Idris scorches earth!
BHPA member Idris Birch was on a roll in June with three good paraglider XC flights on three consecutive days.
June 15th saw him follow Steve Parsons, Kai Coleman and Martin Knight away from Corndon but get left for dead. Nevertheless Idris slogged on for a personal best of 86km, overflying a downed Steve Parsons in the process. On the same day Judith Mole set a personal best of 123km, narrowly failing to bag Judy Leden's 2004 women's UK record.
The following day, in less ideal conditions, Idris got away from Corndon again to post 47km, his fourth best-ever distance. "I was a bit gutted that a tractor was mowing a field 300m downwind of my landing. On a day when there weren't many clouds it seemed that all possible triggers and sources were working."
On June 17th, at Corndon again, XC League leader Kai Coleman had already left when Idris got going with Steve Parson, Simon Burnell and Kath, and Martin Knight to land near Builth Wells for 55km. "It feels like the first good year there's been for paragliding since I started in 2007," reports Idris. "The XC League is full of pilots and flights and the last three days have been awesome. Three flights from the same site; the conditions have widely yet on all three days I followed pretty much the same route."
A total of 190km in three days on an eight-year-old Gin Oasis. We are going to hear a lot more from Idris, who is just 19 at present.
Darwin award candidate in hospital
45-year-old Northumbrian Roy Dixon drew all the wrong kind of publicity when he tried out his paraglider near Hexham on May 23rd.
Ron had absolutely no training but was keen to fly a paraglider he'd bought on eBay for £300. "I should have joined a club and got lessons," he is quoted as saying, "but I was trying to teach myself and learn from bits I had seen on YouTube."
A further mistake was to tether himself to his car with 50ft of rope, a lethal technique not often seen even on YouTube. Unsurprisingly, he crashed badly within seconds. He was taken to hospital by RAF helicopter with two broken vertebrae and now awaits surgery.
His wife and other family members were on hand to witness this act of insanity. Ron achieved national exposure for paragliding on the BBC News website and several national and northern newspapers. Reporters at Roy's bedside heard him say he was very embarrassed about the cost of the rescue, and that he was aware he had been quite foolish.
Quite so. The moral of the story, to every other would-be I-don't-need-any-training idiot, is simple: It looks easy. It isn't. It doesn't look dangerous. It is. Charles Darwin's influential book On the Origin of Species, outlining the theory of natural selection, was published in 1859.
Avian goes laser
Avian hang gliders are now using CNC laser-cutting techniques to manufacture sails of their Evo and Rio hang gliders.
"The new way of cutting sail panels means greater accuracy in production," says Avian boss Steve Elkins. "But it also allows us to streamline the design and development process. Now we can make exact and repeatable changes to any part of a prototype sail very quickly, which will speed up the entire process."
Look out for Avian's new upgraded Rio intermediate soon. For details contact Steve at firstname.lastname@example.org" or go to www.avian.hanggliding.dk.
New BHPA PR Officer
John Nash, elected to the BHPA Exec last December, is to take on the role of PR Officer left vacant by the departure of David Wootton.
John's first task will be to set out a frame of reference and prioritise the various requirements of the PR role. BHPA PR falls into two main categories: promoting the sport and the Association, and fielding calls from the media. The latter are frequently positive but can take on a negative tone when hang gliding or paragliding are in the news for all the wrong reasons. Hats off to John for volunteering for the position.
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