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CAA EC Rebate Scheme - Update

Prior to the EC rebate scheme launch (5th October 2020) the CAA advised the BHPA that devices transmitting FLARM would be eligible for rebate. FLARM is incorporated into several free flight devices from Naviter, Skytraxx, XC Tracer and Flymaster. When the scheme launched on October 5th we were surprised to see no mention of FLARM in the CAA's landing page. Only Power FLARM, more suited to aircraft with cockpits and power supplies, was mentioned.

The CAA has since confirmed that the FLARM-transmitting Skytraxx Beacon is eligible for rebate under the scheme. Further, the general rule of thumb is that if a device transmits FLARM, Pilot Aware or ADS-B it is valid - any other functionality is a welcome addition. As we go to press we await the CAA publishing a Q&A document to clear up many of our queries.

Having processed a rebate application, we now know what is involved. After purchasing an EC device from a retailer you must register an account on the CAA portal, linked from the rebate scheme page. Submit your identity details (e.g. passport and driver's licence scans). An 'account approval' email should follow - current indications are that this takes about a week.

You then log into your account. Under the 'Your Services' section fill out the online form to apply for a rebate for your device, providing your bank details, a scan of the EC device receipt and your BHPA membership number and rating (Pilot or above). Assuming you meet the eligibility criteria and your application is successful, you can expect a payment to your bank account after 28 working days.

Note the 50% rebate is on the ex-VAT amount. The rebate on a £500 device is thus about £208 - a substantial discount on the cost of an EC device. Further details are available on the CAA website.

Posted: 13 October 2020
By: Paul Dancey


Rebate scheme for Electronic Conspicuity devices

The Department for Transport (DfT) rebate scheme for purchasing an Electronic Conspicuity device goes live.

As we have previously reported in Skywings, there is growing evidence that transponders - Electronic Conspicuity (EC for short) - are going to play an increasing part in our sports, and the DfT is intending to make it even easier for all aircraft to be "electronically visible" by helping UK flyers purchase an EC device. Earlier this year the CAA announced a scheme to assist pilots holding CAA licences with the cost of adopting EC. The criteria have been expanded to include current BHPA "Pilot" rated members.

The scheme went live on the 5th October 2020. 50% of the cost of an EC device (up to a maximum rebate of £250) can be claimed from funds made available by the DfT. You need to hold a current BHPA rating (minimum "Pilot" level) or an appropriate national pilot licence to be able to apply for the rebate. The CAA website does not yet make it clear that BHPA members applying must hold "Pilot" rating or above - an update of its page is anticipated.

What can you buy?

ADS-B is the CAA's preferred EC system. There are very few ADS-B devices that are small and light enough to be potentially compatible with our ultra-light aircraft, the "SkyEcho 2" being one that is readily available in the UK. Some FLARM devices (for example the FLARM equipped "FANET+ Beacon") can easily be carried on a hang glider or paraglider. The CAA has confirmed to us that devices such as the Beacon are eligible for the rebate scheme, even though they are not specifically mentioned on the CAA's EC rebate scheme page.

Who is it for?

If you are encouraged to purchase and use an EC device, make sure you understand its limitations. If you are using a screen to avoid mid-air collisions with other ridge soaring hang gliders or paragliders, you are at greater risk of hitting another pilot by not practising good visual situational awareness using your Mark-1 eyeball. An EC device may be an additional tool for your awareness of other types of aircraft, but the greatest benefit is likely to be in broadcasting your location to faster moving aircraft that can display potential conflicts on their screens, and have the ability to manoeuvre quickly to avoid a collision.

Of course, you not only become visible to other aircraft with a compatible EC system, you are detectable to ground stations. An infringement into controlled airspace is likely to be seen and acted upon. Aerial infringements (depending on their seriousness) usually require the infringer to attend an aerial version of a speed awareness course for the initial infringement. Subsequent infringements will undoubtedly incur more severe penalties.

The aspect that hasn't yet been fully addressed is what will happen at the time when all of these EC devices are switched on. The BHPA continues to highlight the unique nature of our sports in meetings with CAA and DfT, however, some in the aviation industry struggle with the concept that we don't fly in straight lines. It is yet to be seen whether chaos will ensue if 8000+ HGs and PGs go "live" and start flashing on aircraft and controllers' screens. However, cross country pilots may see this rebate scheme as an opportunity to acquaint themselves with a system well in advance of any requirement to be electronically visible.

We recommend a thorough reading through of the information on the CAA's website, in particular the section on maintaining the correct WTA licence to use an EC device.

Further news of the CAA's EC rebate scheme (and a link to the rebate application form) can be found on the CAA Website

To apply for the rebate, you will need to register for an online account with the CAA. This involves providing a scan of identify documents, for example a passport and driving licence.

Posted: 6 October 2020
By: Paul Dancey


Insurance for Sub-70kg PHG training

Insurance for Sub-70kg PHGA reminder to all who fly Sub-70kg wheeled SPHGs: insurance is a mandatory legal requirement. This includes powered hang gliders such as PeaBees, Snakes, etc, and wheeled paramotor variants too.

At present no BHPA schools offer tuition on Sub-70kg powered hang gliders, and a would-be BHPA Sub-70kg pilot without CAA or BHPA power qualifications would need to undertake dual flexwing microlight training with an established CAA microlight school.

Whilst the school's insurance will cover you to fly the school's own tandem wing, it will not usually cover you to fly your own wing under instruction or supervision in a school setting.

The BHPA has therefore taken the decision that a CAA flexwing microlight instructor can supervise BHPA student Sub-70 hang glider pilots in the same way that a BHPA Instructor can instruct and supervise a non-powered student. In that way the student pilot is insured under the BHPA Policy.

This process has to be signed off in advance by a BHPA Technical Officer or, during the pandemic furlough, the Chairman, Marc Asquith.

Once considered fully trained and fully capable by their CAA instructor, the student pilot will be awarded a restricted CP (Power) rating. The student will then be expected to sit the BHPA Pilot exam prior to the award of a BHPA Pilot (Power) rating.

The above route applies both to existing hang glider pilots and those from a paragliding - or even a non-flying - background.

All pilots should be aware that this process must be a) signed off by a member of the BHPA Tech staff, and b) temporary in nature. If the BHPA is not aware of the agreement with a CAA Instructor, the pilot is not covered by BHPA insurance.

Posted: 24 September 2020
By: J. Schofield


Free flights at Green Dragons!

Andy Shaw offers free tandem flights to neighbours Exemplary neighbour-relations from Green Dragons at the end of August.

Mindful of the nuisance that events at their flying base can generate, Andy Shaw wrote to all his near neighbours offering a free tandem flight during their Open Weekend over the bank holiday.

Andy also invited local residents to bring a picnic and join in the festivities. We like it!

Posted: 24 September 2020
By: J. Schofield


Robin Hamilton's Class 2 record falls

Ex-pat Brit Robin Hamilton's Class 2 hang glider 100km triangle speed record, set in Texas 53.73km/h on an Aeriane Swift 18 years ago, has finally been broken.

On August 7th US pilot Armand Acchione pushed the record to 60km/h from Brussels in Ontario, Canada, aboard a Swift Light, subject to FAI confirmation.

 

Posted: 24 September 2020
By: J. Schofield


Jack Pimblett teams up with Fly Products

Jack Pimblett brand ambassador for Fly Products 'Acro' Jack Pimblett, lately an exponent of paramotoring as well as paragliding, has joined up with Italian manufacturer Fly Products as a brand ambassador.

'Having visited a few companies and their factories, I immediately felt like I was a part of the team at Fly Products,' Jack writes. They have a proven track record and the quality is great - it was a no-brainer. My Atom 80-powered Eclipse has been an absolute blast. At 18.5kg it changes the game for me!' 

Jack first flew a paramotor at 16 but was put off by the heavy machines of the era. He says the aim of the new partnership is to show paraglider pilots the beauty of paramotoring and the advantages of being involved in both disciplines. 

Posted: 26 August 2020
By: J. Schofield


Carl Wallbank: UK triangle record

Carl Wallbank Celebrates UK flexwing hang glider triangle record Only eight days after Andy Hollidge had reset it to 126km, Carl Wallbank captured the UK flexwing hang glider triangle record at 142km.

In 2019 Carl had made 140 and 150km triangle attempts, both ending prematurely.

On July 13th he attempted another 150km triangle, again landing early having covered only 40km. On the same day Andy Hollidge completed an impressive 126km triangle from Sutton Meadows.

On July 21st, after a slow start to the day, Carl got away from Croft in Worcestershire at noon having declared 142km. Five and a half hours later he scraped home in deteriorating conditions to claim the Class 1 UK FAI declared and undeclared triangle record. Nick Collins also got round the route on a Class 5 glider, arriving 50 minutes later. 

'On the perfect day I believe a 180-220km triangle is possible in the UK on a Class 1 hang glider,' said Carl after the flight. 'I'm sure Andrew Hollidge and the Cambridge crew will also be focusing on reclaiming the title.'

Posted: 26 August 2020
By: J. Schofield


Big paraglider flights

The last few weeks have seen some major post-lockdown paraglider flights.

These include Alex Coltman's 232km by paraglider from Frocester, followed by 215km from Selsley Common only five days later; and Pete Logan's 170km by paraglider from Carlton Bank, in the company of Jake Herbert and Chris Fountain, that may turn out to be a site record.

Posted: 26 August 2020
By: J. Schofield


Skywings news last updated: 13 October 2020 at 07:52:59 PM

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