"; and Brett Janaway of xTc Paragliding for providing much needed encouragement and logistical support,.. oh, and for allowing Toby to test fly his wing!
Full details of this remarkable flight are available at www.passionparagliding.com.
Brits 4th at Worlds
Great Britain claimed a creditable 4th position at the fifth FAI Paragliding Accuracy World Championships in Croatia over the 21st to 25th June. Uncharacteristic wet weather reduced the competition from a maximum 12 round to a five round event. Competitors flew from a 1,000 feet tall hill with landing in a small valley below with the objective of landing as close as possible to a 3cm disc at the centre of a target area. Target approaches were not easy as pilots had to cope with both sinky and bouyant conditions in the valley landing field.
Brits Andy Shaw (5th) and Andy Webster (7th) flew very well to achieve top ten placings, with Don Bodill, Nick Simmons and Tony Blacker all making valuable contributions to the Great Britain score. China took the first two individual places with a Czech pilot taking third. Fierce competition from the Czech Republic and Serbia did not materialise, however, favourites Slovenia, an unknown team from China and an improved Bulgarian team pushed Great Britain into fourth place. Teams consisted of a maximum number of five male pilots and two female pilots and Great Britain were at a disadvantage of being unable to field any female pilots. Hopefully there will be British female pilots at the European Championships in Turkey (2010) and next World Championships in Czech Republic (2011).
The Great Britain team would like to thank the BHPA for funding towards the championships. Full results and photos are available on www.pgworlds-croatia.com.
Best glide ever?
Ozone say their test and design team has built a wing with the highest glide ratio of any usable wing in the history of paragliding. Ozone fluid dynamics boffin Luc Armant claims that the Baby HPP has a glide of 11.7:1, almost two points better than the highest-performing Open class wings, and a top peed of 70km/h.
The Baby HPP is not for sale, but the Ozone team say the project is not over yet. Its findings are likely to trickle down to the rest of the Ozone range and may result in an Open-class wing that will outdo the cutting-edge Mantra R09.
Congratulations to Captain Steve Penfold REME, who recently gained the FAI Gold badge for hang gliding with a 100km, five-hour flight, plus height gains of over 2,000m, on an Airborne C4.
And Brett Janaway has gained two FAI Diamond badges for paragliding distance and duration.
Detail of the newly-revised FAI badges can be seen at www.fai.org. Work is under way to integrate such awards into the hang gliding and paragliding XC leagues, both to simplify applications and to encourage all pilots to follow Steve and Brett‘s example and improve their flying performances.
The BHPA AGM will be held this year at the National Watersports Centre, Holme Pierrepont, Nottingham, on Saturday December 5th.
The Sport and Leisure Aviation Show continues at the NEC on November 28th - 29th; this year the BHPA will have no direct involvement in the show.