British Hang Gliding & Paragliding Association

British Hang Gliding and Paragliding Association

Skywings Archived News

Skywings Archived News - Mar 2010

Standardised European Rules of the Air

Eurocontrol, the "European Organisation for the Safety of Air Navigation", is currently consulting on its proposed Standardised European Rules of the Air (SERA). Once established, these rules will affect all airsports from 2012.

ICAO currently provides the international standard for Rules of the Air. SERA seeks to unify rules of the air across Europe by cancelling all agreed national variations from current ICAO standards.

This will sweep away years of appropriate and sensible national modifications to the ICAO Rules of the Air, for example the various exemptions currently built into the UK ANO for hang gliding and paragliding.

The current SERA proposals consequently pose a very real and serious threat to all airsports, including Hang gliding and paragliding.

Whilst the aim of having one single set of Rules of the Air across Europe may at first glance seem attractive, it is clear that the needs of airsports in general, and hang gliding and paragliding in particular, have not been taken into account when drafting the current proposals.

Indeed the following statement has been published on the Eurocontrol website;
"Our primary objective is the development of a seamless, pan-European air traffic management (ATM) system. We contribute to making European aviation safer, performance-driven and environmentally sustainable".

So it would appear that Eurocontrol only exists to meet the needs of the Commercial Air Transport industry, and the needs of hang gliding and paragliding will not be considered unless we tell Eurocontrol what needs to be included or changed in their current proposal.

Martin Heywood, the BHPA Chairman, has therefore written an open letter to all BHPA members asking them to individually respond to this consulation to ensure that Eurocontrol are made fully aware of the depth of concern over their current proposals, and the threat they pose to our sport. Details of how you can respond to this proposal in the Chairman's letter.

An early draft of the detailed response the BHPA will be making to the proposed Standardised European Rules of the Air (SERA) is also available, and may be helpul when drafting your own response.

Unfortunately the consultation period is very short, and all responses must be received by Eurocontrol by 12th April 2010. So don't delay, please act now.

Parahawking II

Those who recall Martin Cray's Parahawking DVD will be pleased to know that Parahawking II - Share the Sky is in production. Martin again follows parahawking pioneer Scott Mason, whose tandem flight business has received worldwide media coverage. But Scott's vulture friends are in trouble as Asian scavenger populations collapse from feeding on drug-tainted carcasses.

The new film shows him securing safe feeding areas in Nepal in a last-ditch effort to save the birds, and being drawn deeply into Nepalese culture as he seeks to secure the local people's understanding and co-operation. Nevertheless the beauty of the birds remains, and there's also an account of the rehabilitation of a wild Steppe Eagle. Parahawking II - Share the Sky is a plea for the survival of the Asian raptor. The new DVD will cost £20 but you can pre-order with a £5 deposit. Details are at

Coupe Care Blanche

The third Coupe Care Blanche was held at the Saint Hilarie du Tout ski resort on January 29th - 31st, writes Liana Ginzburg. The weather again co-operated and the snow, sun, pilots and good mood (in any order) were in place for a very nice weekend. The event included an official speed-riding competition, speed-riding lessons for the rest of us, costumed runs, speed-riding demos by pros (by day and by night!), equipment loans by major brands and a nascent winter free-flying film festival (a legacy of the event's bigger sister the Coupe Care).

The Coupe Care Blanche is an event slowly but surely finding its place. Details are at; Ilan's photographs are at

SA distance records

On January 11th Carlos Pellisé of Spain flew a 356km out-and-return from Burgsdorf, Namibia to claim a new Class 5 record. Carlos set the existing record of 348km in 2008 with Pascal Lanser and Patrick Chopard. Also on January 11th, French pilot Jacques Bott flew a 337km out-and-return on a his Swift Light to claim James Neff's 1998 330km record. Both flights are subject to the FAI homologation process.

Forbes speed records

Meanwhile, in Australia, Phil Schroeder broke Robin Hamilton's 2002 Class 2 200km triangle speed record by clocking 46.19km/h on January 26th aboard an Aeriane Swift at Forbes. Two days later US pilot Armand Acchione (USA) pushed the same record to 52km/h, also on an Aeriane Swift, also at Forbes. Both flights are of course subject to the FAI homologation process.

Chabre Open

The 5th Ozone Chabre Open will take place from June 5th - 11th. The entry fee is 220 euros (less if you fly an Ozone glider). Entry criteria will encourage mixed-ability teams, female pilots and diverse nationalities. Online registration is open now at


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