Hang Glider

British Hang Gliding & Paragliding Association

British Hang Gliding and Paragliding Association

Skywings Archived News

Skywings Archived News - May 2012

Submit Incident Reports online!

Pilots can now submit Incident Reports on the web. A new online reporting system has been extensively trialled and is now live on the BHPA website. It involves filling in a relatively simple Online Incident Report form that automatically logs your report, assigns it a specific number and generates an e-mail confirmation. The system can also accept sketches or photos if required.

The BHPA Incident Report (IR) system is designed to log accidents and incidents with a view to highlighting emerging problems and keeping track of trends. "The one-off incident or near-miss that affected you or one of your flying friends might not be as rare as you think," says FSC Chairman Angus PInkerton. "Without reports we can't investigate, and without investigations we can't provide timely advice to pilots or manufacturers." In the past an isolated occurrence has turned out, on investigation, to be part of an emerging pattern of which the FSC was previously unaware. This applies to glider airworthiness issues, to problems highlighted by new equipment, particular conditions or use of certain sites.

Anyone can submit an IR; if the pilot in question either has other things on his mind or is perhaps incapacitated, it is incumbent on any witnesses to report what they saw, even if the detail may be incomplete. And FSC would far rather receive multiple reports of the same incident than none at all.

Note that the IR system is not designed to apportion blame. Although the system requires a name and contact details so that further information can be sought if required, these are never publicised. And there is no shame in reporting an error that you made - it just might prevent others making the same error, with perhaps more serious consequences.

It is in fact a legal requirement to report air incidents. Fatal or potentially fatal incidents must be reported to the BHPA, the Air Accident Investigation Branch (AAIB) and Police immediately. Serious incidents should be reported to the BHPA as soon as possible. In these cases an IR should be submitted to the BHPA as within 48 hours.

Otherwise, an IR should be submitted following an incident if it:

  • Involves injury, whether to participants or others
  • Involves damage to property, third party or not
  • May give rise to an insurance or legal claim
  • Involves non-standard equipment or techniques
  • Involves failed or malfunctioned equipment
  • Highlights safety points or is unusual
  • Is something you feel the sport may learn from

The new online IR report can be found at https://contact.bhpa.co.uk/incident.php. IR submissions can still be made on paper; for an IR form contact your club's safety officer or the BHPA Office.

UK flexie record goes to 280km!

On Sunday April 15th Carl Wallbank pushed the UK flex-wing hang gliding record to 276.93km. On a day when most pilots were grounded by high winds, Carl put into action a plan he had conceived and perfected a long time ago.

So confident was he of reaching the south coast from his home site at Llangollen that he declared Weymouth, 165 miles away, as a goal. With a RASP soaring prediction "in the red" over the entire route, Carl took his first climb at 1045, passed to the east of the Long Mynd about an hour later, crossed the Severn and reached his turnpoint (west of Chippenham to avoid Bristol airspace) at 13:10 and altered course to the south-south-west.

From there it was little more than an hour and a half to Dorchester and Weymouth beach, landing at 15:30 after five hours in the air. The few extra km to secure the UK outright record were there for the taking but would have involved landing on the Isle of Portland, a dodgy proposition in the fairly strong wind.

Sadly, due to a daft error, he missed his 10km goal radius by just 450m and the flight-to-goal record remains for another occasion.

Several other hard-nosed pilots were active that day; Tim King securing a 118km Class 5 out-and-return along the South Downs, Paul Harvey on the same route and Tony Stephens going down at Arundel on the way back to Harting, among others.

But hats off to Carl for achieving a flight he has been obsessing about for 15 years. Planning, planning, planning, plus no little skill, a Moyes RS and bags of attitude. Carl's superb film of his flight is available on YouTube.

Bruce takes over Airwave

In partnership with Brazilian importer Roberto Galera, Bruce Goldsmith has bought the Airwave company from longtime owner Markus Villinger.

Markus bought the defunct company in 1999, transporting the remaining assets from the Isle of Wight to a new base at Innsbruck. The hang glider line soon came to an end, but in an inspired move Markus hired former Airwave and Ozone designer Bruce in 2000 to spearhead a new line of paragliders.

Bruce had had a hand in Rob Whittall's Worlds-winning Kiss hang glider in 1989 and John Pendry's Worlds-winning XXX paraglider in 1997. Back at Airwave again, Bruce was to go one better in winning the 2007 paragliding Worlds on his own Magic 3FR. Bruce left Airwave in 2010 to work at Advance but departed earlier this year.

Roberto has been Airwave's distributor in Brazil for the last seven years and will be the new company's marketing expert. The pair say they are looking to substantially update the entire Airwave range, currently led by the EN C Cobra and top-end B Sport 4; their first entirely new wing is expected to be an EN C offering. When on form Bruce and Airwave have been a very hard-to-beat combination.

BHPA integrates human-powered flying

Over the past year the Royal Aeronautical Society (RAeS) Human Powered Aircraft group led by Dr Bill Brooks has been organising a competition for human-powered aircraft, aimed to coincide with the London Olympics and commemorate 50 years of human-powered flight.

Airglow takes to the skies The competition, the Icarus HPA Cup, will include 200m and 1km races, a slalom course, unassisted take-off performance and landing accuracy, and duration and speed around a triangular course. When the issue of adequate 3rd-party insurance reared its head it was agreed that HPA flying will become part of the BHPA sphere of activities and UK HPA pilots will become members.

Recent experience in restoring and flying Airglow, for many years the only operational HPA in the UK, has shown that the aircraft is less fragile than one might expect, and that a viable sport and competition can be built around such aircraft.

Airglow packs into a glider-type trailer and can be rigged for flight in around half an hour. With its 25m span it weighs around 35kg empty and flies at 20mph.

In March the RAeS HPA group assisted the BBC in completing their own human-powered aircraft and instructing Bang Goes The Theory presenter Jem Stansfield in how to fly it.

The Icarus HPA Cup will take place at Lasham on July 14th - 22nd July. The first flight of the Bang Goes The Theory machine was scheduled for transmission on BBC1 on April 30th.

Olympics airspace caution

All pilots should be aware of the restrictions surrounding the Olympic and Paralympic games in July, August and September.

From July 14th a Prohibited Zone will cover central London extending from surface level to the overlying controlled airspace.
No hang gliders, paragliders, paramotors, powered hang gliders or sub-115kg microlights will be permitted in this Zone.

Surrounding the Prohibited Zone is a Restricted Zone.
No aircraft of any kind will be permitted in this zone without VHF airband radio and a transponder.

These restrictions last until August 15th; a lesser set will cover the Paralympic Games from August 16th to September 12th.

Prohibited airspace will also cover the Olympic sailing village at Weymouth from July 14th to September 8th, extending from surface level to 3,000 feet AMSL.
All recreational aircraft are prohibited from flying in this area.

Temporary changes to controlled airspace near the London Terminal Control Area will also be in force from July 14th to August 16th.

Extensive information, chart downloads, procedures and up-to-date news are all available at http://olympics.airspacesafety.com. Please avoid the London and Weymouth areas between the dates above, and if flying anywhere near them make sure you know exactly what the rules - and your responsibilities - are.


For further information about the British Hang Gliding and Paragliding Association and skywings magazine, please visit our about the BHPA and Skywings magazine pages on this website.


Events & Competitions Calendar

Visiting Overseas Hang Gliding & Paragliding Pilots please read this...

Find us on facebook


The BHPA is a member of the Royal Aero Club The BHPA is a member of the European Hang Gliding & Paragliding Union

Purchase the BHPA Pilot Handbook


The BHPA Elementary Pilot Training Guide - 8.43mb