Farewell David Barish
David Barish, regarded by many as one of the originators of paragliding, died in New York on December 15th at the age of 88. Like Francis Rogallo who died earlier this year, David Barish worked on space-vehicle recovery at NASA, where he invented a single-surface airfoil that was a step towards the modern paraglider.
A former commercial and military pilot, Barish gained a degree in aerodynamics after WWII and then became a military test pilot. He later worked as a consultant to the US Air Force before joining NASA where he patented several single-surface flexible wings. He was also involved in developing the double-surface "Parafoil" inflatable wing, the original paraglider, invented by Domina Jalbert and patented by him in 1963.
In 1965 Barish flew a single-surface wing down a 200ft slope at a ski resort in New York State. The following year, using a similar wing, he began a tour of ski resorts to promote slope soaring as a summer activity, but without without great success. It is said that Barish only fully realised what he had helped start when he spotted dozens of paragliders circling on a hillside in 1993. Nevertheless he remained an enthusiastic pilot and was flying until quite recently. Barish is survived by his wife, two sons and a daughter.
Yak on Ama Dablam
On November 21st 2009 Stuart Holmes, brother of UK Airsports' Pat Holmes, made what is probably only the second aerial descent of the iconic Nepalese peak of Ama Dablam (6,856m), and the first using a small speed wing.
Ama Dablam commands the Everest region and is considered one of the Himalaya's most spectacular climbs. Despite relatively bad autumn weather with strong winds and occasional snowstorms, Stuart climbed Ama Dablam's classic southwest ridge. It's an Alpine climber's dream route with ice faces and steep, clean rock, but in a spectacular Himalayan setting. Despite strong and very gusty winds he was able to fly his Gin Yak 16.5 from the summit without incident despite strong turbulence. The 4,500m flight took only ten minutes, saving over a day and a half of risky descent.
Big Fat Repack
The Thames Valley Club's legendary Big Fat Repack will run on Sunday March 28th at the Rivermead Leisure Complex, Reading.
There will be a zip slide to practice reserve deployment, and the BHPA's Bill Morris and team will give presentations on how to deploy and repack your emergency parachute. BHPA qualified packers will be on hand with help and advice to ensure that everyone leaves with their parachute repacked. The cost is just £26 - less than the cost of a commercial repack.
First-aid lectures have also been arranged to run in addition to the repacking talks. These will include dealing with fractures, back and head injuries. The aim is to make you feel confident to assess and take control of any casualty situation, administer basic first aid and call the emergency services. Book online at www.tvhgc.co.uk/bfr or download a booking form and post a cheque, with a self-addressed envelope, to BFR, The Gables, 1 Henwick Lane, Thatcham, Berkshire, RG18 3BJ.
Gibbo in intensive care
US hangie Mark Gibson was reported to be in intensive care after his microlight hit a power cable near his Texas home in December. He was attempting a forced landing in deteriorating conditions when the accident happened.
We are told that a bone fragment from a leg fracture entered his bloodstream and precipitated a heart attack. Gibbo is said to be making a steady recovery. Many British hang glider pilots will remember him from his time as an Airwave development pilot in the 1990s, and will join us in wishing him a speedy recovery.
For further information about the British Hang Gliding and Paragliding Association and skywings magazine, please visit our about the BHPA and Skywings magazine pages on this website.