British Hang Gliding & Paragliding Association

British Hang Gliding and Paragliding Association

BHPA Executive Council

The British Hang Gliding and Paragliding Association (BHPA) is a not for profit company limited by guarantee, and is the recognised governing body for hang gliding and paragliding in the UK. The Association is managed by an elected Executive Council.

Exec members serve for a maximum of three years before they must either retire or put themselves forward for re-election at an Annual General Meeting (AGM). Once approved, BHPA AGM minutes and BHPA Exec Minutes are published on this website.

Current Executive Council Members

Marc Asquith - Chairman (

Marc AsquithMarc Asquith is one of the founding members of the BHPA. By profession he is now a barrister, having had a mid-life crisis and a career change from retail management on the high street in the mid-1990s. He has served variously as BHPA PR Officer and Safety Officer, Insurance Officer and External Representation Officer. He is currently BHPA Chairman and pro tem is keeping an eye on the finances.

As BHPA External Representation Officer Mark has sat on the Royal Aero Club Council and served as its Chairman and later Vice-President. He has also served as a Trustee of the RAeC Trust and Flyability. In his spare time he is a County Councillor in Cheshire.

As an Air Cadet, having completed his PPL through a flying scholarship and a solo gliding course, he first started flying hang gliders in November 1977 at Swansea University. He qualified as a microlight instructor in the early 1980s working for Gerry Breen at Enstone Airfield. He competed in the (then) Hang Gliding League throughout the 1980s and managed on one occasion to be selected as a member of the British Hang Gliding Team.

In 1986 he started flying paragliders. In 1991, having been elected Chairman of the BHPA, he also started flying in parascending competitions, achieving a Team Bronze in the 1994 Nationals at Middle Wallop. He started flying powered hang gliders when they became legal and now most regularly flies his Doodlebug in Snowdonia. He also flies his Airwave Wave paraglider whenever weather and time allow.

Martin Baxter - Sites Officer (

Martin BaxterDales Club Chairman Martin Baxter didn't run fast enough, and found himself elected to the BHPA Exec as Sites Officer.

Martin is a former Army helicopter pilot with a background in Flight Safety. Prior to taking over as Chairman he was a Sites Officer and has some experience of the sensitivities involved in site negotiation and deconfliction; and how best to utilise the BHPA's, somewhat out of date, sites' database. His first job was to bring it up to date!

If you have any concerns, ideas or questions he'd be delighted to hear from you.

Bill Bell - Competitions Officer (

Bill Bell Bill has been flying for 25 years and is currently flying Hang gliders on the good days and light aircraft on non-XC days with his flying partner Sue. Currently a lapsed paraglider pilot because of lack of any obvious ability and because there are not enough good days to do both. He is a club coach and one-time Airwave dealer which gives him great respect for those earning a living in free flying.

Bills background is in broadcast TV operations and he has worked for a number of years as a self-employed Technical Director.

Ed Cunliffe - SPHG Representative (

Edward CunliffeEd was co-opted onto BHPA Executive council as 'Paramotor liaison' representative in 2011 and elected onto Exec in 2012. He has been flying for 13 years off and on, starting on flexwing microlights in 1996 then switching to paramotors in 1999 and more recently paragliders too.

Ed is a founder member of the BHPA registered Yorkshire Owls Paramotor Club in which he holds the Finance Officer post, and has recently been appointed as a club coach. He is also a new member of the Sir George Cayley Sailwing Club and is busy learning the intricacies of unpowered flight. An occasional competition pilot, Ed is also on the PPG Comps advisory panel.

In his non flying life Ed has a background in IT though he managed to escape the office, and hankering for the high life, switched to tower crane driving for three years. With little crane work around he has recently switched careers again and is rapidly becoming an amateur accountant as he starts to take over the financial side of the family business.

Paul Dancey - Publications & Web Site (

Paul DanceyPaul was first elected to the BHPA Executive Council in 1998, and as Director of Corporate Communications, is responsible for the day to day management of Skywings magazine and the BHPA web site, liaising closely with editorial and design staff, and outside contractors.

Paul has a lighting, sound and video engineering background, working primarily on theatre productions and exhibititions. He is now semi retired and runs a small web hosting and IT support business. Paul took up hang gliding in 1989, and in 1993 joined the Welsh Hang Gliding Centre where he worked for 5 years.

A past Chairman of the SE Wales Hang Gliding & Paragliding Club and the Welsh Sports Association, Paul is currently Secretary of the Welsh Free Flight Federation.

Martin Heywood - Vice Chairman & Insurance Officer (

Martin HeywoodMartin is the Vice Chairman of the Executive council. He also looks after the BHPA's aviation insurance contract, which provides indemnity cover to each and every member of the Association. This is a significant responsibility given that over half of the Association's expenditure goes on this important area.

Martin regards himself as a "newbie" to the sport having only seriously taken it up in 1999. He has served on Exec for the past sixteen years, but has has now retired from active flying due to a knee problem.

Outside BHPA business, Martin is a full-time solicitor based in Peterborough working in the healthcare sector with particular interest in litigation and inquest handling.

Angus Langford - Treasurer & Company Secretary (

Angus is a recently retired chartered accountant and has held a number of finance director roles in the past. He's been interested in flying all his life and took up paragliding 18 years ago. He took early retirement to spend more time flying both in the UK and abroad.

He has been treasurer of the BHPA for the past 11 years, during which time he's worked to keep costs and subscriptions as low as they can be consistent with maintaining the operational integrity and financial stability of the association.

Mark Meadows (

Mark MeadowsMark started flying paragliders in 2006 and after chasing the weather around the UK for a few years now mostly enjoys the convenience of paramotors. He still enjoys the occasional holiday abroad with the paraglider in real mountains with reliable conditions.

Mark is a very active member of the UK paramotor community, a club coach and he has also organised holidays abroad for groups of pilots and their paramotors along with many fly-ins and social gatherings.

He is also responsible for organising the festival you can fly at, Parafest, which is the biggest pilot gathering in the UK, and the only trade show for the sports in the country.

For the past 20 years Mark has been a self employed Gas Safe registered heating engineer keeping the nation warm, installing, servicing and repairing boilers. Flying now consumes a huge part of his life. By his own admission the day job often takes second place when the weather is on.

Angus Pinkerton - FSC Chairman (

Angus PinkertonAngus is an elected member of the BHPA Executive Council and is the Chairman of the Flying and Safety Committee. He has held these posts for what sometimes seems like forever, and before amalgamation with the BAPC he was Chairman of the BHPA Training Committee.

He has a degree in Aeronautical Engineering and worked for a while with a small Scottish hang glider manufacturer, as well as being a part-time Instructor. In 1979 he made his first hang glider flight, and has been a member of the Lanarkshire and Lothian Soaring Club since then. He has flown throughout the UK and Europe and in many competitions at home and abroad, including the World Championships at Fiesch, Switzerland, in 1989.

Angus was founder Chairman of the International Hang Glider Standards Organisation, and for the last ten years has been the Co-ordinator of the CEN Paraglider Standards Working Group, steering the creation of the CEN paraglider Flight Test and Load Test standards.

Fitting all this around his paid employment as a computer information security consultant has finally got too much, and he will be retiring (early!) from work in 2007. He lives in Paisley with his exceptionally tolerant wife Norma and their two sons, who are both now studying at Glasgow University. Angus was awarded the FAI Tissandier Diploma in 1994.

Adrian Thomas - CIVL delegate (

Adrian Thomas

John Welch - School's Liaison (

John WelchJohn Welch is the school Liaison on the executive council. As well as working for the general membership he represents the interests of schools. As the proprietor of Flight Culture in Dorset he's well acquainted with the problems faced by schools and instructors. John is also an instructor examiner which allows him to visit many other schools, keeping him current with general trends.

John has a degree in mechanical engineering, is a diving instructor and first aid instructor. He spent 10 years living in the French Alps where he owned a night club. He started paragliding in 1986 while living in the Alps and was hooked from the start.