Hang Glider

British Hang Gliding & Paragliding Association

British Hang Gliding and Paragliding Association

Skywings Archived News

Skywings Archived News - Sep 2009

Francis Rogallo, 1912 - 2009

Francis Rogallo, father of the hang glider, passed away on September 1st near Kitty Hawk, North Carolina. His development of the flexible wing concept led to the development of the hang glider and allowed millions to experience the joy of flight.

Francis was born in 1912, gained a degree in Mechanical Engineering and Aeronautics in 1935 and joined the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NACA) in 1936 to supervise theoretical and experimental aerodynamic research. In the late 1950s NASA (formerly NACA) pursued the Rogallo wing, which Francis and his wife Gertrude had perfected at home, as an alternative recovery system for the Gemini space capsule. In 1967 NASA turned to round parachutes for recovery, but recreational flying enthusiasts picked up the Rogallo wing idea to produce the original hang glider. The freedom of the air was soon available to thousands of struggling enthusiasts worldwide, and the sport of hang gliding was born. Almost all modern hang gliders can trace their origins to Francis Rogallo's invention.

Francis was awarded the FAI's Hang Gliding Diploma in 1982, inducted into the North Carolina Sports Hall of Fame in 1987; awarded the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum Trophy in 1992 for "outstanding achievement in aerospace technology"; recognised by NASA for his "many contributions to flight" in 1997; awarded honorary life membership of the BHPA in 1992; and awarded the FAI's Tissandier Diploma in 2001. He took his last hang gliding flight on his 80th birthday in 1992.

Michel Carnet is Paramotor World Champion!

After winning the final task on August 8th, Michel Carnet took the Gold medal in the PF1 class at the paramotor world championships at Nove Mesto nad Metuji in the Czech Republic.

Czech pilots Pavel Brezina and Frantisek Salava took Silver and Bronze. The Czech Republic won the team event but the British team was in second place, adrift by only a handful of points and well ahead of Poland in third place. Brit Dean Eldridge was 10th in the foot-launch class and Andrew Shepherd tenth in the PL1 Class. Rising Polish star Emilia Plak was 4th overall in the foot-launch class and and the best woman pilot, with Britain's Laura Turner second.

Thus Michel (Dudek Nucleon/Bailey 175) adds a World Championship to his nine British Champion titles, the last of which was secured at Kerswell Green in Worcestershire in June. Laura Turner took the ladies title for the third time.

Toby Colombé sets new paragliding World Record

From Left to right, passenger Cefn Hoile and pilot Toby ColombeOn 26th July, British Pilot Toby Colombé of Passion Paragliding set a new out and return tandem world record! Toby launched from Sorica in Slovenia at just after 10am and struggled with very light thermals for the first couple of hours.

Shortly after midday he crossed into Italy, and then flew deep into the Julian Alps before returning to Slovenia in the late afternoon. It took Toby just over 7 hours to complete a 168km out and return flight, extending by 9km the previous world record set two years ago by local hot shot Tomaz Erzen.

Toby was flying a Gradient Bigolden XC for the first time: not bad for a test flight! Toby would like to thank Cefn Hoile "for being the perfect passenger as well as exhibiting extraordinary bladder control"; and Brett Janaway of xTc Paragliding for providing much needed encouragement and logistical support,.. oh, and for allowing Toby to test fly his wing!

Full details of this remarkable flight are available at www.passionparagliding.com.


The BHPA AGM will be held this year at the National Watersports Centre, Holme Pierrepont, Nottingham, on Saturday December 5th.

The Sport and Leisure Aviation Show continues at the NEC on November 28th - 29th; this year the BHPA will have no direct involvement in the show.


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