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British Hang Gliding & Paragliding Association

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BHPA OFFICE CLOSURE

Due to the current coronavirus pandemic the BHPA's Leicester office is closed until further notice.

The BHPA staff team are working from home and can be contacted by e-mail at the usual addresses.

The team can be also contacted by phone at the usual number but e-mail is preferred for routine enquiries.

These changes will remain in place for the foreseeable future; any alteration to these arrangements will be posted here.

Posted: 24 March 2020
By: Joe Schofield


BHPA online shop closed

With the BHPA office now closed, and staff working from home, it will no longer be possible to despatch anything ordered through our online shop.

We have therefore reluctantly decided to close our shop until further notice.

Posted: 24 March 2020
By: Paul Dancey


BHPA statement – Coronavirus (COVID-19)

This advice is being written on 24 March 2020. Over the previous week the BHPA has sought to preserve the ability to fly of those pilots who could safely and sensibly do so whilst remaining within the Government guidelines.

The Prime Minister's statement at 20.30 last night has made it clear that we are essentially in lock down. Our efforts to keep the door ajar for a few pilots have therefore come to an end. There is no way that BHPA Exec. can support the concept that any travel in order to go flying is in any way necessary.

Many clubs have closed their sites and we require members to abide by these closures. The BHPA centrally has always maintained that the clubs know what is best in their locality, and this is perhaps the most important time for us to abide by that belief. Please follow the Government guidelines and stay at home.

The BHPA Office is now closed and those staff who can work from home are doing so. The Association itself is like many of our hang gliding and paragliding small enterprises, entirely reliant for its existence on people participating in our sports. There will be difficult times ahead. We will be supporting our staff in the same way as the other SMEs by accessing any Government schemes open to us. Should you wish to contact the office, the phones are being manned remotely and the staff have remote access to our database and emails.

Marc Asquith, BHPA Chairman, March 24th 2020

Posted: 24 March 2020
By: Paul Dancey


BHPA statement - Coronavirus (COVID-19)

As I wrote in our statement published just 5 days ago on 18 March 2020, the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic presents us with a fast-moving situation.

I am therefore issuing this update on our previous advice. This should be regarded as being in addition to the previous advice and not in substitution of it.

Unusually, I would comment that the contents of this statement were agreed by a small majority of the BHPA Executive Council.  There was a significant minority in favour of recommending a complete ban on flying, rightly pointing out that travel to any flying site would constitute 'unnecessary travel' in contravention of the government guidelines.

The recommendations of the Government's medical advisors, and those of the Welsh and Scottish Governments, remain that people should stay fit and get out and about whilst maintaining social distancing.
 
Who could ever have expected that, in the face of government advice to avoid unnecessary travel, over the last weekend Snowdonia would experience its busiest day ever! Many other areas such as the Lake District and seaside resorts were also extremely busy.
 
As a result, the National Trust, who have previously closed its indoor properties and allowed free access to its parks, has now closed all access to its parks and gardens. Many of its car parks are also closed.
 
Whilst all the British airsports associations recognise the possible poor public perception of us being seen to have fun flying and possibly having accidents, only British Skydiving ( formerly the British Parachute Association ) has recommended a cessation of activities. The latter is hardly surprising given the 'minibus' nature of many of their jump aircraft and the difficulties of maintaining 2 metres separation from a tandem student.
 
The CAA has not given any advice in relation to General Aviation.
 
The British Mountaineering Council highlights Government advice but does not recommend staying off the mountains or hills. British Cycling has cancelled organised events but advocates individual cycling; the British Horse Society has, overnight, reversed its recommendation that centres should close.
 
At this stage, there is little evidence that the medical services are so overwhelmed that a single unnecessary accident would be untreatable. However, it is clear that many of the Mountain Rescue groups, upon whom we often rely, are not equipped with the necessary Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) to deal with a Coronavirus-infected casualty and so their advice is to stay off the hills and mountains.

The problem for the BHPA in issuing a single statement of advice is that we cover such a wide range of sports and locations. These range from paraglider pilots gathering en masse on extremely busy hill sites, to individual or very small groups of paraglider pilots flying on remote coastal hillsides, to tow groups where the pilots lands back at take-off, and on to powered pilots flying from airstrips or private fields over remote and deserted areas such as moorlands and beaches. There are also a significant number of pilots, mostly powered paraglider pilots, who are not BHPA members and who may choose not to follow any BHPA recommendations ad who are statistically more likely to have serious accidents.

Decisions are therefore best made by individual pilots who know their personal circumstances, or, if it involves access to sites under a local agreement, clubs.

We would generally recommend that:
 
• Pilots should only fly when they are fit and well.

• Pilots should maintain social distancing whilst on the ground.

• Pilots may consider that attempting to fly in places where significant numbers of members of the public have gathered is not sensible.

• Pilots may consider that gathering together in large numbers on particular sites may be detrimental to the sport generally, simply due to our visibility.

• Pilots should bear in mind that flying where the local Mountain Rescue team would have to turn out in the event of an accident, it is likely to attract seriously adverse publicity generated by that Mountain Rescue team.

At this stage, the BHPA is not issuing a general recommendation not to fly to all pilots who fall within our remit. We would recommend that pilots bear in mind the above issues when deciding to fly or not. We would also ask pilots to bear in mind that the issues that affect their group of pilots, for instance hill launched HG Pilots, may have a much lesser effect on another group of pilots, such as tow launched parascending pilots.

We anticipate that it may well be necessary to further update this advice in the future.

Marc Asquith, BHPA Chairman

23 March 2020.

 

Posted: 23 March 2020
By: Paul Dancey


BHPA statement - Coronavirus (COVID-19)

British Hang Gliding and Paragliding Association What does the current Coronavirus pandemic mean for free flying in the UK?

The BHPA takes take the health and wellbeing of its members, clubs and volunteers very seriously and we are following Government and NHS guidance very closely.

Following the latest Government advice we urge everyone to follow best practice to minimise risk. We recommend BHPA clubs to cancel any planned group activities and trips, and advise all BHPA members not to take part in indoor group activities such as repacks and theory sessions until further notice.

We're not saying that all your flying activity needs to stop. Flying itself is a fairly solitary activity and we recommend those who wish to carry on flying to do so, but to minimise your risk and your interactions with other pilots. It might also be wise to avoid using sites where the public presence is high. Staying fit and active is one way to combat ill health generally.

If you do fly, and are planning to fly XC, please pre-plan your retrieve. It might not be wise to use public transport or to jam into a car with 4 other pilots.

Above all, the guiding principle should be common sense. Stay safe, look out for yourself and each other, and keep abreast of developments. This is a fast-moving situation so keep up to date with any updates on the BHPA website and on the BHPA Facebook page.

Marc Asquith, BHPA Chairman, March 18th 2020

Posted: 18 March 2020
By: Paul Dancey


Flying in Greece

The Hellenic Civil Aviation Authority advise us that BHPA members wishing to fly in Greece must contact them (d2d@hcaa.gr) in advance, and the Hellenic Aeronautical & Airsports Federation (hrelaoinfo@elao.gr), in order to be updated about the National Regulations and the locations where flying can take place.

Posted: 17 March 2020
By: Paul Dancey


Pandemic reactions

In the light of the coronavirus pandemic the DHV have recommended that their members reduce their flying activities and follow all national and local government advice; German towing and tandem operations have been suspended along with buses to take-off areas.

The FFVL have recommended that French clubs interrupt all activities and cancel or postpone scheduled events or competitions.

The Norwegian CAA have suspended all unnecessary VFR flights in controlled or uncontrolled airspace.

Considered advice would be to abandon plans to travel to these countries or anywhere else until the situation improves. It's almost certain that BHPA pilots have already drawn this conclusion without this information.

Posted: 17 March 2020
By: Paul Dancey


2019 RAeC Medals and Awards Ceremony Postponed

Royal Aero ClubIn light of the developing situation with the Covid-19 pandemic, and in conjunction with the RAF Club, the RAeC have taken the decision to postpone the presentation of the 2019 RAeC Medals and Awards which was due to take place on the 19th May 2020.

The RAeC have agreed that the ceremony will now be held on Tuesday 29th September, subject of course to the advice and/or measures in place at that time.

They will be writing to all Award recipients in the next couple of days to notify them. Any additional ticket bookings will be carried forward to the new date unless refunds are requested.

The RAeC have apologised for any inconvenience caused by this change, but they were unfortunately faced with no alternative, with the health and well-being of those attending their primary concern.

Posted: 16 March 2020
By: Paul Dancey


Skywings news last updated: 24 March 2020 at 12:19:41 PM

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