January 2012 e-news update - from the Skywings Team
EN paraglider classes and pilot skills
The BHPA table relating EN/LTF glider certification classes to the appropriate pilot skill levels required to fly them safely is now available for ready access on this website.
The table builds on the EN certification scheme‘s own description of the sort of pilot level required for each certification class, and adds a rough guide to the level of experience and currency levels that are appropriate. The table was produced to draw pilots‘ attention to the degree of flying experience, and the amount of regular flying, required to be able to fly any paraglider safely within their limitations.
This is of particular use to those pilots who may be tempted to trade up to a higher level of certification for their next glider. It might surprise some to realise that the appropriate skill/experience set for an EN C wing, for example, includes being very current, being familiar with active flying and SIV techniques, and understanding the consequences of flying a glider with limited passive safety.
Pilots should note however that certification classes are becoming increasingly wide, and also that the new breed of EN D gliders have almost nothing in common with earlier EN D types. If you are in any doubt at all about the suitability of any glider, consult an instructor or a highly-experienced coach.
Read and download the entire document at www.bhpa.co.uk/pdf/En966_summary.pdf or visit the Safety Information area on our website.
Top gun for hire
Longtime coach and championship pilot Pat Dower is expanding his range of paraglider pilot-development training. Over the winter he will lead a number of ground-based training days for people wanting to improve their XC flying, with content negotiated with the host club to match the group‘s need.
The first one, at the Devon and Somerset Condors this month, has completely sold out. In the flying season Pat will be running UK-based XC coaching and flying development for groups of pilots. Pilots will be able to benefit from a range of expert ground-based coaching, even if rained off or blown out. "Running these in the UK," says Pat, "means pilots can have a high-quality experience at affordable cost." A limited number of intensive pilot-development weeks abroad are also planned, the first one based near Annecy. "These are the jewel in the crown," Pat says, "for pilots wanting to focus intensively on building their skills, overcoming barriers and moving to a new level in their flying. Individual coaching will help pilots meet their particular goals."
In addition, pilots wanting personal coaching can arrange a one-to-one or small-group pilot development day in the UK, designed around their own training programme. "By combining my teaching experience in education and my leadership coaching with over ten years of coaching in flying, I can provide targeted development for pilots of all levels. The key to a pilot‘s development is helping them to work on the right thing at the right time - and in the right way," he says.
Pilots will need to be at least CP rated; details, and Pat‘s blog and other useful resources, are at www.patdower.co.uk.
Testing and certification of the new EN D wings
As previously reported, testing of EN D gliders was briefly suspended in November following an accident involving Alain Zoller at Air Turquoise/Para Test while testing a candidate EN D glider. The opinion put forward by Air Turquoise and the SHV was that the current crop of EN D gliders was becoming too dangerous to test. After consideration at the Paraglider Manufacturers Association (PMA) meeting on December 9th it was agreed that the testing of EN D gliders would recommence, citing that the testing house‘s role was to test gliders, not to decide which gliders may or not be tested. However a testing house may still refuse to test a glider if the manufacturer‘s own test flight videos or live demo flights are not satisfactory.
One of the big issues arising was the very tight tolerances in the EN schedule for the 75% collapse test for these wings. This will be addressed in the new EN regime for 2012, which will be updated to make it closer to the wider tolerances in folding angle and collapse percentages permitted in the LTF (DHV) tests.
A second issue was the use of folding lines. These are additional lines which are not part of the canopy as it is sold, but are connected to extra tabs to allow the test pilot to induce an exact 75% collapse at the leading edge that does not exceed 50% at the trailing edge, as specified by the tighter EN tolerances.
An interim consensus has been reached that collapse lines will not be used at all in the testing of EN A and B gliders, and only used on C and D gliders if tests at the testing house first show that the correct collapse can‘t be obtained without them. If fitted they must have the same layout as the A lines. Given the wider tolerances currently specified by LTF for collapse folding, and the imminent changes to the EN standard, it is believed in some quarters that the need for collapse lines will be much reduced. Where they are used, the tabs will now be fitted to production canopies so that collapse lines can be reinstated for the purposes of pilots undergoing SIV training.
The changes in 2012 will harmonise EN and LTF tests, making the testing to both that most manufacturers do much easier. The PMA is trying to find out whether it is possible to switch over to the new EN test regime ahead of schedule. The advantage of all this for former Open Class competition pilots is that they will be getting gliders with greater passive safety and only minor limitations (lower top speed). The downside is that Serial Class pilots will have to realise that the new competition-oriented EN D gliders will be a world apart from the old, familiar EN D class.
Lakes mountain flying/XC theory
Chris Scammell is running another mountain/XC flying theory course over the weekend of March 10th and 11th near Keswick in Cumbria.
The course covers all the essential theory necessary for successful mountain XC flights in the UK. The course, suitable for novice and expert alike, covers all aspects of UK mountain flying from the basics of mountain flying safety to the complexities of sea-breeze fronts in mountainous areas.
The cost is £60 for the weekend. Details are at www.mountainparagliding.co.uk.
TVHGC Big Fat Repack
The Thames Valley Club‘s famed Big Fat Repack runs on Sunday April 1st at the Rivermead Leisure Complex, Reading.
BHPA qualified packers will be on hand with help and advice, and will give presentations on how to deploy and repack your ‘chute. A zip slide will allow practice deployments. First-aid lectures have again been arranged and will cover calling the emergency services, administering basic first aid and dealing with fractures, back and head injuries.
The cost is £26.50, less than the cost of a commercial repack. Book online or download a booking form at www.tvhgc.co.uk/bfr.
A reminder that the Annual General Meeting of the BHPA will be held on Saturday March 3rd at the Belfry Hotel, Nottingham, NG8 6PY, 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.
2012 Royal Aero Club Trust Bursaries
- Aged between 16 years and 21 years?
- Got at least a basic air sport qualification?
- Want to advance your air sport qualifications but lack the funds?
- Would £1,000 help you realise your air sport ambitions?
The Royal Aero Club Trust has announced its bursary scheme for young people for the 2012 season. The bursaries include The President’s Scholarships (2 bursaries each worth up to £750), the Peter Cruddas Foundation Scholarship worth up to £1,000, the Breitling Bursary also worth up to £750, and the Bramson Bursary which is one of a number of additional bursaries worth up to £500 each to anyone between 16 and 21 years of age wishing to progress their interest in either air sports or aviation. The closing date for applications is 31 March 2012.
The Royal Aero Club Trust has been offering bursaries for twelve years and a wide range of grants have been awarded. Activities available in the programme include gliding, ballooning, paragliding, hang gliding, parachuting, flying microlights, motor gliders, light aircraft and helicopters, and building and flying model aircraft. Bursaries are also available for Personal Computer or Flight Simulator pilots wishing to have their first experience of an air sport.
Applicants must be UK citizens, resident in the UK, and training and flying can only be conducted at Clubs, Associations or training establishments in the UK. Applications, which must arrive at the Trust by 31 March 2012, are to be submitted through a Sponsoring Organisation, Club or Association. In our sport I believe this traditionally means the BHPA.
Full details, rules and an application form are available on the Royal Aero Club Trust web site, www.royalaeroclubtrust.org. The Trust is very grateful to its sponsors who generously provide the funds for bursaries. If you, or your organisation, would like to assist young people in this way by becoming a Trust sponsor, please make contact with the Trust or click on "Donations" on the Trust website, www.royalaeroclubtrust.org.
This e-newsletter is traditionally made up of news items published in Skywings, and a few items I've received directly. In the past I've tried to keep the publication date of this e-newsletter roughly in sync with that of the appropriate issue of Skywings magazine. The downside of this approach is that it can unfortunately result in delays when reporting fast moving events.
This year I have decided to change that arrangement, and will now be publishing our e-newsletter ahead of the relevant issue of Skywings. Hence the publication of a second e-newsletter this month containing a number of news items that are due to appear in the February issue of Skywings.