e-News January 2012
Certification houses quit EN D testing
Air Turquoise, European Academy, Aerotest and the DHV have all agreed to a temporary stop on the testing of top-end EN D paragliders. This move follows an accident on November 25th involving Alain Zoller of Air Turquoise, who was knocked unconscious in a heavy landing in Lake Geneva after losing control of a glider under test. Zoller has been testing paragliders for more than 20 years and is reported to have not had to deploy an emergency parachute since the 1990s… until November when he had two separate incidents, both involving two-line gliders submitted for EN D certification.
On December 2nd Air Turquoise released a statement saying, "We have come to the conclusion that we will not certify high-end performance gliders in the frame of EN standard. This kind of glider doesn‘t belong in the EN philosophy." This refusal to do further tests has been supported by the other test houses. Although a number of two-line gliders have been submitted for EN certification, and some are said to have passed the flight tests, none has yet achieved certification. With the PWC Superfinal in the New Year heralding the start of the southern hemisphere competition season, the paragliding competition world is in a state of confusion.
A crisis meeting in December between the PMA and the testing houses had a very detailed interim report from the CIVL Task Force to consider. This contained options including the removal of the ban on competition class gliders, the redefinition of Serial Class and its inclusion in Category 1 events, and the revival of an EN-overseen form of self-certification for competition gliders. The development of marketable two-line gliders is at present stalled and only the reliable option for competition remains the EN D certificated Serial Class glider. The CIVL plenary meeting takes place in Taiwan in February.
XC development day
A joint initiative between the Cumbria and Dales clubs has resulted in an inaugural XC Development Day run by Pat Dower on Saturday February 18th.
It‘s aimed at budding or improving XC pilots of all levels. The cost for the day is £30 per pilot and numbers may be limited. Pat Dower is of course a very accomplished flier with many years of XC and competition flying behind him and excellent communication skills.
Details of the venue, timings and course programme are at www.dhpc.org.uk. To book a place contact organiser Ed Cleasby at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 07808 394895.
Great retrieves No 5
Dales XC hounds will be aware that the upper reaches of Nidderdale can be something of a sink hole. The area lies about 30km downwind of Wether Fell and has to be negotiated in order to enter the Vale of York and the route to the east coast.
One day last summer, half a dozen Dales pilots sunk out in this dead-end valley and found themselves scattered around the village of Lofthouse. They congregated at the pub, in accordance with Rule 1 of the XC Pilot‘s Handbook, only to discover that it was closed! Without a mobile phone signal and the next bus not due for two days, they drew lots for the inevitable walk and hitch-hike to civilisation. However before this plan could be put into action, a bloke trimming ivy from the windows of the pub pointed out that the school bus would be along shortly and that the driver might be able to help.
So it was that Martin Baxter found himself hanging around outside the village school, trying for all he was worth to look like any other parent. Not quite fitting in with the yummy mummies, he was greatly relieved when the bus turned up. The driver, very sensibly, told the pilots to to wait until she had dropped the kids off further up the valley. True to her word, she returned 15 minutes later. For the bargain price of one Yorkshire pound the retitled Dales Retrieve Bus took them all back to the relative civilisation of Pateley Bridge: tea shops, through roads and mobile phone coverage! "The retrieve," says Martin, "is all part of the adventure".
Airways demo weekend
A New Products Weekend will take place at Airways‘ Darley Moor base in Derbyshire on the weekend of March 24th - 25th. All the major UK importers and distributors will be there: paragliders and equipment from Ozone, Nova, Gin, Niviuk, Skywalk, Advance, Firebird, UP and Dudek; hang gliders and gear from Icaro, Avian, Atos, Wills Wing, Moyes, Aeros, Airborne, Aeriane and Seedwings; plus Easy Riser and Dragonfly microlights.
Equipment brands will include Woody Valley, Sup‘Air, Rotor, Crispi, Fly Products, Bailey and Lazer, and instrumentation from Aircotec, Brauniger, Flymaster and Flytec. Winch, aerotow or hill demo flights with all of these can be booked directly with Airways.
To book go to www.airways-airsports.com and click the Demo button. There will be free camping on the airfield and an evening barbecue in their new hangars.
A reminder that the Annual General Meeting of the BHPA will be held on Saturday March 3rd at the Belfry Hotel, Nottingham, starting at 11am. The Belfry is adjacent to Junction 26 of the M1.
You will be able to quiz Exec members on their record and put forward ideas for the future direction of the Association. Topics for discussion at the members‘ forum, held directly after the AGM, should be notified to the BHPA Chairman by February 1st. The British Gliding Association AGM will take place at the same location on the same date. This will include trade stands and the BGA‘s fabled gliding simulator.
Kirsty gets BWPA gong
The British Women Pilots Association has awarded its O. P. Jones cup to British paraglider pilot Kirsty Cameron in recognition of her win at the first Women‘s Open at Ager in 2010 and her Bronze medal at the Piedrahita World Championships last year.
The O. P. Jones Cup is awarded for achievements or special contributions to the sports of gliding, hang gliding or paragliding.
Didn‘t receive the ideal Christmas gift ... then book now for the SHPF Repack on Saturday 4th February 2012 at the Edinburgh International Climbing Arena at Ratho and to which all pilots (and family) are cordially invited.
Along with the World class dynamic reserve parachute deployments and repacks there will also be the workshops ....
Steve Nash and Richard Bungay: Team GB in the most recent Red Bull X-Alps will be coming along with their insightful stories and images of their career from X-Scotia to X-Alps. Gordie Oliver: The first BHPA Speed Wing Instructor to be will be presenting a workshop on speed wings. Triantafyllos Gkikopoulos - Advance XC Serial Team member - has confirmed his XC flying workshop, and Brendan Reid - Highest placed Scot at the British Open flying his Ozone R10, will be talking and showing everyone around his BB for us all to learn more, see, touch and feel a two liner.
Other family members may wish to use some or all of the other facilities available at this venue - details of which can be found at www.eica-ratho.com.
The cost is £30 plus £5 for the X-Alps talk - and payment details can be found on the SHPF webpage - www.shpf.co.uk/shpf-Ratho-Repack.php.
For those of you travelling from further afield then there are also some beds reserved at - www.edinburghbackpackers.com/hostel/directions.shtml right in the centre of town that might still be available for £28 pppn (Let the Social side of the event begin!).