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Final Position Statement for Covid-19

To all BHPA members

Update on COVID 19 and the safe return to flying.

I would like to thank our members for their support during the lockdown. Our air sports are very visible, both to the general public and to the many involved in the aviation industry in the UK.

I am pleased to say that BHPA members showed great fortitude in following the Association's advice and upholding national rules to stay safe and protect the NHS.

The BHPA's phased issuing of guidelines for the return of flying activities have closely followed the Government's systematic easing of lockdown restrictions across the United Kingdom.

Our initial stage enabled qualified members to resume flying following what was a significant break of many weeks.

Stage two permitted schools to operate, firstly with pilots who were part way through their training and then with beginner pilots, using adapted teaching procedures to enable social distancing.

The final stage of our guidelines was triggered when the UK Government confirmed that from 4th July, General Aviation flights would be permitted in England, with passengers who are not from the same household as the pilot. This enabled hang gliding and paragliding tandem flights to restart, using specific protection measures when social distancing cannot be maintained. We have emailled all Tandem Pilots with the details of these protective measures.

With the return of many of our activities on hills and airfields, it may seem like a step closer to normality. However, it is important to remember that the virus has not gone away. There are still restrictions limiting people from different households coming together indoors, outdoors and in vehicles. We have already seen a lockdown imposed on Leicester where the risk of virus transmission is particularly high. Rules may be tightened locally or nationally in the event that the situation deteriorates with a resurgence of virus cases.

As the nations and regions that make up the UK are easing lockdown rules at different rates, this message marks the end of the general advice the BHPA is able to give to its members about the return to flying. Every BHPA member carries an individual responsibility to abide by rules covering the locality in which they intend to fly. Please bear in mind that if you are flying XC, you may pass over areas with differing restrictions, you should know about these just as you would plan for airspace.

Please maintain social distancing whenever possible and follow national advice about the protection measures you should be using when outside your home, which can be found via the following links:

For England
Staying safe outside your home

For Wales
Coronavirus (COVID-19)

For Scotland
Coronavirus (COVID-19): Information for individuals and businesses in Scotland

For Northern Ireland
Coronavirus (COVID-19)

If you are planning a flying trip outside Britain, follow the Foreign and Commonwealth Office guidance for travellers. Bear in mind that travel disruption is still possible and national control measures may be brought in at short notice. Make yourself aware of the flying situation in the country you are travelling to by visiting its national association's website (available for participating European countries through www.ehpu.org).

Marc Asquith Chairman

Posted: 19 July 2020
By: Paul Dancey


Importance of tandem paraglider equipment checks

The BHPA has just been made aware of a tragic accident that occurred in France on 14th July where the pilot and passenger of a tandem paraglider were killed when the spreaders broke at the connection point with the glider, leading to the complete separation of the pilot and passenger from the wing.

The FFVL report (in French) suggests that the age of the spreaders was probably the cause of the rupture.  The FFVL recommends that all tandem pilots check the condition of their spreaders, or have them inspected by a professional.  They should be replaced if there is visible wear or damage, if they have had 500hrs use, or if they are more than five years old.

The BHPA FSC recommends all of its members who fly tandem paragliders to take heed of the FFVL's advice concerning spreader checks and replacement, and reminds pilots of the importance of regular condition checks on all of their tandem equipment. 

As the incident occurred very recently, further safety information may be published as the investigation progresses.

Posted: 17 July 2020
By: Paul Dancey


No 2020 British Champs

The British Paragliding Comps Panel has decided that there will be no British Championship Open in 2020 due to ongoing uncertainty caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.

'We had hoped to be able to organise something later this summer' says Comps Panel Chair Guy Anderson, 'but with general concerns over renewed outbreaks, and the potential for further travel disruption, we couldn't be 100% sure of holding a fair and sporting competition.

'We are planning our next event, the British Winter Open, once again at Roldanillo, Colombia, in January 2021. It would be great to repeat last year's epic event with the legendary racing conditions of the Cauca valley.

'Local organiser Lucho Jimenez has exciting plans to take us on a mini tour of the valley to include the Piedechinche and Anselmo Nuevo launches. Obviously all will depend on the situation with regards Covid-19, so fingers crossed. We hope to have positive news for you later in the year.'

For the latest news see the British Opens web page.


 

Posted: 14 July 2020
By: J. Schofield


CAA consults on airspace reclassification

AirspaceIn June the CAA launched a consultation on a new draft procedure for reviewing airspace classification.

It follows an 2019 exercise inviting stakeholders to suggest areas of airspace that should be considered for reclassification, thus altering the the flight rules that apply.

The CAA says that the new procedure will help them ensure that 'the amount of controlled airspace is the minimum required to maintain a high standard of safety, and that the needs of all airspace users are reflected on an equitable basis.'

Stakeholders will be free to submit information about access concerns for any piece of airspace. When the CAA reviews its effectiveness, normally every two years, this information will be taken into account. The new process will go live in December 2020.

The responses from last year's exercise make for interesting reading. The GA community responded well, making detailed suggestions for airspace that could be reclassified to the benefit of recreational flying. There are many areas of airspace where those excluded, or made to comply with onerous procedures, feel that change should come.

An example would be the 300 square miles of the Norwich CTA; other areas generating many responses were Doncaster Sheffield, Daventry CTA, Bristol, Brize Norton and, of course, Farnborough. The report can be downloaded from the CAA website.

It remains to be seen whether mountains will actually move. The ongoing tide of airspace acquisition, to the benefit of commercial air transport and the detriment of recreational flying, must be resisted.

Now drone operations - with substantial commercial backing - are in the mix too; a strong response is essential.

The current consultation is available on the CAA website. The deadline is 17th September 2020.

Posted: 4 July 2020
By: J. Schofield


Rod Buck

Rod Buck, hang gliding stalwart and Wendy Windblows inventor Hang gliding stalwart and Wendy Windblows inventor Rod Buck died on June 19th, aged 71.

A key figure in the Derbyshire club from the early days, Rod was among the first to build a reliable electronic weather station; certainly the first to offer a subscription service covering multiple sites.

Eventually eclipsed by internet sources, for two decades Wendy was the UK's go-to weather resource with up 25 local stations.

A man of strong views and strong constitution, Rod survived several serious accidents in his day job. His work for the DSC and the greater sport was substantial and sustained; he was twice club chairman and looked after many new pilots on Lanzarote trips.

He was recently awarded the RAeC Certificate of Merit. 

Posted: 4 July 2020
By: J. Schofield


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


Skywings news last updated: 19 July 2020 at 12:03:28 PM

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