Hang Glider

British Hang Gliding & Paragliding Association

British Hang Gliding and Paragliding Association

Skywings Archived News

Skywings Archived News - Feb 2012

Olympics airspace workshop

To help pilots prepare for flying in south east England during the 2012 London Olympics, the Royal Institute of Navigation and the Civil Aviation Authority have joined forces to host a free briefing day in central London.

The event will be held on Saturday 10 March 2012 at the Royal Geographical Society London SW7, and will feature presentations and Q&A sessions offering pilots the chance to get the latest information on Olympics airspace. There will also be a workshop on navigation techniques.

Pre-registration is required and places will be provided on a first-come basis. To register, e-mail your full name and any affiliation (e.g. flying club) to olympics@rin.org.uk. All bookings will be confirmed.

For details of Olympics airspace changes please visit www.airspacesafety.com/olympics.

EN paraglider classes and pilot skills

The BHPA table relating EN/LTF glider certification classes to the appropriate pilot skill levels required to fly them safely is now available for ready access on this website.

The table builds on the EN certification scheme's own description of the sort of pilot level required for each certification class, and adds a rough guide to the level of experience and currency levels that are appropriate. The table was produced to draw pilots' attention to the degree of flying experience, and the amount of regular flying, required to be able to fly any paraglider safely within their limitations.

This is of particular use to those pilots who may be tempted to trade up to a higher level of certification for their next glider. It might surprise some to realise that the appropriate skill/experience set for an EN C wing, for example, includes being very current, being familiar with active flying and SIV techniques, and understanding the consequences of flying a glider with limited passive safety.

Pilots should note however that certification classes are becoming increasingly wide, and also that the new breed of EN D gliders have almost nothing in common with earlier EN D types. If you are in any doubt at all about the suitability of any glider, consult an instructor or a highly-experienced coach.

Read and download the entire document at www.bhpa.co.uk/pdf/En926_summary.pdf or visit the Safety Documents area of our website.

Top gun for hire

Longtime coach and championship pilot Pat Dower is expanding his range of paraglider pilot-development training. Over the winter he will lead a number of ground-based training days for people wanting to improve their XC flying, with content negotiated with the host club to match the group's need.

The first one, at the Devon and Somerset Condors this month, has completely sold out. In the flying season Pat will be running UK-based XC coaching and flying development for groups of pilots. Pilots will be able to benefit from a range of expert ground-based coaching, even if rained off or blown out. "Running these in the UK," says Pat, "means pilots can have a high-quality experience at affordable cost." A limited number of intensive pilot-development weeks abroad are also planned, the first one based near Annecy. "These are the jewel in the crown," Pat says, "for pilots wanting to focus intensively on building their skills, overcoming barriers and moving to a new level in their flying. Individual coaching will help pilots meet their particular goals."

In addition, pilots wanting personal coaching can arrange a one-to-one or small-group pilot development day in the UK, designed around their own training programme. "By combining my teaching experience in education and my leadership coaching with over ten years of coaching in flying, I can provide targeted development for pilots of all levels. The key to a pilot's development is helping them to work on the right thing at the right time - and in the right way," he says.

Pilots will need to be at least CP rated; details, and Pat's blog and other useful resources, are at www.patdower.co.uk.

Testing and certification of the new EN D wings

As previously reported, testing of EN D gliders was briefly suspended in November following an accident involving Alain Zoller at Air Turquoise/Para Test while testing a candidate EN D glider. The opinion put forward by Air Turquoise and the SHV was that the current crop of EN D gliders was becoming too dangerous to test. After consideration at the Paraglider Manufacturers Association (PMA) meeting on December 9th it was agreed that the testing of EN D gliders would recommence, citing that the testing house's role was to test gliders, not to decide which gliders may or not be tested. However a testing house may still refuse to test a glider if the manufacturer's own test flight videos or live demo flights are not satisfactory.

One of the big issues arising was the very tight tolerances in the EN schedule for the 75% collapse test for these wings. This will be addressed in the new EN regime for 2012, which will be updated to make it closer to the wider tolerances in folding angle and collapse percentages permitted in the LTF (DHV) tests.

A second issue was the use of folding lines. These are additional lines which are not part of the canopy as it is sold, but are connected to extra tabs to allow the test pilot to induce an exact 75% collapse at the leading edge that does not exceed 50% at the trailing edge, as specified by the tighter EN tolerances.

An interim consensus has been reached that collapse lines will not be used at all in the testing of EN A and B gliders, and only used on C and D gliders if tests at the testing house first show that the correct collapse can't be obtained without them. If fitted they must have the same layout as the A lines. Given the wider tolerances currently specified by LTF for collapse folding, and the imminent changes to the EN standard, it is believed in some quarters that the need for collapse lines will be much reduced. Where they are used, the tabs will now be fitted to production canopies so that collapse lines can be reinstated for the purposes of pilots undergoing SIV training.

The changes in 2012 will harmonise EN and LTF tests, making the testing to both that most manufacturers do much easier. The PMA is trying to find out whether it is possible to switch over to the new EN test regime ahead of schedule. The advantage of all this for former Open Class competition pilots is that they will be getting gliders with greater passive safety and only minor limitations (lower top speed). The downside is that Serial Class pilots will have to realise that the new competition-oriented EN D gliders will be a world apart from the old, familiar EN D class.

Lakes mountain flying/XC theory

Chris Scammell is running another mountain/XC flying theory course over the weekend of March 10th and 11th near Keswick in Cumbria.

The course covers all the essential theory necessary for successful mountain XC flights in the UK. The course, suitable for novice and expert alike, covers all aspects of UK mountain flying from the basics of mountain flying safety to the complexities of sea-breeze fronts in mountainous areas.

The cost is £60 for the weekend. Details are at www.mountainparagliding.co.uk.

TVHGC Big Fat Repack

The Thames Valley Club's famed Big Fat Repack runs on Sunday April 1st at the Rivermead Leisure Complex, Reading.

BHPA qualified packers will be on hand with help and advice, and will give presentations on how to deploy and repack your 'chute. A zip slide will allow practice deployments. First-aid lectures have again been arranged and will cover calling the emergency services, administering basic first aid and dealing with fractures, back and head injuries.

The cost is £26.50, less than the cost of a commercial repack. Book online or download a booking form at www.tvhgc.co.uk/bfr.


A reminder that the Annual General Meeting of the BHPA will be held on Saturday March 3rd at the Belfry Hotel, Nottingham, NG8 6PY, starting at 11am. The Belfry is adjacent to Junction 26 of the M1.

You will be able to quiz Exec members on their record and put forward ideas for the future direction of the Association. Topics for discussion at the members' forum, held directly after the AGM, should be notified to the BHPA Chairman by February 1st. The British Gliding Association AGM will take place at the same location on the same date. This will include trade stands and the BGA's fabled gliding simulator.

Airways demo weekend

A New Products Weekend will take place at Airways' Darley Moor base in Derbyshire on the weekend of March 24th - 25th. All the major UK importers and distributors will be there: paragliders and equipment from Ozone, Nova, Gin, Niviuk, Skywalk, Advance, Firebird, UP and Dudek; hang gliders and gear from Icaro, Avian, Atos, Wills Wing, Moyes, Aeros, Airborne, Aeriane and Seedwings; plus Easy Riser and Dragonfly microlights.

Equipment brands will include Woody Valley, Sup'Air, Rotor, Crispi, Fly Products, Bailey and Lazer, and instrumentation from Aircotec, Brauniger, Flymaster and Flytec. Winch, aerotow or hill demo flights with all of these can be booked directly with Airways.

To book go to www.airways-airsports.com and click the Demo button. There will be free camping on the airfield and an evening barbecue in their new hangars.

SHPF Repack

Didn't receive the ideal Christmas gift ... then book now for the SHPF Repack on Saturday 4th February 2012 at the Edinburgh International Climbing Arena at Ratho and to which all pilots (and family) are cordially invited.

Along with the World class dynamic reserve parachute deployments and repacks there will also be the workshops ....

Steve Nash and Richard Bungay: Team GB in the most recent Red Bull X-Alps will be coming along with their insightful stories and images of their career from X-Scotia to X-Alps. Gordie Oliver: The first BHPA Speed Wing Instructor to be will be presenting a workshop on speed wings. Triantafyllos Gkikopoulos - Advance XC Serial Team member - has confirmed his XC flying workshop, and Brendan Reid - Highest placed Scot at the British Open flying his Ozone R10, will be talking and showing everyone around his BB for us all to learn more, see, touch and feel a two liner.

Other family members may wish to use some or all of the other facilities available at this venue - details of which can be found at www.eica-ratho.com.

The cost is £30 plus £5 for the X-Alps talk - and payment details can be found on the SHPF webpage - www.shpf.co.uk/shpf-Ratho-Repack.php.

For those of you travelling from further afield then there are also some beds reserved at - www.edinburghbackpackers.com/hostel/directions.shtml right in the centre of town that might still be available for £28 pppn (Let the Social side of the event begin!).


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