British Hang Gliding & Paragliding Association

British Hang Gliding and Paragliding Association

Skywings Archived News

Skywings Archived News - Dec 2008

Three break world distance record!

Sol's XC Northeast Expedition record camp at Quizada came good on November 14th when Frank Brown, Marcelo Prieto and Monteiro Saladini all beat Will Gadd's 2002 world record of 423km. All flying Sol Tracers, the three pilots took off soon after 7am and flew together to land at the same spot after 461.8km.

There was rain early in the day and several other pilots decided not to launch, yet by 1pm the trio had already covered 280km. At 4:45 Frank Brown called on the radio to say that they were still airborne at 423km and climbing through 6,000ft.

An hour later the three pilots landed, having been in the air for over nine hours. Rafael Saladini had already flown 397km and Marcelo Prietro 414km in October. The November flight is the first time three pilots have set a new world record at the same time.

John Dickenson honoured

An FAI Hang Gliding Diploma has been awarded to Australia's John Dickenson in recognition of his eminent contribution to the development of the sport of hang gliding.

John was the first to put together all the elements of the hang glider as we know it, successfully flying his Ski Wing at the Jacaranda Festival in Grafton NSW in September 1963. Although the original, constructed at a cost of $24, had wooden leading edges, a steel A-frame and a sail made of plastic sheeting, it was the forerunner of almost all subsequent hang gliders and thus has a secure place in the history of the sport.

John's role in hang glider development was not widely recognised, even in Australia, until Skywings published an article by Mark Woodhams under the title "Who really invented the flex-wing hang glider?" in May 1993. John was made an honorary life member of the BHPA in 1993 alongside Dr Francis Rogallo, originator of the flexible-wing concept. Dr Rogallo was awarded an FAI Hang Gliding Diploma in 1982. It is good to see FAI acknowledgement of John's role in the birth of hang gliding, nearly 44 years after his wing first flew!

Atos VQ waiting list

AIR report that demand for new Atos VQ has been so great that they have a full order book until the beginning of March. "This is the best order book we have ever had," says boss Felix Ruehle. "Perhaps some pilots have held off buying a rigid for some time and now felt this model was the one for them. I just hope that it continues right through to the end of 2008 and doesn't suddenly stop." Quicker rigging, a faster roll rate and improved static balance have made the VQ the most accessible of the AIR rigids.

Paramotor records

British paramotor Champion and World Bronze Medallist Michel Carnet has lodged two tandem paramotor speed record claims. On November 11th, with Dave Smith as passenger, he clocked 37.11km over a straight 15 - 25km course and 32.83km/h over a 50km closed circuit. Both flights, which were made in the Brighton area in the UK using a Dudek Orca wing, await official ratification by the FAI.

Nova signs new test pilot

Nova has hired 25-year-old Austrian Alex Höllwarth to join its research and development team. Alex will join Mario Eder, Walter Holzm├╝ller and the legendary Toni Bender.

"Good test pilots are hard to find," reports Nova's Wolfi Lechner. "We need an excellent pilot who can also communicate his experiences and ideas so that our engineers can draw the right conclusions. Alex is extremely talented and highly professional despite his young age."

Nicky Moss to recreate eagle attack

Nicky Moss is travelling to Australia to recreate her eagle attack for the Discovery Channel. Nicky will meet eagle specialists at Taronga Zoo and film with trained eagles to relive the moment when she was attacked by eagles at Australia's Killarney Classic last January.

Two wedge-tailed eagles dived on her, ripped her canopy and chased her 2,000m to the ground. The incident was reported in hundreds of national newspapers and many TV and radio stations around the world. "At the time I was just shocked and scared," said Nicky. "I was simply happy to be on the ground and I didn't realise there was going to be such media interest. I had a week of constant interview requests and my phone was ringing off the hook." The show will air on the Discovery Channel next year.


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