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British Hang Gliding & Paragliding Association

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Skywings news items published in 2019 are displayed below.

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There are 27 news items for 2019 in our database.

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Skywings News - 2019

Powered Paraglider Improvements Survey

Cranfield University is undertaking research into possible upgrades to the conventional powered paraglider design. Both performance and safety aspects are assumed to be susceptible for further improvement, and researchers are calling for input from both paragliding and powered paragliding pilots to assist them to identify and explore possible improvements.

Paragliding (PG) and powered paragliding (PPG) pilots who would like to assist this research are asked to use the following link to complete an online survey:
Powered Paraglider Improvements Survey

The survey, which closes on the 30th September 2019, aims to obtain information about:

  1. Market share of each flying style
  2. General performance parameters
  3. Feeling of safety during different stages of flight
  4. Need for improvement
  5. Likeliness to re-buy improved gear
  6. Likeliness to switch from unpowered to improved powered

Cranfield University is a British postgraduate and research-based public university specialising in science, engineering, technology and management, and was originally founded as the College of Aeronautics in 1946.

Posted: 18 July 2019
By: Paul Dancey


Problems at Pyla

Pyla dunes under stressThe FFVL reports that the Dune de Pyla is under great stress from overcrowding. In the last few years increasing pilot numbers, bad practices (launching in high winds, poor airmanship, no helmets, etc) and numerous accidents have put the site at risk of permanent closure.

The FFVL asks all pilots to follow the widely publicised flying instructions and regulations, notably the new registration procedures for non-local groups, either French or foreign. Visiting pilots, whether individuals or groups now have an obligation to register with the FFVL. An online calendar at this address allows local site managers to 
regulate the number of visiting pilots - if there are already too many you will need to change your dates.

A maximum of ten pilots (including organisers) in a group, and 50 pilots using the site at one time, will be enforced, and unregistered groups will be asked to leave if the maximum number is exceeded. Professional group leaders are also reminded that
 all EU citizens wishing to work independently in France as sports educators are obliged to register on the French Ministry of Sports website. 
Full details of the Rules and Regulations for Paragliding and Hang gliding at Pyla are available on the FFVL website.

Posted: 10 July 2019
By: J. Schofield


New Paramotor Code

The Paramotor Code A neat document document is now available outlining the legalities of flying paramotors. At A4-folded size, among other topics it offers an overview of minimum heights and distances, the use of air charts, observance of airspace and legal in-flight visibility. The basic principle is 'Be safe, be aware, be legal, be insured, and see and be seen'.

The document, funded by the CAA and produced by the BHPA, follows a meeting between Association staff and the CAA's GA unit last October to discuss issues of paramotor pilots infringing airspace, and numerous reports of them breaking the low-flying rules.

The Paramotor Code is modelled on the CAA's successful Drone Code campaign. The CAA hope to inform non-BHPA paramotor pilots (who might not have been trained in airlaw) of the existence of the relevant rules and regulations. The objective is to encourage UK paramotor users to access the information they need about how to fly their aircraft safely and legally, without endangering others in the air or on the ground.

5,000 copies of the Paramotor Code, initially launched at Parafest in July, will be made available to clubs, dealers and manufacturers operating outside the ambit of the BHPA. Copies of the print version can be obtained from the BHPA office; it can also be downloaded as a pdf document on the Paramotor Code Website.

It is worth noting that the CAA's Enforcement team is now actively prosecuting pilots who break the law; their options include seeking the forfeiture and destruction of paramotoring equipment.

Posted: 10 July 2019
By: J. Schofield


Richard Carter wins Westgate Trophy

Richard Carter wins Westgate TrophyThe Westgate Trophy is usually awarded for declared FAI triangle and straight-line distance-to-goal flights. The 2018 winner, presented at the North-South Cup in May this year, was Richard Carter in recognition of his UK record 300.91km straight-line-to-goal flight from the Elan Valley to Scarborough in July 2018.

Past winners have been Mark Watts, Hugh Miller and Kirsty Cameron (2013), Mike Cavanagh (2014), Phil Wallbank (2015), Julian Robinson (2016) and Graham Steel (2017).

Richard Westgate - pioneer long-distance XC paraglider pilot and multiple XC League winner - put his own money up for an award, initially for the first pilot to obtain 1,000 points in the UK XC league. The Richard Westgate Trophy itself was funded by his many flying friends around the world following his untimely death.

Winners have to be dedicated highly skilled. It's not about flying in the windiest conditions imaginable; much more about site choice, launch timing, really good flying, a safe landing and a valid tracklog. If you are good enough, plan your year to try to get your hands on it.

Posted: 2 July 2019
By: J. Schofield


Leeds Bradford ACP rejected

In May the Airspace Change Proposal submitted in 2018 by Leeds Bradford Airport (LBA) was rejected by the CAA. First proposed five years ago, the final iteration of the proposal would have seen a vast area of West and North Yorkshire, including the Dales National Park, blanketed by an complex series of Control Areas with bases of 3,500ft - over terrain that rises to 1,500ft in places. The proposed airspace would have severely restricted XC flying for Dales, Derbyshire and Pennine pilots.

Local BHPA and BGA representatives formed a Regional Soaring Airspace Group (RSAG) and, supported by clubs and members, objected to the proposal on the grounds that it could not be justified, and that the safety of those outside of controlled airspace had not been properly addressed. The RSAG also protested that the LBA had not adhered to the ACP process.

Scrutiny of the proposal by the CAA's Safety and Airspace Regulation Group found that issues surrounding future expansion were not adequately justified and that the sponsors had provided ambiguous, reactive responses to the consultees. The consultation itself had been poor - more of an exercise in box-ticking.

The BGA recently employed a barrister to 'remind' the CAA of its responsibilities. Westminster has recognised the need for scrutiny of the CAA by forming the APPG [see below]. Lasham, with financial assistance from the BHPA, has launched an appeal for a judicial review of the Farnborough decision. It may be that the tide is turning.

It remains to be seen if LBA will try again; their professed need will not have gone away. The CAA's full response can be found on the CAA website.

Posted: 5 June 2019
By: J. Schofield


Welsh land-access shake-up

In April the Welsh Government announced proposals for significant changes to rights-of-way legislation. These are wide ranging and include measures to ensure dogs are kept on leads around livestock, to give farmers more flexibility in managing their land, and to grant horse riders, cyclists and others - including free flyers - the freedom to use many footpaths. Currently recreational users can access only 20 per cent of the rights-of-way network.

Open access land such as expanses of moorlands - e.g. the Berwyn mountains - will also see certain restrictions lifted, including for hang gliding and paragliding. Organised games and camping will however still be largely prohibited without prior permission. The Welsh Government had originally proposed to open up its rights of way in 2017, to widespread public support. Some minor changes are likely to happen fairly quickly; in the longer term an independent access reform group will consider more significant changes. Please note that these changes are at present proposals only; until new freedoms are formally notified there are no changes to land access in Wales. Ther announcement is a positive statement but there's some way to go yet.

Posted: 5 June 2019
By: J. Schofield


RAFA40 team succeeds

On April 12th Giles Fowler and Paul Mockford touched down at RAF Halton, Bucks, having flown their paramotors over 44 current and former RAF airfields in the previous two days. The flight was to raise funds for the Royal Air Forces Association, the long-established charity that provides welfare support to the 'RAF Family'. Together they covered more than 265 miles in ten hours of flying, so far raising more than £2200 for the RAFA.

The flight was split over six legs, starting from the former Bomber Command airfield at RAF Goxhill in Lincolnshire. Support throughout the flight - fuel, necessary spares, supplies, etc - was provided by fellow paramotorists Katie Pagett and Andy Greaves. The route took them over Lincolnshire and Northamptonshire, overnighting at Sywell Aerodrome before the final legs covering Bedfordshire and Buckinghamshire.

The flight covered a number of historic wartime and post-war bases including Elsham Wolds, Hemswell, Scampton, Swinderby, Waddington, Digby, Cranwell, Cottesmore and Wittering, before the final landing at the legendary RAF Halton, originally established as No. 1 School of Technical Training in 1919, where Paul Mockford's father runs the RAFA Branch. You can still contribute to their fundraising on the Just Giving website.

Posted: 5 June 2019
By: J. Schofield


Girard conquers the Andes

French paraglider pilot Antoine_GirardFrench paraglider pilot Antoine Girard recently returned from Chile having completed the first ever paraglider crossing of the central Andes. In doing so he became the first ever paraglider pilot to fly above the summit of Aconcagua, at 6,962m the highest peak in the Americas. 

Antoine's 100+km flight from Argentina to Chile took three and a quarter hours and reached 7,200m. During his expedition he also claimed Rob Whittall's 25-year-old world height gain record and recorded Chile's biggest-ever FAI triangle at 129km. In 2016 Antoine soared to over 8,100m in the Karakoram and in 2107 was nominated National Geographic magazine's Adventurer of the Year.

Posted: 28 April 2019
By: J. Schofield


Skywings news last updated: 19 July 2019 at 10:18:16 AM

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