Hangie record goes to 279km!
Nev Almond pushed the UK hang gliding distance record to 173 miles/279km with a superb flight from Milk Hill to Cley in Norfolk on May 10th. Nev took off on his Atos VR at noon and was able to cover the initial 30-mile leg to Wantage without turning.
Cloudbase was 4,000ft when he launched, rising to 4,600ft during the flight. Nev abandoned his original target of Skegness due to a poor sky to the north and instead diverted to the east of the Wash. Arriving at the coast, convergence up to 6,000ft allowed him to fly out over the North Sea to maximise distance before landing just inland in the sea breeze at around 5pm.
"The flight was a mix of some amazing fast stretches, like 20 minutes of straight-lining at 50 - 60mph, some tip-toeing in the blue to get around airspace near Abingdon, and a few moments lucking out very low in big blue holes," said Nev. "The straight-line distance was 167 miles with the final turnpoint around a mile out to sea, but with my two intermediate turnpoints it works out at 173.3. That's 135 and 173 miles open XC flying in four weeks - another one and my family may forget who I am!"
Nev's flight exceeds Robin Hamilton's 162-mile Class 2 record from the Lawley on a Swift in 1995, Nick Pain's 158-mile flexwing record from the Malverns on a La Mouette Topless in 1999, and Nev's own Class 2 record of 155 miles from Mere in 2009. Observant readers may recall Nev's prophetic words in last month's Skywings: "I plan to limit open my XCs to two attempts a year, and only when the record is possible – the thrill of crossing a huge land mass never loses its buzz!"
On her way at 16!
Airways Airsports student Lois Preston received her CP rating in April - on her 16th birthday!
Lois started learning to fly on the tow with Airways when she was 14. She quickly completed her CP tasks but had to remain within the school until she was old enough to qualify.
Lois was able to do some mountain flying with a French school at Laragne last year as the FFVL don't have the same age restrictions. She is now booked on an Airways XC course in the summer. Meanwhile flying has become a family affair; her father Mark and older brother Sam are both learning to hang glide at Airways. "It’s quite common to see at least two of the Prestons thermalling above Darley Moor at any one time," says Airways' Judy Leden. "Lois is already showing the signs of becoming a talented pilot - this girl is one to watch!"
Brett Janaway takes tandem 100km O/R speed record
XtC Paragliding's Brett Janaway claimed a world record after nailing 31.9km/h on a three-hour out-and-return flight from Gemona in Italy to Kobala in Slovenia and back on April 22nd.
The flight was made with with Marshall Hall as passenger on a Gradient BiGoldenXC. "A perfect forecast presented itself the night before," says Brett, "and I made a late decision to have a go at the record. 80% of the flight was against the valley wind but I was able to get excellent speeds and glides with careful use of the trimmers, and we were able to overtake several Open class wings."
Brett's flight eclipses Nina-Renate Brümmer's 29.5km/h mark set in Kenya in January. Earlier, on April 20th, Slovenia's Sergej Cujec broke Burkhardt Martens' 2001 25km paragliding speed triangle record, flying from Tolmin at 25.51km/h. On the same day as Brett's record flight Fiona Macaskill beat her own 2004 25km ladies paragliding speed triangle record with a 26.1km/h flight from Plain Joux on an Ozone Delta.
1971 Otto Lilienthal meet celebrated
May 23rd saw a celebration of the 163rd birthday of gliding pioneer Otto Lilienthal, and the 40th anniversary of the birth of hang gliding at Newport Beach, California.
On this Pacific hillside, on May 23rd 1971, the Otto Lilienthal Birthday Party rally ushered in the hang gliding age. Many types of glider were present that day including Chanute-inspired biplanes, Rogallo wings and a few advanced designs, all aided by the ocean breeze up the hillside. The seminal event was featured on the front page of the Los Angeles Times, and a later article in National Geographic by Russell Hawkes ensured worldwide publicity.
The hang gliding movement was in fact already under way on this date, but the success of the meet and its subsequent publicity lit the match for the explosion of free flying that was to follow. Names from contemporary hang gliding were present at the recent celebration along with builders and pilots of hang gliders that flew 40 years ago. An engraved granite marker stone was presented to the community and it is hoped that the City of Newport Beach will display this permanently to record the birth of this remarkable sport.
Parahawking in Spain
Scott Mason's Parahawking operation is to offer parahawking flights at Alicante, Spain this summer. Building on the huge success of the world-renowned Nepal parahawking project, Scott and his team have spent the last two years training two new Harris Hawks to guide them to the best lift.
"Parahawking has received international recognition over the years," writes Scott. "It's being hailed as one of the most unique real-adventure sports, and many of our passengers say it's one of the most exciting things they have ever done."
The team will fly at a number of locations including the famous coastal site of Cabo Santa Pola. "Parahawking in Alicante will be of the same quality and standard that we are known for in Nepal," says Scott. Details are at www.parahawking.com.
At a recent club night the Dales Club presented its annual awards for last season, a total of some 20 trophies, cups and certificates.
Top prizes in the Dales paragliding XC league (six flights), generously sponsored by Dean Crosby of Active Edge, went to Mike Cavanagh (480km), Jake Herbert (335km), Ed Cleasby (242km) and Birkitt Rudd (194km). Jake made the longest flight from a Dales site on April 22nd, 169km from Wether Fell to Spurn Point - you can't get much further than that!
Hang gliding honours went to Gary Wirdnam for a 124km flight from Wether Fell to Filey and an XC League total of 185km. The Dales club are at www.dhpc.org.uk.
Doreen enters the blogosphere
Doreen Campervan, last seen in Richard Sheppard's superb book of flying photography and wit, has resurfaced.
Doreen, former agony aunt of the Malvern Club, is dedicated to the sharing of wisdom for a happier life. Logic and ideas of a Confucian slant are the mainstay of Doreen's work: "Remember, friendship is basically a matter of liking people (or electronic gadgets) and giving to them – stop thinking of it as a mad scramble and more as a bowl of lukewarm soup."
If you find such outpourings uplifting, there's lots more at http://doreencampervan.blogspot.com.
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