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British Hang Gliding & Paragliding Association

British Hang Gliding and Paragliding Association

Skywings Archived News

Skywings Archived News - Apr 2015

Safety Advisory - Speed systems and risers

The BHPA have had reports of two cases where the speed system has failed in flight. Both gliders (A Gin Carrera and a UTurn Lightning) have suffered from one of the speed system pulleys coming away from the riser. The integrity of the riser itself is not affected.

Like many other models, both these wings use 'skinny' risers which means there is relatively small area of stitching where the speed system pulleys are attached. This area is put under considerable stress when the speed bar is applied and requires regular checking.

A contributory factor is that the pulleys and stitching on many gliders is concealed beneath a neoprene sheath or cover. Both Gin and U-turn have taken steps to reinforce this area, but it is very likely that other models may also be liable to similar stresses and the BHPA strongly recommend that all pilots inspect their speed systems regularly; including peeling back any protective covers, carefully inspecting the stitching and checking the webbing tabs for wear.

The full Safety Advisory notice can be downloaded from the Safety Documents area on this website.

Updated: 22 April 2015

Extreme weather while hang gliding/paragliding - TV documentary

London-based TV production company DSP are making a documentary series for BBC Earth and Channel 5 about climate science, and British people who have experienced extreme events all over the world.

Their aim is to reveal why weather internationally may be becoming more powerful, and how viewers can keep themselves from harm if caught in similar conditions.

DSP make award-winning factual television for major UK, USA and international broadcasters – and fact-based feature films for cinematic release. Their recent productions include the BAFTA-nominated Richard III: the King in the Car Park and The Mill for Channel 4, Neil Armstrong: First Man on the Moon for BBC and Making of Mandela for Discovery. DSP films include Hawking, 127 Hours, Touching the Void and Dark Horse.

DSP are really interested to speak to anyone with a great story of wild weather overseas – especially if they filmed their experience.

So if anyone has a suitable tale to tell and is interested in appearing in the programme, please contact James Pope at DSP on +44 (0) 207 482 9641 or email james.pope@dsp.tv.

Posted: 23 April 2015


The 9th Red Bull X-Alps race, often said to be the toughest race on earth and now in its seventh incarnation, starts at Salzburg in Austria on July 5th.

The packed field of 33 pilots includes Brit Steve Nash, who has just returned from training in the heat of Brazil with fellow bivvy-exponent Dean Crosby. Steve will continue to train right up till the Salzburg start, when he will be flying a Nova Mentor 3 Light.

He will be supported in the race, as in 2011, by Richard Bungay, no stranger to organisation having run the British paragliding comps scene for several years.

For further information please visit the Red Bull website.

Posted: 22 March 2015

British Paramotor Open

This year's Paramotor Nationals will be a single five-day event event running from May 30th to June 3rd. The location will be West Mersea in Essex, home to Footflight Paramotors.

Entry will be in two classes: UK pilots and foreign guests contesting for the British Open trophy, with the British National Champion title awarded to the highest-placed UK pilot, and the Discovery class for pilots who want to try competing without feeling pressured or intimidated.

British Team pilots will talk on a range of topics and there will be constructive debriefings from Open task winners. There will be on-site camping with varied catering options. Free flying will be accommodated as much as possible.

The Event Director will be Comps Committee Chairman Paul Smith, with Mike Chilvers as Open Task Director. The Open entry fee is £85 (BHPA members: £55) including camping. Discovery class and free flyers: £10 per day plus £20 per couple/family for one or more nights camping.

For further information please visit the 2015 British Open website or e-mail contact@ppgcomps.co.uk.

Posted: 22 March 2015

RAeC awards for Adrian Thomas and Cloud 9

Current British Paragliding Champion Adrian Thomas is to be awarded the Royal Aero Club's Silver Medal for his outstanding achievement in helping to define new standards for FAI paragliding competitions.

Adrian, the BHPA's CIVL delegate, was drafted onto a working party to specify a new classification of competition wing after the 2012 Word Championships. His expertise, diplomacy and enthusiasm were key to agreement on the new CCC standard and he travelled widely to campaign for its acceptance.

The new standard was endorsed by delegates at the 2014 CIVL Plenary and World level competitions are now held on a safer and more equitable basis.

Graham and Kaz Phipps are to receive the RAeC's Anne Welch Memorial Award for their contribution to hang gliding and paragliding training over the last 30 years.

Originally operating part-time as Cornwall Hang Gliding Services, their business eventually became a full-time school offering training in the whole range of free flight activities. Cloud 9 have come to be regarded as among the finest exponents of BHPA flight training. Despite their remote location many students are prepared to travel long distances to train with them.

Both awards will be presented at the RAeC awards ceremony on May 12th at the RAF Club in London's Piccadilly.

Posted: 22 March 2015

First Manx flying school

Noel Humphreys, stalwart free-flyer and former CFI at SkyDragons Paragliding School in North Wales, has come out of retirement after a nine-year absence to form the Manx Paragliding School, the first ever BHPA school based on the Isle of Man.

Local club officials Dan Wood and Phil Swales expressed their delight in at last having a potential pool of new pilots to fill their uncluttered skies.

Posted: 22 March 2015

Aspres aerotow

Experienced aerotow pilots are invited to visit Jacques Bott's operation at Aspres near Laragne in France. They open the season with a big competition this month and have a further competition for Class 2 gliders in August.

For further information please visit the Ultralight Glider website.

Posted: 22 March 2015


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