British Hang Gliding & Paragliding Association

British Hang Gliding and Paragliding Association

Skywings Archived News

Skywings Archived News - Jun 2009

Karen Skinner: three new paramotor records

British paramotor pilot Karen Skinner set three new world records at the recent Flypa Festival in Teneriffe. On May 1st she beat the women's altitude record of 4,030m and set a new 3,000m time-to-climb record of 29 minutes on her PAP/Advance Epsilon 6 outfit.

The following day she set a 15/25km speed record of 54km/h. Two weeks later Karen won the final task at the Spanish paramotor nationals at Tomelloso to take sixth place overall. The event was won by Juanjo Garcia.

Skywings photographer on show

Richard Sheppard, accomplished free flight photographer and regular contributor to Skywings, has an exhibition of his images running at the Link Gallery at Cheltenham General Hospital, starting in July and finishing at the end of October.

It's called "Air" and covers free flying and other connected things: general aviation, nature, weather and such. Prints are for sale with 20% going to Arts in Trust. Details are at

Podcast update

Judith Mole has expanded her library of free-flight podcasts, available for downloading or listening online at Recent additions include Mental Training (two-time PWC champion Anja Kroll), Coaching (Lanarkshire and Lothian Chief Coach Dave Thomson), Alpine Flying (Tom Payne) and SIV and Pilotage (Pat Dower).

Earlier themes include include XC Tips (Kai Coleman), Flying in Competitions (Nicky Moss), and CP - What Next? (Mark Dann). The quality of these downloads is steadily improving and more are planned.

Dickenson replica soars!

On the afternoon of Saturday March 28th the John Dickenson replica hang glider, designed in 1963 and built in 2008, finally soared at Sand Point, Weston-Super-Mare.

Builder and pilot Jason Board reported that the replica flew very well with good pitch response. Jason had two soaring flights of between two and three minutes each in winds of 23 - 25 mph with strong gusts coming through. He was able to hover, move up and down the small coastal ridge and even top land. The glider was very controllable and was able to reverse back up the hill in the strong conditions.

However whilst fixing a video camera to the frame for a third soaring flight the sail flogged so much in the gusts that a seam on the trailing edge started to part and further flying was abandoned. Jason and Mark Woodhams, who has overseen the replica rebuild with input from John Dickenson himself, decided that having proved what they set out to do they should retire the glider.

It will now join the other hang gliders in Jason's British Hang Gliding Museum. The replica originally flew in September last year (see October 08 and January 09 Skywings). "I think it is quite astonishing that the very first modern hang glider has now been proved capable of soaring flight as well as simple hill launching," said Mark afterwards. "The fact that John Dickenson himself came over to see the first flight tests and helped with refitting the sail to the frame makes the machine even more historically relevant."

Chamonix success

Sean Potts, former BHPA and now French paragliding instructor, won the FFVL-organised Vol et Ski challenge at Chamonix in March.

The challenge, consisting of 11 two-day events held in the French, Swiss, and Italian Alps and the Pyrenees, is a sort of paragliding accuracy event in which the use of skis allows for around ten varied and dynamic spot landings per descent.

Sean won the tandem category and was runner-up in the solo category in 2008. He will be helping the local club organise the third Chamonix Vol et Ski competition in January 2010.

For more information contact him at, URL:


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