Overcrowding at Llangollen
The North Wales HGPC site at Llangollen has been the start point for many XCs, the most successful being Carl Wallbank's 280km UK flexwing open distance record to Weymouth on April 15th. The site's reputation makes it popular not only with NWHGPC members but also with visiting pilots from far and wide, whose numbers sometimes exceed those of club members wishing to fly.
There have been times when members have chosen not to fly, because with so many visitors in the air the risk levels take them beyond their comfort zone.
With no wish to play host to any mid-air collisions, the NWHGPC Committee has decided to limit the number of visitors at the site on any particular day. The first step, to be applied with immediate effect, will be to carry out more stringent marshalling as pilots arrive at the gate to the take-off area.
All pilots will be asked to:
- Show that they are current BHPA members (and thus insured for third-party risks) and CP qualified. Please carry your BHPA membership card or helmet sticker ready to present when requested.
- Pay a £3 day fee if they are not a current NWHGPC member. They may book and pay in advance via the club's website at www.nwhgpc.org.uk. On showing a receipt for the pre-paid day fee they will be given priority when numbers have to be restricted.
- Receive a site briefing from an NWHGPC member/Club Coach if not already familiar with the site.
Visitors should also review site details in advance on the NWHGPC website, especially those relating to car parking. The club is proud of its Open Sites policy, but the interests and safety of members remain its first priority.
The 32nd International Bognor Birdman event will be held on August 4th - 5th.
Following a change to the rules there is no longer a requirement for a sub-30ft wingspan, so it is now possible to promote the sport and raise money for charity using a standard hang glider.
As usual there are two serious classes, the Condor for hang gliders and the Leonardo for home-built machines; pilots in the Condor class will be landing on the beach this year.
The entry fee is £50 and the deadline for applications is June 22nd. There are prizes for the longest time in the air as well as longest distance - so think of a worthy cause and drag that old glider out of the shed!
There is a free reception for competitors and families, and glider scrutineering, on the Friday evening, when the draw for take-off order is also made. For details and an entry form go to www.birdman.org.uk.
More Ben Ashman video
Flylight's Ben Ashman has put number of really good videos onto YouTube in recent months. His latest effort at www.youtube.com/watch?v=567orujnBqo contains early footage of Ben and fellow pioneer Will James dangling from polythene-and-wood back gliders in 1973, but includes paragliders, Doodle Bugs and recent SSDR machines.
Other recent hits have included winter flying from skis (www.youtube.com/watch?v=WgkE_DPuY7A), soaring the Dragonfly (www.youtube.com/watch?v=E0Ba58ou7nQ&feature=related), transporting the Dragonfly (www.youtube.com/watch?v=ksQKtq1sOLI&feature=related), winter landscapes (www.youtube.com/watch?v=p8Vqxi5paRg and www.youtube.com/watch?v=6VPtSdMmMXY); most of these will pop up if you just tap on Dragonfly/Ben Ashman or similar.
Ben is a tireless enthusiast for very light powered aircraft; his joy at sharing his exploits is quite contagious.
Wendy Windblows news
Rod and Lynn at Telespeed have an Android app available free for Wendy users. It offers easy weather reports and allows pilots to pass free messages between each other - as per Twitter but without the delays.
You can post a conditions report from take-off which can be echoed by Wendy round your friends, or other pilots who have registered an interest in that site. Non-smartphones can use Wendy's text service for the same thing.
If you normally call Wendy's phone line and it's engaged at peak times, you can request a text weather report instead – just text the site name plus a question mark to 07786 200431 and Wendy will text the report back within seconds.
Wendy has credited some free texts to every member so they can try this service. Download the new app by logging in to the Wendy website at www.wendywindblows.com. An iPhone app is possible in the near future.
Changes at Model Ridge
Model Ridge in North Yorkshire has been purchased by a new landowner who plans to develop the facilities. He is seeking planning approval to refurbish and reopen the cafe in 2013, build an amenities block with improved toilets and shower facilities and develop a farm shop selling locally-produced meat.
However the landowner and his insurers have concerns over the wide range of unstructured or uncontrolled activities on his land, including potentially unsocial activities such as wild camping, fires, raves, paramotoring, trials bikes, etc, and haphazard car parking on recently seeded verges.
Under instruction from his insurers, the landowner has written to the North Yorks Sailwings Club and requested that all flying activities cease forthwith. Representatives from the NYSC committee have contacted, and subsequently met with, the new owner and given him the following assurances.
- The Club will regulate and control all paragliding and hang gliding activities.
- The Club will ensure all pilots, whether intending to fly or simply ground handling, are both NYSC members and fully paid-up BHPA members, and able to prove such.
- The Club will assist in the management of the site by actively promoting litter control, parking cars responsibly and ensuring pilots behave in a civilised manner.
The owner has allowed club members to fly within these conditions under a trial period, however, any breach in the club's administration may cause him to re-evaluate this courtesy.
Harlech Cliff is Closed
Following a complaint to the National Trust about the number of pilots flying this site in April, the National Trust has withdrawn permission to use the Llanfair/Harlech Cliffs takeoff (SH 574 295).
While Snowdonia Sky Sports work to resolve the situation they ask that all pilots respect the sensitivity of the situation and do not use this takeoff. There is an alternative takeoff at Merthyr farm, but, contrary to other information on the internet, there is a fee of £1 per person for parking.
As it states in their sites guide the club flys within a National Park and an incident (including an access issue) could easily put the majority of their sites at risk. There could well be delicate ongoing negotiations or disputes that visitors will have no knowledge of, so please respect their sites as you would respect your own.
The club website, www.snowdoniaskysports.co.uk, will be updated as more information becomes available.
Royal Aero Club Trust award £1,000 to develop youth participation
The Royal Aero Club Trust (RAeCT) has announced the award of £1,000 in bursaries to help develop the flying ambition of young people within paragliding and hang gliding.
Awards were made to James Coughlin (18, Ulster FC) and William Lawrence (17, Green Dragons).
Bursaries of this type, which are part of the Trust's 'Flying for Youth' (FfY) program, are awarded annually to UK residents aged between 16 and 21, and fall into two categories:
- Flying Bursaries/Grants for those wishing to advance from one recognised level of air sport to the next higher level and wish to upgrade their existing qualifications;
- FlightSim Bursaries/Grants for Computer Flight Simulation enthusiasts wishing to gainpractical experience of flying or an air sport.
The scheme and the bursaries cover a huge variety of air sports and aviation-related activities including: paragliding, gliding, hang-gliding, parachuting, microlight aircraft, helicopter, fixed wing aircraft and the designing, building and flying model aeroplanes.
"I am delighted to have been chosen to receive this prestigious bursary," says James. "The award will support and develop my skills and I can't wait to get started on working towards achieving my flying goal."
"2012 has seen the Royal Aero Club Trust award more bursaries than ever before which shows a great commitment to develop from the youth participants in UK air sports," says David Bills, bursary administrator at the RAeCT. "In this Olympic year it is so encouraging to see the next generation of supporters entering into, and developing as part of, the para and hang gliding community. Every year we take great pride in following their progress and achievements closely and we wish them the very best success."
Those interested in applying for bursaries for 2013 should visit the Royal Aero Club website, where information will be available from September 2012.
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.