British Hang Gliding & Paragliding Association

British Hang Gliding and Paragliding Association

Skywings Archived News

Skywings Archived News - Sep 2014

South Wales airspace restriction - updated with additional changes

A temporary airspace restriction [RA(T)] will be put in place around a forthcoming NATO Summit in Newport, South Wales. The restriction, from 3 – 5 September 2014, will cover a broad area from Bristol in the east, to Bridgend in the west, and from Crickhowell in the north, to the Somerset coast in the south. The restricted area will extend from the surface up to flight level 105 (around 10,000ft).

As of August 30th the restricted area has been enlarged to include access routes to RAF Fairford from the north-west and from there to the restricted area described above. These routes will be active for short periods on September 3rd and 5th only. Full details of both sets of restrictions can be downloaded using the following links.


Further information is also available on the NATS website

Note: Aircraft entering the restricted area without authorisation will be subject to interception by police or military.

Updated: 2 September 2014

Wagga Watts does 275km - Al Ward is right behind!

It was going to happen sooner or later, and Mark 'Wagga' Watts was one of those most likely to. On Sunday August 3rd Mark flew his Enzo 2 from Milk Hill to Cromer to set a new UK paragliding open distance record of 275km.

On the same day Al Wilson achieved a 226km declared goal flight record from Milk to Swaffham but flew on to reach 267km on his Gin Carrera, also landing at Cromer. Simon Twiss (Icepeak 6) also clocked 231km from Liddington along a very similar route.

Mark and Al's flights both exceed Richard Carter's 2011 record of 253km, Carl Wallbank's 2013 flexwing hang gliding record of 266km and Dave Matthews' 2007 flexwing hang gliding goal record of 177km, and are very close to Nev Almond's 2010 absolute and Class 5 hang gliding mark of 278km - but see below!

Al's flight eclipses Kirsty Cameron and Guy Anderson's 214km goal flight set in April this year. We congratulate Mark and Al on their stupendous achievements!

Posted: 19 August 2014

Nev Almond - another record!

Sunday July 22nd saw Neville Almond (Atos VR) break his own 129km Class 5 defined out-and-return record with a six-hour, 141.47km flight from Combe Gibbett to Shepton Mallet and back.

Nev flew with young guns Ollie Chitty (Aeros Combat GT) and Luke Nicol (Atos VRS). "After being advised Coombe isn't very good in a north-easterly we took off, circled to base and left!" he reported. The first hour was blue and inverted but by the time the trio reached Wiltshire there was a cloudbase at 4000ft. After a low save at Devizes Nev and Luke hardly had to turn all the way to Frome.

Luke landed just short of the turnpoint while Nev turned for home, only to run into Hugh Miller and Mark Watts at Westbury, en route downwind from Uffington. Ollie was forced down near Milk Hill on the return leg of a slightly shorter out-and-return; Nev nearly had to put down, well after 5pm, near Burbage.

"Then a thermal from nowhere projected me back to 5000ft, allowing me to finish the last nine miles for the record." Impressive flying indeed! Nev’s answer to Mark and Al's recent paragliding records was to fly from Milk Hill to Sea Palling in Norfolk, via a dog-leg at Great Yarmouth, on August 9th. His distance? 307km!

Posted: 19 August 2014


The BHPA's 2015 Annual General Meeting will be held at the Belfry Hotel, Nottingham (adjacent to Junction 26 of the M1) on Saturday March 7th.

As in the past three years, it will be co-located with the BGA AGM and trade exhibition.

Updated: 19 August 2014

Merit award nominations

Nominations are sought for BHPA Awards of Merit to acknowledge conspicuous service to a club or clubs, to competitions or to free flying in general.

If someone in your environment has put their heart and soul into the good of the sport for many years, please consider writing a citation for them for a BHPA Merit Award.

Citations should be sent to the BHPA Office by January 31st 2013; any certificates will be presented at the AGM or other suitable occasion.

Posted: 19 August 2014

Flying Dolomites-Trentino

Flying at Trentino and in the Dolomites is a unique and thrilling experience. However this activity can also be very challenging. We keep having serious problems in the area, especially around Canazei, Col Rodella, Pordoi and Marmolada.

The Search and Rescue helicopter service in the Dolomites area is severely compromised when hundreds of pilots, from all over Europe, continue to fly during rescue operations. This prevents the helicopter from operating properly - to help fellow free flight pilots that need assistance. The situation is so bad that the authorities will close the area if we can't solve the problem.

In order to keep everybody safe and in order to keep one of the most beautiful areas in the world open to free flight, all pilots flying in the Dolomites area are requested to use their common sense and to follow a few fundamental safety rules:

  1. Take note of the official phone number in Italy - 118 - for the rescue service.
  2. Keep a radio always listening on the safety radio channel that we call '8-16' . This is PMR channel 8 with CTSS subtone 16 (the frequency is 446.09375 MHz + subtone 114.8 Hz). This channel will be used to provide instructions during rescue operations and for any other safety-related communication.
  3. When you see the red or yellow helicopter, fly at least 2km away from the rescue area.
  4. On your usual radio channel, tell your friends to move 2km away from the rescue area.
  5. If there is no other way to communicate, use your paraglider's 'big ears' as a way to make it clear that they also have to leave the area.
  6. Don't remain in front of the helicopter when it is hovering. You may think that the helicopter has reached its target and that it's safe to keep flying; in fact the helicopter is probably waiting for free flight pilots (including yourself) to move away in order to proceed to the rescue area.
  7. Every pilot flying in the Dolomites area must have a red and a green smoke bomb. They can be found at the Col Rodella cable-car. If you have an accident and need medical help, use the red smoke bomb. If you have an accident and don't need medical assistance, use the green smoke bomb and fold your wing.

All pilots should be aware of their skills and limitations and those of their friends. Never fly in strong winds; less-experienced pilots are advised not to attempt thermal flights near obstacles or during the hottest hours of the day.

PMR radios are cheap and light. Getting a second radio just for this safety channel is a good choice: it will be your cheapest piece of safety equipment. Communication during emergencies is very important, so keep the channel free and don't use it for non-safety communications.

Note that only pilots holding a FAI Licence or an International Pilot Proficiency Information (IPPI) card are allowed to fly here.

Rodolfo Saccani, FIVL Safety Officer,

Updated: 22 August 2014


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