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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


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

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

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

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

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

Farewell Jennie … and thanks!

Jennie Burdett, who retired on the 28 September 2018

On Friday September 28th Jennie Burdett, BAPC administrator since 1980 and BHPA administrator from 1992 - 2015, finally put aside her pencils, shorthand pad, keyboard, phone, database, and extensive knowledge of how the Association works to fully enjoy her retirement - since 2015 she had been working part-time at the Association's Leicester office.

Jennie began work as the BAPC's sole secretary, then based in a tiny office below a massage parlour, in 1980. As the BAPC acquired more staff it moved to larger premises in Talbot Lane, Leicester, and moved again to the Old Schoolhouse in 1991; both moves were overseen by Jennie.

The BHGA moved into Old Schoolhouse in 1992, shortly before the formal amalgamation of the two Associations. Jennie also supervised the most recent - and final! - move to the Association's new, jointly-owned premises at Merus Court in 2010.

Throughout this time she managed to keep abreast of every development and to keep the administration of a rapidly-growing organisation running smoothly. Always on top of things, always quietly efficient, often working in the evening and at weekends, Jennie was able to keep the show on the road through thick and thin.

Jennie's years at the helm never seemed to weary her and gained her many lifelong friends. Her quiet competence will be sorely missed. Her leaving was marked by an informal lunch attended by BHPA staffers and Chairman Marc Asquith, and by Andrew Wakelin - who first spotted her talents 38 years ago! 

Posted: 7 November 2018
By: Paul Dancey

BHPA club night presentation

The BHPA has long been able to visit clubs with a presentation designed to explain to members how the Association works, what it can do what it can't, and where your money goes.

The presentation - in the form of an informal talk with Powerpoint support - explains who is on Exec and the FSC, what those bodies are about, who ­the various staff members are and what they do. It also covers the problems currently facing the sport, and the Association's notable successes, which are legion.

It's delivered by a locally-based member of the BHPA Executive and would be an ideal distraction for a winter club night. Several clubs have already availed themselves of this opportunity; if you think you club could benefit from learning a little more about how the Association supports its members, email marc-asquith@bhpa.co.uk or call 07802 525099.

Posted: 7 November 2018
By: Paul Dancey

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last updated: 15 April 2021

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