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British Hang Gliding & Paragliding Association

British Hang Gliding and Paragliding Association

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Skywings news items published in 2020 are displayed below.

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There are 58 news items for 2020 in our database.

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Skywings News - 2020

Klaudia documentary

Polish paragliding superstar Klaudia BulgakovYou Never Know, a new documentary featuring Polish paragliding superstar Klaudia Bulgakov, premiered on June 27th.

It charts Klaudia's journey from entering paragliding 15 years ago, via becoming women's world champion in 2013, to her continued pursuit of excellence, shared joy with friends and motivating others to follow their dreams.

It's inspiring stuff, with very high production values. You Never Know is available online.

Posted: 4 July 2020
By: J. Schofield


First post-Covid records

UP paraglider pilot Sebastien Kayrouz set North American straight distance and free-distance-via-three-turnpoints records at 503km on June 8th, from Camp Wood in Texas, aboard an Ozone Mantra 7.

12 days later Owen Morse reset the world hang gliding out-and-return record to 358km aboard a Wills Wing T3, exceeding Thomas Weissenberger's 2013 record by just 5km. The flight was made northabout from Bartlett in the Owens Valley. 700km in the Owens - respect is due! 

Posted: 4 July 2020
By: J. Schofield


BHPA Shop Re-opens

The BHPA online shop has re-opened.

And as a result, you can once again order a wide range of items, including some of the best books on paragliding, hang gliding, foot launched powered aircraft, and related topics, online 24/7.

Unfortunately, due to reduced staffing levels,  we are currently only able to dispatch orders on a Friday.

Posted: 14 June 2020
By: Paul Dancey


CANP reporting online!

CANP app screenshotBHPA members Pete Logan and Chris Williams have developed an online app that makes filing a CANP request a work of seconds.

Previously, requesting a NOTAM via CANP (Civil Aircraft Notification Procedure) by phone or e-mail, to notify low-level military aircrew and others of our activities, could be a slow and cumbersome process.

The new app is simplicity itself. If you are planning weekday flying, go to CANP for free fliers.

Ideally do this the previous day before 20:00. Check to see if anyone has already requested a NOTAM for your site for the day. If not, fill in the online form including the site and date, add your contact details and press SUBMIT. It couldn't be easier!

An overview of the CANP system and further information about the CANP for free fliers app are available in the safety documents area of this website.

 

Posted: 12 June 2020
By: J. Schofield


Wayne Seeley

XC star Wayne SeeleyOn June 2nd southern paragliding XC star Wayne Seeley, 40, died following a collision with power cables when landing out at Eastington near Stroud, not far from his home.

Wayne was one of our sport's great personalities who had been flying since he was 15. Learning his craft from Richard Westgate, Graham Steel and others, he went on to log nearly 50 100km flights, many from the XCLent winch and his home site of Frocester.

Many pilots who knew or had been helped to improve by Wayne will join us in offering our sympathies to his friends and family, not least his partner Leanna.

Posted: 12 June 2020
By: J. Schofield


Longest European flight of 2020

Ukrainian paraglider pilot Bogdan Baziuk1 On May 21st Ukrainian paraglider pilot Bogdan Baziuk flew 353.3km across the flatlands of Ukraine - the longest flight to date in Europe this season.

Bogdan made the flight at an average speed of over 46km/h on an EN C Nova Sector.

Bogdan already holds the European straight-distance record at 429km, set in 2015. Is 500km possible in Europe? Are the flatlands over Ukraine, Belarus and Poland about to become the new Brazil?

Posted: 12 June 2020
By: J. Schofield


BHPA guidelines on flying XC in England

In the light of the English Government's amended guidelines issued on 4 June 2020, the BHPA guidelines on flying XC can now change.

You can now fly XC in England when you have a retrieve arranged from an outlanding with someone from your own household in a private car.

XC in Scotland and Wales remains prohibited by their national rules. It is also not permitted to fly XC from England into Scotland or Wales.

Posted: 7 June 2020
By: Paul Dancey


Coronavirus – Covid-19 Update

Here is the promised update for flying in the UK, outside England.

Apologies for the length of this posting - we suggest you scroll down to the Country you are interested in.

One issue appears clear, except in very unusual circumstances ( for instance you live within 100 metres of a border ) you should neither fly nor drive across national borders for the purposes of hang gliding or paragliding.

Let's start with a reminder of the overarching guidelines which apply to all of the UK:

* Comply with any guidance from the local BHPA club, who you must contact before visiting any area with the intention of flying;

* Ensure that the landowner's permission has been gained before you go to a flying site;

* Be aware that Mountain Rescue cover may be limited or not currently available in some areas;

* Try to minimise travel distances, and travel in a private vehicle only with members of your own household;

* Maintain social distancing and don't share unsterilised equipment;

* Be alert to the risks of touching locks and gates; use a suitable hand sanitiser before and after contact;

* You may approach one other person from outside your household, but only if you maintain 2m distancing;

* Other than this one person, you should maintain a significant separation from all other people (to avoid any suggestion of creating a gathering);

[These distancing requirements do not apply in an emergency situation]

* Do not fly XC in Great Britain. ( England, Scotland or Wales )

* Be safe, and aware of the risks that your own lack of currency creates, and remember that you may be sharing the air with other pilots who are at least as rusty;

* Wash your hands before and after you go.

Turning to the individual Countries:

WALES

After receiving further information and clarification on the situation in Wales it now appears that there can be a limited return of flying in Wales, subject to conditions about staying local (approx. 5 miles from home) and social distancing.

Please also note that you should not be travelling outside of your local area into Wales either.

The government in Wales states:-

Can I travel to do sports outside my local area?

If your preferred form of exercise or leisure is one that can only be undertaken in specific locations, this still needs to be carried out locally. Examples of this might include golf, angling or watersports. If there is a place where you can do these within your local area, then you are free to do so, but it would not be permissible to drive outside your local area for these purposes. That said, it is important not to risk spreading the virus by breaking that exercise and stopping or congregating with others outside your local area. Crowded places should be avoided, and social distancing should be maintained. The rules on gathering with others also mean that while you can now exercise with people from one other household, group activities are still not allowed.

Outdoor activity.

Developing scientific evidence demonstrates that virus that caused Covid-19 decays quickly (a few minutes) in strong sunlight (SAGE paper SAGE35-2d). This means that being outdoors gives a much lower risk of transmission than being indoors. In light of this, there are no longer legal restrictions on the type of outdoor activity you can undertake within your local area, how often you can go outdoors or how long you spend outside. Indeed, exercise and other outdoor recreation is generally beneficial for health and wellbeing, and so it is strongly encouraged.

Useful Links

Welsh Government - Stay local to keep Wales safe
Welsh Government - Guidance Changes Coronavirus Regulations 1 June 2020
Welsh Government - Changes Coronavirus Regulations 1 June 2020 FAQ

SCOTLAND

Guidance from the Scottish Hang Gliding and Paragliding Federation ( SHPF )

Following the First Minister's announcement today, here is the SHPF's guidance document aimed at getting pilots back to flying, where possible, safely and within the government regulations. This has been prepared in collaboration with the Scottish Government and, after quite a bit of editing, has been officially approved by them this morning. We are grateful to Sport Scotland in helping us achieve this official approval for our sports. There is a lot of detail in the document. The key messages are: *Lockdown phase 1 starts from tomorrow - 29th May. *'Exercise' will be allowed reasonably close to your home - advice is circa 5 miles. This will include ground handling and local flying for those who can reach a launch. *XC (landing out), acro, aerotow and winch operations are not allowed. Tandems within the same household only. *All travel and activity must take place with public health and safety as the foremost concern and the numerous appropriate measures explained in the document should be observed. *STAY LOCAL * TAKE IT EASY * PLAN AHEAD * BE RESPONSIBLE This is only the first step in getting us flying and obviously doesn't help those of us who do not live anywhere near a launch. However, to be able to get out and ground handle is a good step forward. We don't know when we will enter Phase 2 - when we can travel further to fly but the indications are that (as long as infection rates do not go up again) this could be in about a month.

Introduction

The aim of this document is to equip the free flying community with the information that they may need in order to reach their own decisions about returning to free flying in Scotland, as the Scottish Government's coronavirus restrictions are eased,
which will start in a phased manner on 29th May 2020.

The SHPF exists to represent the sports of hang gliding and paragliding within Scotland. The SHPF represents eight constituent clubs and schools, and is itself a member of the
BHPA, which represents free flight sports at the UK level. The SHPF is not a regulatory body, and does not seek to create or enforce rules governing free flight. It is, however, a strong proponent of the BHPA-led approach to free flying.

An Easing of Lockdown Restrictions

The response of the Scottish free flying community to the Covid-19 crisis has been exemplary; thank you to everybody who has resisted the frustration and temptation that we have all experienced, and refrained from flying during the lockdown.
As the lockdown restrictions will now be eased from 29th May, many will be wondering how and when they can take to the air once more. The keys to this will be for individuals to take a sensible and measured approach, while keeping within the law and Covid-19 related guidance, following BHPA & SHPF guidance, and bearing in mind the consequences of their actions on the free flying and wider communities. It cannot be stressed enough that the easing of lockdown does not mean a return to normal.

The Scottish Government have made the following points very clear to us:

● Phase 1 of the easing of lockdown should be considered an extension of exercise,not a return to sport.
● You may travel to take part in exercise activities within five miles of your home (broadly) but where possible you are advised to walk or cycle.
● All activity must be consistent with current Scottish Government guidance on health, physical distancing and hygiene.
● IMPORTANT: Do not leave your home to undertake exercise or outdoor activity if Scottish Government advice means you should stay at home because you or someone you live with has or has had symptoms of COVID-19, or you are in the most vulnerable category and have been advised to shield from the coronavirus.
● The Scottish Government is keen to keep a return to exercise and sport rolling forward, but this relies upon us all following the guidance and safeguarding the public and ourselves.

Flying Law

The CAA's position on General Aviation during the lockdown was that General Aviation was precluded by the “Stay at Home” order. Once that order is lifted or eased so that pilots can reach launch, there is no legal obstacle to free flight, as we understand it.

The SHPF have been in liaison with the BHPA on this matter and will update the community if anything changes.

BHPA and Insurance
The BHPA's advice will be updated on its website and Facebook page. Please bear in mind that some guidance issued by the BHPA relates to England and is not compatible with Phase 1 in Scotland, where tighter restrictions remain in place. BHPA members' third-party liability insurance has not changed throughout the lockdown period. However, it is vital to remember that your BHPA insurance only covers you if you are adhering to BHPA rules and the law, and 'take reasonable precautions to prevent any occurrence which may give rise to liability'. The advice of the SHPF to its members is that if
you fly outwith the guidance offered in this document, with regard to the phases, you may find yourself uninsured in the event of an incident.

Communication

The SHPF will also seek to inform members as the situation changes throughout the various phases of lockdown. This will allow pilots to respond rapidly to the changing environment,
based on the best information available.

Scottish Government Phased Approach to Easing Lockdown

In late May the Scottish Government announced its plan for a four-phase approach to releasing lockdown. Central to this plan is the fact that if Covid cases go back up, or if individual sports are perceived to be putting the public at risk, we will be moved back into a higher state of lockdown.

The SHPF have worked with the Scottish Government to agree a set of guidelines for the free flying community under the various phases. Phases 2-4 are still under consideration.

Guidance for Phase 1 is as follows:

Yes to: ground handling and flying at sites that you can walk, cycle or drive to broadly within five miles of your home. The First Minister stated on 22 May that five miles will not be a strict limit, but it is a guide.

Tandem flying within the same household only.

No to: cross country flying (landing out), aerobatics, aerotow, winch operations or face-to face schooling.

Key Risks

The SHPF perceive three main risks in the return to free flying in a Covid-19 environment.

They are:

1. Risk of spreading Covid-19.
2. Risk of accident and the impact on both pilot and emergency services.
3. Risk of reputational damage to our sports.

The following tackles these risks in turn.

1. Risk of spreading Covid-19 Until a pilot launches, they are basically a hill walker. Please follow the Mountaineering
Scotland website for excellent advice on accessing the hills in a Covid-19 environment. The following is our guidance on how to get to launch safely and within the government's public
health guidelines.

Social Distancing
As we go out ground handling and to flying sites. It will be important to maintain social distancing (2m apart) from other hillwalkers, pilots and the general public. Some things to
consider:

● Stay at home if you are showing symptoms of Covid-19 or should be self-isolating from contact with someone suspected to be infected with Covid-19.
● If you fall within a high-risk group, do not risk infection through joining others, even though it is outdoors and with special measures in place.
● Bear in mind that you may be asymptomatic, and act accordingly, maintaining social distancing.
● If, in the later phases, you wish to fly cross country, think about your retrieve.
Hitchhiking and public transport are not good options for the time being. Can you arrange a private retrieve? Fly an out and return or triangle? Be prepared for a long
walk!
● Avoid sites with a high footfall of the general public - so-called 'honeypots'.
● Don't share vehicles or equipment with other pilots.
Health, Safety & Hygiene
● Until better data is available, assume the virus is resilient outdoors and take measures to avoid transmission. Follow Health Protection Scotland's guidance regarding hand-washing. Be vigilant with hand hygiene when touching surfaces, such as gates, equipment etc. In particular, use gloves or alcohol gel/wipes after touching any surfaces.
● Bring your own food and water out with you, so as to avoid shops. And bear in mind that many public toilets will be closed.
● Follow travel restrictions outlined by the Scottish Government, which can be found on
the ScotGov website. (About five miles in phase 1.)

2. Risk of accident and the impact on both pilot and emergency services.
Currency and Risk Management
The following tools are advised for pilots of all levels as they approach their first flight after a long period of lay-off during lockdown.
● Every activity you partake in should be dynamically risk assessed with the key consideration being safety first, particularly your safety and minimising the risk of infection or transmission.
● Low airtime pilots should consider seeking advice from club coaches.
● One or more sessions of ground handling before your first flight would be an excellent idea.
● Thoroughly check your kit, including that your reserve is secure, and conduct comprehensive pre-flight checks.

After a long period of no flying, none of us is current. On launch, ask yourself some hard questions:
● Am I unfamiliar with the site?
● Is the launch difficult, daunting, or unforgiving of mistakes?
● Have others ever been concerned about my attitude, competence, or safety?
● Are the forecast or actual conditions even slightly concerning to me?
Now more than ever, avoiding an accident is vitally important. Think about your margins. Temper your ambition. Now is not the time to be pushing your limits, nor to be drawn off the
hill just because others are flying and you don't want to miss out. If you answered yes to any of the above questions, consider waiting for a better opportunity to fly with more margin for error; perhaps a morning or evening flight off a known local hill.

If you decide to fly, let someone know your intentions, discuss conditions with other pilots (while adhering to all government advice on safe physical separation), use your SPOT or inReach, and fly with others.

The Impact of an Accident on You and Emergency Services

The following advice is issued through consultation with Chris diRollo, Chief Medical Officer of the Dundonnell Mountain Rescue Team.

The pressures and restrictions that Covid-19 place on medical staff and emergency services will have a significant impact on the way you would be rescued and treated in the event of an
accident.

It is important to consider some of the following:
● Until there is a vaccine for Covid-19, emergency services have to wear PPE when attending casualties. This means that helicopters will almost certainly not attend accidents unless life is at risk as crew cannot wear PPE, which is incompatible with their equipment.
● The complications of rescue in a Covid-19 environment mean that rescue may take a lot longer than normal.
● Mountain Rescue Teams (MRTs) are currently advised not to administer airway adjuncts or CPR.
● Pressure on frontline medical staff may affect the way in which you are treated in hospital.
● Remember that in the Covid 19 environment, a rescue is likely to place unique stress on the members of all agencies involved. The Scottish Mountain Rescue website is a good source of information about the challenges of mountain
rescues in the Covid-19 environment.
“The single biggest issue in rescuing a casualty from an outdoor setting during the current situation is the amount of personnel involved. All rescues are multi-agency, usually involving the Police, Mountain Rescue, Ambulance Service, Coastguard SAR and possibly the Air Ambulance and Fire Service. A casualty that is Covid positive could expose all those people involved and their families that they return to. All rescue personnel will assume that a casualty is positive, so will require full PPE.”

Chris DiRollo, Dundonnell MRT

3. Risk of reputational damage to our sports.

Landowner Relationships

Remember that our behaviour during the Covid-19 crisis may affect our relationship with landowners for a long time into the future. This will be particularly relevant where special
arrangements and vehicular access has been negotiated historically. The key will be to communicate with farmers and other landowners as appropriate. Regional Clubs will know which sites require conversations with particular landowners.

Outdoor Access

While the Scottish Outdoor Access Code remains in place, please be aware that the access that you have enjoyed across private land previously may not be automatically granted during this crisis. Please read the guidance issued for access during the pandemic.

Please be aware that Forest and Land Scotland (formerly Forestry Commission) car parks were closed under the lockdown. This may change - keep an eye on the Forest & Land Scotland website.

Public Perception, PR and Press

Also be aware that, even after flying is legal again, public perception towards pilots may vary. Think about how you would react in the event of being challenged. Also think before
you post flying photos or videos on social media. It only takes one person to copy your images to the wrong place and we could have a public relations problem, which could negatively affect us all.

SHPF Support

In the event of an incident or if you encounter a problem that you think could have repercussions on the free flying community, please contact us. We are here to help if we can
- committee@shpf.co.uk

NORTHERN IRELAND

During the COVID-19 pandemic many outdoor recreation sites and associated facilities across Northern Ireland have been closed or had reduced access. As restrictions are easing, sites and facilities are gradually reopening on a phased basis.

Enjoy a healthy and safe visit to our outdoors

Plan ahead

Plan your day around your needs and what will be available.

Check the site and facilities you need, such as car parks and toilets, are open before you leave home.

You can travel for outdoor recreation, but consider if you need to until all the services you need are open again - for example, car parks, toilets, baby changing, playgrounds.

Before you go check websites for ideas of places to visit close to you and to check whether facilities are open.

If the site is very busy, social distancing may be difficult and it would be wise to consider another venues.

Keep roads clear
Car parks may be full so don't park outside of designated parking spaces or on verges or gateways. Make sure the Emergency Services, local farmers or local residents will be able to pass by and to access fields, forests, or houses. If a car park is full, go somewhere else.

Stay safe and healthy
The following tips should help you and others stay safe and healthy when visiting outdoor sites as restrictions are gradually lifted. Continue to be considerate to others and don't put stresses on the NHS and other emergency services. These are in addition to government protocols and public health guidelines.

-be especially mindful of not gathering or lingering around key points such as car parks, bridges, gates, information points, summits or for photos

-barbeques take time, can be a fire risk and are hard to clear up after - for now have them at home but not in outdoor recreation spaces

-consider using face masks in more frequently used areas such as car parks

-choose a quiet location, a quiet time and be considerate of other visitors/users

-stay a few hours, not all day

-avoid popular sites - if there are lots of people it will be more difficult to stay two metres apart from others and observe social distancing

-respect staff and volunteers and signage are there to help to keep everyone safe and healthy - follow their instructions
don't risk injury - protect the NHS and emergency services - now is not the time to end up in hospital

-for now choose familiar locations - choose a safer activity - choose an activity within your existing skills and experience level - stick to low risk routes that you are familiar and comfortable with

-if you're planning a visit to the coast then check the weather forecast and tide times - follow safety advice, keep a close eye on your family - and don't use inflatables

Health advice

Hand hygiene
Clean your hands before and after your visit. Follow public health guidelines on handwashing and remember hand hygiene if you touch any surfaces.

Toilets and facilities may not be open so consider this when planning your visit and make other arrangements for keeping your hands clean as required.

'Leave No Trace'

keep your dog under control - don't let your dog go near other people and their dogs, cyclists, livestock and wildlife - it is difficult to retrieve a dog while observing social distancing.
never let your dog worry or attack farm animals wildlife may have got used to you not being there and nested somewhere close by - please give nature some space to flourish leave gates as you find them

Take your rubbish home

You can help everyone by taking your own litter home with you, especially at a time when staff and volunteers may be deployed elsewhere on site or reduced in numbers due to shielding.

Outdoor recreation sites updates

Find up-to-date information about the current status of opening of informal outdoor recreation sites, such as country parks, forests, beaches, nature reserves - and associated facilities across Northern Ireland run by government, council and non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and others.

ISLE OF MAN, JERSEY AND GUERNSEY

Please refer to each government's websites and liaise with the local BHPA Club.

The guidance offered on the government websites is often contradictory. For instance the Manx government advice on Recreational GA appears to have completely overlooked our existence. ( Which may or may not be a good thing )

Marc Asquith
BHPA Chairman

Posted: 31 May 2020
By: Paul Dancey


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last updated: 12 July 2021

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