British Hang Gliding & Paragliding Association

British Hang Gliding and Paragliding Association

Skywings Archived News

Skywings Archived News - Feb 2008

CAA Mode S Transponder Phase 2 Consultation - January 2008

On 31st January 2008 the CAA published the phase 2 consultation documents for their latest proposals on the compulsory carriage of transponders - go to, click on the "Mode S" menu item, and follow the links.

It should be noted that the proposals are less draconian than last year's proposal of all aircraft in all airspace. However the BHPA believes that they still represent a significant risk to both our activities and General Aviation as a whole. Pending a full review of the CAA's documents our current position is that we do not believe that the transponder carriage proposed provides the CAA's stated safety improvements on a reasonable cost v benefit basis.

The BHPA team of Mark Turner, Phil Jones and Tom Hardie will carry out an assessment of the CAA's documentation and provide you with their thoughts in sufficient time for you to respond by the consultation close of 17:00 on 31st May 2008.

Further updates will be made available on this web site as and when they become available.

This is YOUR airspace use we are talking about, and if you don't seek to protect it officialdom takes the view that by silence you are stating that they do not affect you.

The CAA Mode S Transponder story so far.....

Coach Revalidation

In recent years the BHPA has made several major improvements to the way it ensures that Instructors and certain other licence holders are fully current. The FSC has now turned its attention to ensuring that all licensed Club Coaches and Senior Coaches are also fully current and active. This should minimise the chances of any accidents occurring during coaching activity – and it should help minimise the legal exposure of any coach if the worst came to the worst.

A coach revalidation system has therefore been introduced. This simply requires all Club Coaches and Senior Coaches to have a declaration of support signed by the Club's Chief Coach at membership renewal time – e.g. As the licence holder's Chief Coach, I can confirm that he/she continues to be a valuable active member of the club's coaching team. (In the unlikely event of the club having no nominated Chief Coach then the club Chairman should sign this.)

The FSC also recommends that coaches should re-attend the Coach Course at least every five years to ensure that nothing gets forgotten and that they are fully up-to-date with current thinking. (The course fee is reduced by £10 for re-attendees.)

At present the BHPA has some 700 licensed Coaches. It is quite certain that many of these are completely inactive – perhaps having consciously decided to take step back in our more litigious society.

There is therefore also a box on the membership form for coaches to tick if they no longer wish hold a Coach Licence.

Montant wins first big speed-riding event

France's Antoine Montant was crowned the first-ever Red Bull Speedride Champion on Austria's Kreuzjochspitze in January. Swiss pilot Mathias Roten finished second ahead of France's Francois Bon after two remarkable runs.

A qualification process two days earlier had seen 16 speed riders from six nations battle it out on the Mattun mountain. The pilots themselves made the selection by video analysis at a public judging. Criteria were an individual pilot's line, flying and skiing skills, energy, smoothness and "touch and go creativity".

The Kreuzjochspitze is only accessible by helicopter. Heavy snowfall the night before the event set the scene for a gripping finale. Montant scored a total of 686.5 points to Roten's 647.9. A prize presentation was made at the ISPO winter sports trade fair in Munich a few days later. More information on the Red Bull Speedride event is at

Never say goodbye!

Despite reports that 2007 would be the Last Resort's final year, they're back again for 2008.

"After many requests from our clients to keep going, and having worked so hard to build the Last Resort, we decided we weren't ready to let it go just yet," said co-founder Ali Gregory. "We're hoping to see a lot of our friends and some new faces here this summer."

During their 12th summer running paragliding courses at Grand Bornand and Annecy they will be offering Introduction to Alpine flying and Intro to XC courses, Bob Drury XC courses (exclusive to the Last Resort) and SIV and Pilot Skills courses. Courses are for both pre- and post-CP levels, run by two fully qualified instructors with a maximum student-instructor ratio of 4:1. Self-catering and course-only options are also available, and transfers from Geneva and Annecy can be provided.

The Last Resort can also accommodate club or school trips with up to 18 pilots in ensuite rooms. For more info visit their website or e-mail:

Piedrahita news

The XC Open World Series will be held again at Piedrahita from August 31st to September 6th. The 2007 event gave competitors fantastic conditions with eight flying days out of eight and flights of over 100km on most days.

The German Open will also be held at Piedrahita from September 7th - 13th. The British Open has been held at Piedrahita nine times since 1992, but this is the first time the Germans have chosen it as their venue. This year's British Open is at the nearby (Avila) site of Pedro Bernardo from June 1st - 7th.

Flypiedrahita now has new web page with lots of information regarding flying in central Spain, for all pilots from CP level to those interested in XC and competitions. It's all at


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