New British triangle record
Geneva-based Brit Tom Payne claimed a new British national triangle record on April 28th with a 170km flight from Chamonix on his Axis Mercury 08.
Tom launched from the Grands Montets glacier at 3,200m, using turnpoints near Chambéry and Annecy before returning to Chamonix. "This was the most technical flight that I have achieved in my flying career so far," he reports. "It was a real battle against stability and headwinds in the Aravis mountains, but pure pleasure in the Bauges as I tagged the first turnpoint and turned north. Headwinds turned into tailwinds there, but I still very nearly bombed out in the last few kilometres after getting flushed by valley winds near Plan Joux. I finally connected with silky-smooth convergence on the west faces of the Mont Blanc massif in glorious evening light."
Tom and flying partner Jon Chambers (Niviuk Peak) had attempted this triangle twice before, but on this occasion Jon's left brake line broke 120km into the flight. He flew the remaining 50km back to Chamonix, turning right only, but arrived too late tick the final turnpoint. "Jon was the true hero of the day," said Tom, "having the dedication and drive to fly 50km in Alpine spring conditions with only one brake."
Test glider delivered by air
Atos importer Steve Elkins agreed to take a demo glider from his Peak District base down to the Cambridge Aerotow Group for one of their pilots to have a test flight. Wednesday April 21st seemed as good a time as any and the Cambridge chaps had agreed to go flying, but they hadn't bargained on Steve flying the glider down.
Steve left from Mam Tor on an Atos VQT and turned up overhead his declared goal at about 5pm. "I arrived at Sutton Meadows quite high and had a look around," reports Steve, "but I could only see one microlight flying so I decided to land nearer a main road. Now I have to drive back there to pick it up!" RASP was predicting greater than 500ft/min on the day in question. Steve says he topped out at 5,200ft but didn't want to go any higher because it was too cold. So that's about 167km to goal. Nice work indeed!
RAeC Trust bursary winners
Royal Aero Club Trust Amongst bursary winners for 2010 include BHPA members Idris Birch (19) of Aberystwyth, who will use his bursary to achieve Advanced Pilot status in paragliding, and Katie Lawrence (18) of Hornchurch who is aiming for her paragliding CP. Katie is the daughter of accuracy star John Lawrence and BHPA Accuracy Panel Chairman Liz Lawrence.
The RAeC Trust exists to help young people develop their full potential through air sports. It offers several bursaries annually, including the prestigious Peter Cruddas Foundation Scholarship worth up to £1,000, to enable young people from 16 years of age to progress in their air sport.
All-star night at the RAeC awards
In a glittering ceremony at the RAF Museum, Hendon on Tuesday April 27th, three BHPA members received richly-deserved honours for their contributions to our sport.
Dwarfed by the museum's Avro Lancaster bomber, HRH the Duke of York, patron of the Royal Aero Club, presented awards and trophies to the great, the good and the hard-working in sport flying. The Duke was on a tight schedule and had to leave early; his place was taken by David Roberts, President of Europe Air Sports and Chairman of the Royal Aero Club.
BHPA recipients were Paul Dancey, who received the RAeC's Bronze Medal for his work for the South-East Wales Club and for the BHPA in managing both Skywings and the BHPA website; Bob Dunthorn of the Aberdeen Club who received the RAeC Certificate of Merit for his unending work in coaching and managing sites; and Mark Dann of Beyond Extreme who received the Ann Welch Memorial Award for his contribution to flying instruction. Also honoured was former British hang gliding champion Peter Harvey, now European Open Class gliding champion and a member of the Gold-Medal winning British team in Slovakia last year.
Following many years in the gilded surroundings of Clarence House or some other baroque mansion, moving the awards ceremony to the RAF Museum was an inspired change, and many award recipients and their families spent the afternoon admiring the RAF's remarkable back-collection of aircraft. Long may it continue.
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