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There are 52 news items for 2017 in our database.

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Skywings News - 2017

BHPA AGM 2018

The BHPA's 2018 Annual General Meeting will be held at Nottingham's Belfry Hotel (adjacent to Junction 26 of the M1) on Saturday February 17th, in tandem with the BGA AGM and trade exhibition.

The meeting will include the election of officers to the BHPA Executive Committee, officers' reports and a members' discussion forum. At this early stage, any BHPA member considering seeking nomination for election should contact Chairman Marc Asquith or another Exec member to find out what's involved.

Posted: 1 August 2017
By: Paul Dancey


Paragliding Worlds - Brits 4th!

Paragliding WorldsBritain's four-man team finished a remarkable fourth at the 15th FAI World Paragliding Championships at Monte Avena in Italy, July 1st - 15th, (Photo by Martin Scheel).

Guy Anderson finished second, just five points shy of winner Pierre Remy. Fellow Frenchman and 2015 World Champion Honorin Hamard was third. The Brits continually improved their game over ten tasks ranging from 45 to 117km, rising from 13th place after five tasks to 7th on the penultimate day after an earlier fifth-place finish by Guy. He then won the final task to lift himself to within a sniff of the overall win and the Brits to 4th place.

The other members of the British team were Seb Ospina (14th), Julian Robinson (20th) and Idris Birch (75th). France took the team title for the third time, ahead of Slovenia and Switzerland. The top ten pilots all flew Ozone's Enzo 3 as did Sebastian; Julian and Idris were aboard Gin's Boomerang 11. The top three women pilots were France's 2015 World and 2014 European Champion Seiko Fukuoka, Australia's Kari Ellis and Silvia Buzzi Ferraris of Italy, all flying Ozone wings. We offer our congratulations to all concerned.. The Brits continually improved their game over ten tasks ranging from 45 to 117km, rising from 13th place after five tasks to 7th on the penultimate day after an earlier fifth-place finish by Guy. He then won the final task to lift himself to within a sniff of the overall win and the Brits to 4th place.

The other members of the British team were Seb Ospina (14th), Julian Robinson (20th) and Idris Birch (75th). France took the team title for the third time, ahead of Slovenia and Switzerland. The top ten pilots all flew Ozone's Enzo 3 as did Sebastian; Julian and Idris were aboard Gin's Boomerang 11. The top three women pilots were France's 2015 World and 2014 European Champion Seiko Fukuoka, Australia's Kari Ellis and Silvia Buzzi Ferraris of Italy, all flying Ozone wings. We offer our congratulations to all concerned.

Posted: 1 August 2017
By: Paul Dancey


Parafest: from strength to strength!

Parafest 2017This year's Parafest was held at the same site as last year. By the weekend of the event the campsite was rammed even fuller than last year (Photo by Clive Mason).

There were many more traders' stands than in previous years and the event field, immediately adjacent to the camping field, was well filled. Stands ranged from paramotor manufacturers selling their wares to wood carvings and general clothing. A range of food outlets provided varied fare, from the standard burger bar to a veggie street-food outlet, and there was of course a bar!

BHPA Technical Officers Mark Shaw and Ian Currer put up a small marquee to provide revision lectures and examinations to help experienced paramotor pilots obtain their BHPA Power rating. 15 existing BHPA pilots obtained their Power Pilot or Club Pilot rating, four members who would not otherwise have renewed did so and also obtained their Power Rating, and three pilots joined for the first time and obtained their Power Rating.

A total of 27 exams were taken and the proprietors of three schools currently outside the BHPA expressed interest in becoming BHPA Registered. Since the work on paratrikes and the obtaining of the exemption making it legal for them to fly, the BHPA is seen in a much more positive way by the power community.

Being thoroughly rained off, Friday was a good day to sit an exam. Saturday and Sunday made up for Friday's loss with decreasing winds and bright sunshine. Organiser Mark Meadows gets an unreserved thumbs-up for his event, apparently conceived and executed almost single handedly.

Posted: 1 August 2017
By: Paul Dancey


Avian changes hands

Parafest 2017Tim Swait is now confirmed as the new owner of Avian, a contract having been signed on July 5th.

Steve Elkins will continue to provide assistance and support. The handover marks the end of Steve's 28 years at the helm of what has become the UK's last hang glider manufacturer, during which time he saw off the two former giants of the British industry. With a Master's degree and a PhD in Aerospace Engineering, Tim is eminently qualified to take over.

His years specialising in carbon-fibre composites at world-leading research institute provide the background to introduce advanced manufacturing innovations at Avian. We look forward to Avian becoming a major force in hang gliding.

"I'm looking forward to the hard work of actually building gliders," says Tim. "Thanks to everyone who provided support throughout this process. Let the next chapter of Avian begin!"

Posted: 1 August 2017
By: Paul Dancey


Ollie tries wingwalking!

Ollie ChittyAt Sywell in early May, Ollie Chitty got towed up to 5,000ft by the Flylight's prototype FoxTug trike. After releasing and making a few practice passes, Ollie successfully managed to land on the wing of the FoxTug for a quick touch and go.

Tug pilot Ben Ashman: "I could see Ollie getting into position through the sail of the FoxTug. Being translucent, it was like looking through a shower screen - quite a blurred image. Suddenly, two feet appeared in sharp clarity followed by quite a physical thump."

For reasons unknown, both pilots are reported to have been overcome by a fit of the giggles immediately afterwards. We recommend, of course, that BHPA members do not try this at home!

Posted: 28 June 2017
By: Paul Dancey


Brilliant Buttermere Bash!

Buttermere BashBlue skies and fair winds greeted paraglider pilots and outdoor lovers at the 10th anniversary Buttermere Bash on the first weekend in June.

The idyllic location became a mini village as children discovered the joys of playing outside all day and grown-ups rediscovered the art of conversation. Pilots were treated to some great flying as Jocky Sanderson and Al Westle set ambitious tasks in the Lakeland Charity Open - Friday saw a race to goal at Penrith and Saturday a 50-mile race from Latrigg to Hexham where two pilots made goal.

On Saturday evening a helicopter transported the show pilots to the summit of Robinson but the weather was starting to turn. Organiser Gordie Oliver called in the Osprey Skydive Display team from nearby Flookburgh but the conditions were just too turbulent and their jump had to be abandoned. Eventually a brave acro pilot took advantage of a lull in the wind to perform a number of tricks, but on final approach the wind had the last say and dumped him into the lake close to the shore. Screams and shouts of appreciation from the 800-odd spectators echoed around the valley as the bedraggled pilot saluted his adoring public. An evening of music and merriment lay ahead, the quality of which many top events would struggle to better.

The Bash is a unique event, bringing together people from all walks of life to share the little bit of heaven which is Buttermere for one special week each year. This year's event has raised over £2,500 for local charities and good causes including the local Air Ambulance and Mountain Rescue, and Motor Neurone Disease research. (Photo by Tom McNally)

Posted: 28 June 2017
By: Paul Dancey


464km non-stop by paramotor!

Giles FowlerGiles Fowler completed his long-planned coast to coast paramotor flight in support of Cancer Research UK on Wednesday June 7th, flying from the former RAF Brawdy in West Wales to Beccles in Suffolk in five hours 31 minutes. The trip was meticulously planned and, with met assistance from fellow RAF Officer Matt Tandy, Giles picked a perfect slot in blustery weather to make the attempt. Launching at 11.55, Giles cruised east at just under 3,000ft at ground speeds of up to 100km/h. "Over the Black Mountains things got really rough and I started to wonder what I was doing here," said Giles. "It stayed that way for the next 50km - I was encountering wave off the mountains!"

At Beccles local paramotor pilots and the airfield operator, himself a paramotorist, waited to assist in gaining control of Giles's Dudek Hadron 22 canopy in the still strong and gusting wind. Giles kept the wing in check and touched down safely to a very well deserved round of applause. The inspiration for the flight was his friend Clarisse Hamilton's breast cancer diagnosis and subsequent treatment. "If I can save one person's life through this then I have done my job. Clarisse has been given a second chance at life and I want to give someone else that." Clarisse's partner Dempster was driving ground support but such was Giles's progress in the strong winds aloft that when he landed at Beccles at 5.30pm Dempster was still battling round the M25.

Power for the flight came from a standard Bailey V5 four-stroke with beautifully-made extra tankage by Paul Bailey. About four litres remained of Giles's 26-litre fuel load when he landed. Giles remained on course throughout the flight, visible to followers on Livetracking, and crosswind flying was required only for the last section. No UK record has yet been recorded so Giles will be able to claim it at 464.24km. Those who witnessed his difficult landing will attest that this flight was no picnic. To contribute to Giles's fundraising efforts please visit the JustGiving website, or Giles's FaceBook page.

Posted: 28 June 2017
By: Paul Dancey


New wind and weather resources in Europe

In 2014 a young windsurfer and paraglider pilot from Grenoble became obsessed with the idea of reliable onsite wind and weather information. Nicolas Baldeck began creating and testing his own garage-made wind station - a 200-euro wind station called Pioupiou. Within a week of alerting paragliding clubs Nicolas had received 90 orders and today, having expanded using crowdfunding, Pioupiou now sells factory-built units guaranteed for life for about 600 euros.

A complementary system to the FFVL balises (flying site wind stations) which broadcast on the official vol-libre frequency of 143.9875MHz, Pioupiou stations are accessed via their own website in French and English. The stations - there are 600 of them! - upload their data to the cloud using the Sigfox network which uses ultra-low frequency radio carrying very small amounts of data. As a result power consumption is very low and the units need only a tiny solar panel. The resulting info is available online without subscription.

Not content with the democratisation of onsite wind stations, Nicolas is also the man behind France's Meteo Parapente - a revolutionary RASP-based weather forecasting website which has rapidly become the go-to resource for French pilots. The site is incredibly well thought out and simple to use, once you've had a quick look at the explanatory tutorial pages.

British pilots crossing the channel now have two very useful new tools at their disposal. The Pioupiou website and Meteo-Parapente website.

Posted: 13 June 2017
By: Paul Dancey


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