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British Hang Gliding & Paragliding Association

British Hang Gliding and Paragliding Association

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Skywings News - all non archived years

Lasham fights back at airspace grab

In December the Lasham Gliding Society obtained the go-ahead from the High Court for a judicial review of the TAG-Farnborough airspace grab, seen by many as an unnecessary encroachment that disenfranchises all forms of lightweight GA flying for the benefit of a few wealthy private jet owners.

The TAG-Farnborough proposal directly affects free fliers. It closes off a major XC route and, more importantly, sets an inauspcious precedent for access to airspace.

Many observers have questioned the process by which the TAG-Farnborough proposal was approved and perceive that the current CAA process is predisposed in favour of Commercial Air Transport.

Lasham are now raising finance for their Judicial Review, arguably a step towards levelling the playing field between GA and CAT. The BHPA Exec has agreed to support it to as it directly affects our members' interests.

To support the campaign go to Lasham Airspace Campaign.

Posted: 5 February 2019
By: Joe Schofield


Solar-powered flight anniversary

The world's very first solar-powered flight at Lasham in 1978December 19th 2018 marked the 40th anniversary of the world's very first solar- powered flight. Only a short hop was achieved at Lasham in 1978, but on June 13th the following year Ken Stewart covered nearly three-quarters of a mile in the same machine at 35 knots. 

Earlier, British architect Fred To had started a project to build a human-powered aircraft for the Kremer Prize. When it proved too heavy for human-powered flight Fred converted it to solar power.

Its 24-cell battery pack, weighing 30kg, powered four 36V electric motors driving a propeller at 1,100 rpm. The batteries were charged by 750 three-inch solar cells, by far the most costly part of the project. 

A later planned flight across the Channel was abandoned when it was found that the aircraft did not have the endurance. 

Last October Fred was presented with a long-overdue award when the PlanetSolar Foundation brought energy pioneers from across the world together in Switzerland. 

Fred To is still active in HPA circles and is currently working on a redesign of his successful 1982 Phoenix. 

Posted: 5 February 2019
By: Joe Schofield


Flying Wing lecture

Jonathan Howes flying his Litespeed 2XThe annual lecture of the Royal Aeronautical Society's Human Powered Flying Group is entitled 'Aero-mechanical stabilisation of flying wing aircraft: reducing weight and drag'.

The lecture will be given by Jonathan Howes of Howes Aero-Nautics Ltd, a current hang glider pilot and one of the originators of the recent BVHG rallies. His lecture outlines an investigation into reducing an aircraft to the bare minimum using aero-mechanical servo techniques to control unstable configurations.

It's at 6pm on Wednesday February 27th at 4 Hamilton Place, London W1J 7BQ. Details and booking - free to all - is at RAeC Lecture or email conference@aerosociety.com.

Posted: 5 February 2019
By: Joe Schofield


CAA gets tougher on irresponsible paramotoring

Paramotoring In October members of the CAA's GA Policy and Enforcement teams invited BHPA officers to discuss paramotoring, and specifically the increasing number of complaints from MPs, local Councils, the Police and members of the public. It is clear that the CAA intend to rein in some of the excesses of deregulated powered flying.

On a practical level the CAA's Enforcement Team will in future seek BHPA assistance to identify pilots under investigation, providing information on investigations into unwelcome powered (and unpowered) paragliding and hang gliding activity. The BHPA is to work up a Communications Strategy for the CAA along the lines of the successful 'Drone Code', outlining the current legalities of powered flying. 

On the legal side the CAA are to progress the idea of mandating an element of training, notably on air law, via the sub-70kg policy framework. The Enforcement Team will also consider the routine use of Forfeiture and Destruction Orders for equipment when prosecuting breaches of the ANO. 

It is clear the CAA has been pressured into acting on the volume of complaints about nuisance powered flying. In seeking BHPA help and guidance they have taken the first step; it is unclear at this stage how effective any attempt to curb anti-social and illegal power flying will be.

Posted: 10 January 2019
By: Joe Schofield


Hang Gliding Worlds team announced

British Team selected for the 2019 Class 1 world championships The BHPA hang gliding comps panel has announced the team selected to contest the 2019 Class 1 world championships at Tolmezzo in Italy.

The team comprises Grant Crossingham (2nd at 2018 Europeans), Ollie Chitty (9th at 2018 Europeans), Gary Wirdnam (6th and team Gold at the 2007 Worlds and four times British Champion), Gordon Rigg (veteran of five Worlds teams and ten times British Champion) and Andy Hollidge (2017 Worlds and 2018 Europeans veteran).

The team will be managed by Phil Chettleburgh; if the team size increases to six, which is possible, Dave Matthews, veteran of four Worlds teams, is first reserve. Additional places for individual pilots may become available later.

The main competition area will be Friuli Venezia Giulia- Meduno, Gemona, etc - but tasks may be anywhere between the sea and the Dolomites: Veneto, Trentino Alto,Austria and Slovenia, bringing in sites such as the Emberger Alm, Kobala, Lijak and Kovk. 

Posted: 10 January 2019
By: Joe Schofield


BHPA AGM

The Association's 2019 AGM takes place on Saturday March 2nd at the Nottingham Belfry Hotel (NG8 6PY), alongside the BGA AGM and trade show.

The BHPA Exec operates a rolling three-year tenure of officers; this year Bill Bell (competitions), Martin Heywood (insurance), Angus Langford (treasurer) and John Welch (clubs liaison) will stand down at the end of their statutory terms.

All four are happy to serve again; in addition members Andy Berzins and David Perryman, both of the Sir George Cayley club, are standing for election.

A 2019 AGM pack is available for download on this web site. The pack includes formal notice of the meeting, details of members standing for election, and a proxy voting form.

Posted: 10 January 2019
By: Joe Schofield


On top of the world!

Photo by Patrick Laverty taken on a previous flight over Snowdon

Dave Dewhurst travelled from Cornwall for the opportunity to fly over Snowdon at Parafest in July, arriving late on Wednesday to make the most of the best weather on Thursday. Testing the air in the afternoon he found it rough over the hills and stuck to the smooth air over the coast.

Taking off again at 17:30 he set off for the dark hills to the north, pushed along by a steady 14km/h breeze.

'Over the coast I had felt on top of the world cruising about at 3000ft, but here at the same altitude I was still somehow below the top of the mountains. I felt small and vulnerable and contemplated turning back, but eased the bar out to gain as much height as possible until I finally reached 4000ft - just enough to sail right over the summit and see all the people standing at the top waiting for their train.

'Over the tops the air funnelled through a lot quicker than just a few hundred meters further back and I noticed I was absolutely gushing along. When turned I could just about penetrate - about 10km/h groundspeed with the bar full bar in! I crawled southward, watching the shadows of the clouds whizzing by beneath, but later had time to play about over the hills behind Barmouth before my fuel got low. 

'If I learned one thing it's that I had put myself in a potentially tricky situation by not considering the venturi effect beforehand. If the engine had cut out it might have been difficult to get out in one piece. But I shall definitely have to do it again, perhaps with more sunshine next time and snow-capped peaks.' 

Posted: 10 December 2018
By: Joe Schofield


37-year-old glider airborne

Gary Dear flying a Highway SuperScorpion Hang Glider

On a clear autumn day in October, Gary Dear of the Wessex club took to the air at Monks Down on a Hiway SuperScorpion, built at Abergavenny nearly 40 years ago.

Gary bought the glider from a Bournemouth pilot who had flown it a few times and then stored it for 30-odd years. Close inspection revealed it to be in good condition other than a tiny tear in the sail near one tip.

Gary made an uneventful extended top-to-bottom shortly before sunset, remarking on its modest weight and easy handling He was assisted at launch by Brian Wood, a recent returner to the sport who had been the first British hang gliding champion in 1974.

Posted: 10 December 2018
By: Joe Schofield


Skywings news last updated: 5 February 2019 at 11:57:08 AM

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